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Sony launches the long-awaited WH-1000XM5 and promises the biggest leap in noise cancellation in its history

Almost two years after its last renewal, Sony has officially presented the WH-1000XM5, the fifth iteration of one of the most iconic headphone families of recent years.

This new model brings with it, among other things, a notable design change. The most pronounced that the family has suffered since its first model. The arms that allow the headband to be adjusted are now progressive –instead of having several predefined levels–, and the different pads have been designed to reduce the pressure that the headphones exert on the skull at all times, making them more comfortable.

This design change, yes, comes with a sacrifice. The arms of the WH-1000XM5 cannot be folded for transport, as previous models allowed. What does not change is the weight. The WH-1000XM4 weighed 254 grams and this new version, about 250.

Up to 50% better noise cancellation than the previous model

As far as noise cancellation is concerned, the Japanese company claims to have made notable progress with this new model. Specifically, promise up to 50% better cancellation, which represents the greatest qualitative leap in the entire history of the 1000X series.

More specifically, the WH-1000XM5 have two processorses and eight microphones that promise an improvement especially in the cancellation of mid frequencies. To put this data in context, the WH-1000XM4, which were indisputable references in the field of cancellation, had a single processor and four microphones.

On the other hand, the WH-1000XM5 release a function called Auto NC Optimizer that analyzes and refines the cancellation every time we put on the headphones. Thanks to this system, the cancellation will not be affected if one day we wear glasses or if the environmental pressure has changed – for example, when boarding a plane. Every time we turn on the headphones, these parameters will be analyzed and the WH-1000XM5 will act accordingly.

Refine audio, intelligence and autonomy

As far as sound quality is concerned, the WH-1000XM5 feature a new 30mm driver which, according to Sony, offers better quality than its predecessor. These headphones are also compatible with the LDAC codec that allows lossless audio transmission and helps capture those nuances that uncompressed files have. DSEE Extreme technology, on the other hand, promises to intelligently reconstruct those parts of the songs that, due to compression, may have been lost along the way.

The Sony WH-1000XM5 have four beamforming microphones that better capture our voice when we make calls using headphones.

The Japanese company has also made notable progress in terms of call quality. The WH-1000XM5s have four beamforming microphones, doubling the number present on the previous model. In addition, they are accompanied by a series of artificial intelligence algorithms that promise clearer and sharper calls in a greater number of environments.

When it comes to virtual assistants, these WH-1000XM5s are now capable of detecting the keywords that trigger voice assistants (Alexa or Hey Google). So now you can just say, “Alexa, what's the temperature going to be?” without having to press a button.

Another interesting evolution is that the WH-1000XM5 are compatible with the USB PD charging standard, so they can benefit from that extra power that some wall chargers are capable of providing. Also, Sony has improved the system that detects when we wear the headphones.

All these novelties are added to other features present in previous models, such as Speak-to-chat, compatibility with Google Fast Pair or Swift Pair or the possibility of connecting the headphones simultaneously to multiple devices.

Finally, the autonomy of the WH-1000XM5 aims to be brilliant, as in previous versions. Without active noise cancellation, the brand promises up to 40 hours of use. The figure is reduced to 30 hours with ANC active.

How much will the Sony WH-1000XM5 cost? When can they be purchased?

The WH-1000XM5s will hit stores at the end of May in two different colors: black and silver. The price, yes, rises slightly compared to the previous model and is located at 450 euros.