Sony announces its flagship WF-1000XM5 true wireless earbuds

Not rocking the boat: Sony continues to refine its winning formula.

by Justin Choo

The highly anticipated Sony WF-1000XM5 true wireless earbuds (TWS) has finally arrived. For most TWS aficionados, the latest addition to the 1000X series represents cutting-edge noise-cancelling technology, immersive sound quality, and crystal-clear call performance. And the question on everyone’s lips is undoubtedly, can they deliver yet again?

New driver and processor

You can always always count on Sony to offer these two ‘classic’ XM colours. | Image: Sony

What’s probably most striking about the new WF-1000XM5 is its size, especially if you’ve handled the XM4. These IPX4-rated earbuds are about 25% smaller and 20% lighter than its predecessor and the Noise Isolation Earbud tips have a new shape that reduces pressure in the ear canal–it also comes in four different sizes including ultra-small (SS). Despite the smaller footprint, battery life remains the same with up to 8 hours use on a single charge. The case holds an additional 16 hours of charge and offers Qi wireless charging. Sony says you can get 60 minutes of playtime from a 3-minute charge.

But the highlight here is noise cancelling, and Sony says the WF-1000XM5 represents their biggest step forward in this area. It will have a new Integrated Processor V2 that’s paired with the HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN2e. And together with the six microphones on the earbuds, including dual feedback mics, the WF-1000XM5 is able to capture ambient sound more accurately.

The new diaphragm assembly contributes to the driver’s improved low frequency performance. | Image: Sony

The new, specially designed, Dynamic Driver X has a dual role–aside from generating sound, it also plays an integral part of this noise-cancelling circuit. For the diaphragm structure, Sony combined different materials for the dome-edge separation structure, enabling it to achieve low distortion and clear sound quality. More importantly, it also improves the driver’s performance in the lower frequencies, which helps the WF-1000XM5 generate cancellation waves in the lower frequencies more accurately. 

In terms of audio quality, Sony adds that the new driver is also able to deliver subtle vocals and enhanced fine detail, especially for higher-pitched instruments, while the Noise Isolation Earbud tips reduce noise in the high-frequency range with its polyurethane foam blend.

Other features

Sony’s flagship always packs a lot of tech but its shell is noticeably smaller this year. | Image: Sony

Sound processing seems pretty standard–the XM5 uses the two processors for 24-bit audio, with DSEE Extreme (featuring Edge AI) enhancement for lower-quality audio sources. And lIke its predecessor, the WF-1000XM5 offers head tracking technology and supports 360 Reality Audio. Meanwhile, the WF-1000XM5 continues to use bone conduction sensors and Deep Neural Network (DNN) processing to suppress ambient noise and improve vocal clarity for calls.

Sony’s flagship is known for its smart features and they’re back here as well. This includes Adaptive Sound Control, which changes sound settings according to your environment, and Speak-to-Chat, which turns on ambient mode and pauses the music whenever you speak.

Although somewhat unusual, Sony includes a few Beta components that sound quite useful. LE Audio implementation features a high efficiency, low latency codec and will be quite useful for activities like gaming. And with Auto Play enabled, the XM5 will play music upon preset triggers, such as when you’re putting your headphones on or starting to walk for a break.

The extra small earbuds in the package is a godsend for many who struggle with fitting. | Image: Sony

Other useful features include Audio notifications, which keep you in touch with important events as you get lost in the music, and now you can even use head gestures for certain controls such as receiving and declining calls. 

The WF-1000XM5 will go on sale in August 2023 and will be priced at SGD419 | MYR1,399. Sony has also introduced exciting promotional offers for early buyers, including Adidas vouchers and trade-in discounts on selected wireless headphones.

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