Sony beefs up the noise-cancelling with flagship WH-1000XM5 headphones
Sony has given its line of flagship noise-cancelling wireless headphones a refresh, introducing a new model with some technological tweaks said to enhance the audio experience in a few ways. The newly launched WH-1000XM5s feature extra processing power and a redesigned driver to better drown out ambient noise and deliver premium sound, along with some of the clever functionality seen in their predecessors.
Sony's line of WH-1000X headphones are built to compete with premium noise-cancelling options from the likes of Bose and in our experience we've found they stack up pretty well. The latest tit-for-tat sees Sony drop the 40-mm driver units featured in its last few models for a 30-mm option with a softer edge, which the company says boosts the noise-cancelling capabilities.
This works with no less than eight microphones and two processors, rather than the one seen in the predecessor, to cancel out ambient noise and automatically make adjustments based on the environment. Seen in previous models, this Adaptive Sound Control feature could mean recognizing when you're at work and dialing up cancellation of ambient noise, or knowing that you're walking through the streets and feeding through sounds of traffic in the interests of safety.
Battery life is listed at 30 hours and Sony claims that charging is efficient enough to deliver three hours of playback after just three minutes of plug-in time via USB. Something we're seeing more of with wireless audio gear is an ability to pair with two devices at once, and Sony's latest tick this box and allow users to switch between them with a press of a button.
Google Assistant and Alexa compatibility is onboard, with voice control and phone calls facilitated through four beamforming microphones and an AI algorithm Sony says better accounts for wind and other background noise. The headphones also come with a collapsible carry case, which can be compacted for easy transport when not in use.
Priced at US$400, the WH-1000XM5 headphones will be available in the US from May 20.