Sony’s next take on true wireless are the anti-AirPods

Sony WF-1000XM5 header
Pictured: Sony WF-1000XM5 earbuds
// Sony's latest sounds like it'll turn your AirPods into antiques
Fergus Halliday
Jul 25, 2023
Icon Time To Read2 min read

Published on July 24, 2023

Sony is aiming to render the AirPods Pro obsolete faster than Apple can with the new Sony WF-1000X M5 true wireless earbuds.

The follow-up to 2021's WF-1000X M4 earbuds look and feel like a whole new thing in the best possible way. The drivers are bigger, the ear tips have been replaced, the processors have been upgraded and the exterior has gotten a facelift.

In an era where big tech launches often boil to a handful of tweaks, the WF-1000XM5 comes across as a refreshingly comprehensive rework. There's more than a new coat of paint here. It's been two years since Sony has shown off a major update to this corner of their personal audio empire, and the wait seems to have been worth it.

At 8.4mm in size, the Sony WF-1000XM5s boast the largest dynamic driver that Sony has ever deployed for the form factor. Each earpiece now has an additional microphone, bringing the total to six across the two buds. The former boosts bass, with a mesh grille promising to cut down on wind noise.

The latter allows for better ambient sound capture and noise cancellation. There's also a bone conduction sensor that promises to improve call quality.

Sony WF-1000XM5 earbuds

If you're upgrading from the previous generation, Sony claims you should see a 20% improvement in noise cancellation. The new audio processing chips inside the WF-1000XM5 are a big part of the reason why.

Sony's latest set of true wireless earbuds opt for a dual-chip design that incorporates the company's QN2e chip (which is an upgrade on the QN1e seen in the WF-1000XM3s) and the V2 chip (which is an upgrade on the V1 chip seen in the WF-1000XM4s) to produce superior sound quality. The earbuds are IPX4 rated with support for High Res audio, Bluetooth LE and Bluetooth 5.3 with multipoint audio.

Despite this significant spec bump, the Sony WF-1000XM5s are lighter and leaner than their predecessors. As with other Sony audio products though, it's all tied together via the Sony Headphones app. This software companion offers up reams of additional customization for those who want that extra control over their sound.

Sony has been emphasizing smarts as much as sound quality for several years now and while their latest verse does feel a little bit like preaching to the choir, the laundry list of features that comes with it is hard to argue with. That feature set includes:

  • Adaptive Sound
  • Speak to Chat
  • Wearing Detection
  • Head gesture controls
  • Quick Attention
  • Auto Play
  • Swift Pair
  • Fast Pair

In terms of battery life, the Sony WF-1000XM5s should be good for around 8 hours of noise-cancelled sound on a single charge plus another two full charges from the carry case for a total of 24 hours of playback. The earbuds themselves also boast fast charging, with 3 minutes of sitting in the charger case working out to a solid 60 minutes of playback.

The Sony WF-1000XM5s come in two colours: black and platinum silver. Aussies are looking at a starting price of $499 for the new earbuds, which will go on sale via Sony from the first week of August and local retailers not long after.

Fergus Halliday
Written by
Fergus Halliday is a journalist and editor for He’s written about technology, telecommunications, gaming and more for over a decade. He got his start writing in high school and began his full-time career as the Editor of PC World Australia. Fergus has made the MCV 30 Under 30 list, been a finalist for seven categories at the IT Journalism Awards and won Most Controversial Writer at the 2022 Consensus Awards. He has been published in Gizmodo, Kotaku, GamesHub, Press Start, Screen Rant, Superjump, Nestegg and more.

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