Sony WH-1000XM5 vs 1000XM4: What is the distinction?

(Pocket-lint) – When Sony launched the 1000X in 2016, it was an try to shake up the established order and push a brand new stage of noise cancelling out to clients. The headphones have been an on the spot hit, wildly widespread as a premium over-ear selection and updates got here in following years. For a lot of, the 1000X is the grasp of energetic noise cancellation (ANC).

Bounce to 2022 and Sony has introduced the WH-1000XM5, the fifth-generation of those over-ear headphones. However with so many tweaks over the earlier years, how do these headphones examine to the Sony WH-1000XM4 from 2021?

This is what Sony has modified and why it issues.


Value and availability

  • Sony WH-1000XM5: $399 / £380 / €420
  • Sony WH-1000XM4: $349.99 / £279 / €299

The Sony WH-1000XM4 are extensively accessible, globally and have obtained a value discount since launch, so the asking value for these older headphones is cheaper than the brand new mannequin – and also you’re prone to discover common offers on these headphones by occasions like Prime Day or Black Friday.

The Sony WH-1000XM5 can be accessible from 20 Could, though pre-orders are already open. It would take a while for them to change into accessible in all areas. They’ll begin at $399 / £380 / €420.

Design and construct

  • Sony WH-1000XM5: 250g
  • Sony WH-1000XM4: 254g

Whereas the general weight of the headphones is just about the identical, the Sony WH-1000XM5 have a completely new design. They give the impression of being utterly totally different to the headphones that got here earlier than them. Whereas the WH-1000XM4 used the identical design because the three iterations prior, the brand new design has been launched to spice up efficiency.

The brand new form is smoother, lowering edges and gaps, all with the intention of decreasing wind noise to make these headphones higher. There’s now a clickless slider that can assist you get the proper match, whereas they’ve been designed for consolation for longer sporting. It is a refreshing new look and people with older 1000X headphones who’ve been resistant to vary would possibly now assume there’s a greater case for an improve.

Not solely do they give the impression of being visually fairly totally different, however the provided carry case is totally different too. Beforehand it was a semi-rigid case, however now it would fold down, making it simpler to hold in your bag when sporting your headphones. It nonetheless comes with a 3.5mm cable.

Battery and charging

  • Sony WH-1000XM5: As much as 30 hours (NC), 40 hours (NC off), full cost in 3 hours, 3 hours in 3 minutes
  • Sony WH-1000XM4: As much as 30 hours (NC), 38 hours (NC off), full cost in 3 hours, 5 hours in 10 minutes

Claimed battery life is similar on each headsets – as much as 30 hours with noise cancelling switched on. Nevertheless, the 1000XM5 eeks out somewhat extra, with 40 hours with ANC turned off. Finally, how you employ your headphones will decide the life – however you can final by the longest of lengthy haul flights with both of those headphones. The 1000XM5 takes roughly 3.5 hours to totally cost; the 1000XM4 takes roughly 3 hours to cost.

The brand new mannequin is now able to quicker charging than it was earlier than. Each cost by way of USB-C, however the brand new mannequin helps Energy Supply, and provides you with 3 hours of playback from simply 3 minutes on a charger. The XM4 is able to 5 hours of playback with simply 10 minutes of cost time.

Audio tech and ANC

  • Sony WH-1000XM5: 30mm drivers, DSEE Excessive, QN1 processor, V1 processor, 8 mics
  • Sony WH-1000XM4: 40mm drivers, DSEE Excessive, QN1 processor, 4 mics

One of many large adjustments on the preivous model of those headphones was the transfer away from aptX codecs and that stays in place: each these headphones use LDAC to ship the high-resolution audio, however you will want a supply machine that helps that. SBC and AAC are additionally supported, in addition to multipoint connections so you’ll be able to join your headphones to a couple of machine on the similar time.

Each assist DSEE Excessive upscaling to deliver the very best out of your compressed audio, whereas additionally supporting 360 Actuality Audio, when you have a appropriate supply.

There is a change within the driver nevertheless, shifting from the earlier 40mm driver to a brand new 30mm driver. Sony places the emphasis on high quality within the 1000XM5, utilizing a carbonfibre composite, whereas additionally utilizing solder with gold to make sure there’s the very best connections attainable for sign switch. The outcome ought to be higher sound high quality, however we’re but to check this in particular person.

In terms of energetic noise cancellation, the 1000XM5 have doubled the variety of microphones the headphones use. This implies there’s extra information on the sounds inside and outdoors the cups, so the noise cancellation may be extra correct and extra superior. The massive change right here is that the 1000XM5 are higher at chopping out excessive frequency noise, at pitches that the XM4 would battle. Each stay nice with low frequency sounds, however the XM5 are prone to be higher total.

That new design, as we talked about, is designed to scale back wind noise over the skin of the XM5 headphones, whereas additionally they have impoved noise sensing, to make them extra correct with noise cancellation.


  • Sony WH-1000XM5: Converse-to-chat, voice assistant wake phrases
  • Sony WH-1000XM4: Converse-to-chat, voice assistant 

There is a full vary of options on these headphones and lots of are related. Each provide varied modes of noise cancellation, or will let by various quantity of exterior noise relying on what you are doing. This stays managed by the Sony Headphone app, which you will have to get essentially the most out of your headphones. 

Each additionally assist speak-to-chat, the place the headphones detect that you simply’re speaking and pause the music in an effort to have your dialog – ordering a espresso for instance – earlier than the music resumes. The assist voice assistants – Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant – continues, however the 1000XM5 now helps wake phrases.

In terms of calling, there’s a doubling of beamforming mics – so there are 4 on the XM5 in comparison with two on the XM4, for higher name high quality and to make sure that the caller can hear you loud and clear. The calling is boosted by AI, which makes an attempt to establish your voice outdoors of different voices to spice up readability.



With a contemporary new look and higher efficiency, it is clear that the 1000XM5 can be extra fascinating than earlier updates to the household. With earlier updates, these with an current pair of 1000X may need been completely satisfied to stay to what they already had – and the 1000XM5 adjustments all that. 

Whereas we won’t but draw any conclusions on sound high quality and efficiency, that is what Sony is admittedly targetting, with enhancements to the noise cancellation system to make the brand new mannequin much more efficient – and we do not doubt they may show to be so. With tweaks to different options – higher calling, wake phrases – the Sony WH-1000XM5 simply appear like a extra enticing bundle. 

Nevertheless, the earlier fashions are nonetheless nice headphones and with the value diminished from its authentic launch value, you are still getting lots of headphone to your cash must you select the Sony WH-1000XM4.

Extra about this story

Once we make comparisons on Pocket-lint, we’re not simply pulling the spec sheets and exhibiting these side-by-side, we analyse and interpret in data now we have to focus on the main points that really matter. Within the case of those Sony headphones, now we have absolutely reviewed the Sony WH-1000X, Sony WH-1000XM2, Sony WH-1000XM3 and Sony WH-1000XM4 – and the comparisons we draw are based mostly on real-world experiences utilizing these merchandise.

In fact the Sony WH-1000XM5 are model new and haven’t but been launched, so real-world data on these headphones is not accessible to us, so the comparability is predicated on real-world use on one hand, with data offered by Sony and within the public area on the opposite. This is not only a spec comparability nevertheless, it is an analysis of what influence these adjustments may have on the expertise of utilizing these merchandise. 

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The intention is to make sure that you’ve gotten a greater understanding of what is modified and what is perhaps necessary in terms of making a call on what headphones you may want – or simply since you’re .

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Writing by Chris Corridor.