Sony unveils WH-1000XM5 headphones with better ANC and sound quality for $399

The new premium cans will go on sale next Friday, May 20th.

After multiple leaks, Sony has unveiled its new WH-1000XM5 headphones, the successor to the WH-1000XM4s which quickly became an industry leader in terms of sound quality and noise cancellation. This generation aims to take what make the XM4s great and turn it up a notch, complete with a new design and a higher price tag.

According to Sony, the new XM5s feature slightly smaller 30mm drivers, but compared to the XM4’s 40mm drivers, the company says you can expect a more natural sound profile with improved clarify and bass reproduction. A second processor has been added to the headphones to improve their active noise cancellation at mid and high frequencies, and the microphone count has gone up to eight to improve everything from noise suppression to voice pickup.

The design of the XM5s is sleeker compared to the XM4s, with a much rounder form factor and a stem-shaped slider for adjusting the size of the headband. Speaking of which, the headband is thiner this time around and is covered in vegan leather. You still get a couple of buttons for controlling things like power and ANC, and touch controls still live on both sides. The headphones can also still detect when you’ve taken them off to pause your music automatically.

Battery life has been improved slightly compared to the XM4s, with the XM5s achieving up to 40 hours of stamina on a full charge with ANC off. That’s two more hours than what the XM4s could last. Unfortunately, if you were looking for a major boost in endurance with ANC on, you won’t find it here; Sony is still committing to 30 hours in this respect, for better or for worse.

Of course, Sony didn’t go a whole new generation of WH-1000XM headphones without bundling a ton of extra features. The XM5s are compatible with the company’s 360 Reality Audio format, Adaptive Sound Control, Speak-To-Chat, multi-device pairing, Google Fast Pair, DSEE Extreme audio upscaling, and Sony’s LDAC codec. You can also now speak to trigger the voice assistant on your device, whether it be Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. (If you were hoping I was gonna say Siri, sorry.)

All in all, these seem like incredibly well-rounded headphones and a solid upgrade from the XM4s. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on them for review, so stay tuned for future coverage.

Sony says the WH-1000XM5s will go on sale next Friday, May 20th. They’ll cost $399 which is $50 more than what the XM4s originally started at. Sony will continue to sell the XM4s at a cheaper price to give those on a budget an alternative to its highest-end offering.