Sony 1000XM4 vs 1000XM5: Time to Upgrade Headphones?

Sony’s previous WH1000-XM4 has been the undisputed King of Active Noise Cancellation for a while but Sony has just released the all-new Sony XH-1000XM5. Sony is still keeping its predecessor in the market, and it makes perfect sense. Today we compare both models and find out why.

The Sony 1000XM5 are lighter in weight, which translates to better comfort over the ears. It’s packed with twice as many microphones, four per ear cup, making sure it’s still the best ANC headphones in the market. The 1000XM5 earcups feel a little bit bigger and my ears are not touching the sides. 

Comparison between the two models (XM5 left, XM4 right)

The audio driver units on the 1000XM5 are curiously smaller at 30mm versus the 40mm previously. This made no impact to the audio quality though, it’s pretty similar between the two. The 1000XM5 sound signature is a little less bass forward compared to the 1000XM4, but you can turn it up in Sony’s app EQ anyway. No problems there.

Spacious earcups – especially good for my big ears

Hi-res LDAC, Sony’s own proprietary audio codec, streams great but this is only applicable to Android devices. If you’re in the Apple camp, we only get AAC. Cries in iOS. Battery capacity is the same but 1000XM5 quick charges 3 hrs in 3 mins with PD charging. Fast game.

USB-C port for charging only

The 1000XM4 does a better job of folding down and being compact, especially for travelling. Yes, it might be a little tricky to get used to its folding sequence at first but once you get it, you get it. Sadly, the 1000XM5 only folds flat and the headband doesn’t fold, making it a tad bit bigger in storage mode. On the flipside, there’s no learning to fold, so yay I guess? The headphones are being worn the whole of my commute anyway so your results may vary.

Case comparison (XM4 left, XM5 right)

App customizability is where it’s at. Personally, I’m someone who loves to tinker and pretend to know what I’m doing more than half the time. Getting access to 20 steps of ambient noise control on the app and a 5-band EQ graph with Clear Bass control is music to my ears. (Pun wholly intended)

Equaliser customisation in-app 

With the app, I also get to tweak the Speak-to-Chat function – a feature that pauses music the moment it detects me talking. I’m also able to toggle DSEE Extreme to improve the quality of the audio. The app also uses a photograph of my ears to analyse ear shape and customises the sound according to the user. Whether or not it helps, I cannot tell, but it’s the type of technology I wanna get if I’m paying that much for a pair of headphones.

Ear analysis by taking a photograph

All in all, the Sony 1000XM4 headphones is still a relevant and super capable product that outperforms their competitors today, but whoever is looking for the latest and greatest with big moolah to spend will be picking up the 1000XM5s. Specifically in the clean Silver colourway if you ask me. *chef kiss*

Features: 8/10
Design: 7/10
Performance: 7/10
Battery Life: 8/10
Value For Money: 6/10
OVERALL: 7.5/10

Rasuna Azrayl

Ras enjoys collecting and building custom mechanical keyboards and sometimes dabbles in portable audiophile setups. He also indulges in casual gaming and prefers Command over Control.

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