Sony WH-1000XM5 vs WH-1000XM4: Is Upgrading Worth?

Hey guys, these are the Sony WH-1000XM5, which replace the WH-1000XM4 that was released in August 2020 and retailed for $349. they have a fresh appearance. Are the WH-1000XM5’s additional microphones, improved noise cancellation, new features, and $400 price tag worth it?

+ 27-hour continuous battery life.
+ ANC cuts down mid to treble range noise.
+ Comfortable fit.
+ Incredible ANC performance.
+ Over 37-hour continuous battery life.
If you have a small head, you may not find their fit comfortable. Bulky design.


Item Weight0.55 pounds0.56 pounds
Connector Typeā€ˇWirelessWireless
Battery life (with ANC, rated)30 hours (3 min charge = 3 hours playback)30 hours (10 min charge = 5 hours playback)
Active noise cancellationAutomatic NC optimizerManual NC optimizer
ColorsBlack, SilverBlack, Silver, White


WH-1000XM4 vs WH-1000XM5

Since they were released, the WH-1000XM4 has been my go-to headphones for travel. I keep returning to the WH-1000XM4 because of how light and cozy they are to wear while traveling.They fold nicely, fit in my bag, and have great battery life. They charge quickly; you only need to plug them in for 10 minutes to get a full charge, which is convenient. The audio quality is also clear with the included app that allows you to change EQs.

Although the noise cancellation technology is excellent, particularly for travel, a good microphone for taking calls is still missing. I’d remove my headphones if someone called me because otherwise, they wouldn’t be able to hear me.

So here we are today with the WH-1000XM5. They are $50 more right away, but there is one difference. The WH-1000XM5 has to be designed to look sleek, and the copper and red accents on the cups and bands look great. How smudgy and dirty they get and how quickly it happens doesn’t look great.


My WH-1000XM4 looks flawless, but I never think about wiping them down.With the WH-1000XM5, they now appear oily only after being used for a short period, but I am a huge fan of how they appear only when they are clean. Due to the new design, they no longer fold like the WH-1000XM4, which at first made me unhappy.

However, when compared side by side and folded up, they fit better in my bag because they are taller and less wide. They do, however, come with a case, but the case adds a lot of bulk, and the eco-friendly material feels odd to me, so I’ll probably go caseless.

I believe Sony does a great job with environmentally friendly packaging. While other companies claim to be doing the same, their packaging is still filled with plastic and Styrofoam and no longer includes chargers and cables. Sony at least honors its commitments.

Battery Life & Ear Cups


So, kudos to them. Expect to get 40 hours of battery life on the WH-1000XM5, and even more impressively, if you plug in the headphones for three minutes, you get an additional 10 hours of battery life. As for me, I got the low battery warning around the fifth day of heavy usage, which was between causes a and c; while listening to music loud with the WH-1000XM4, battery life was never an issue, so this battery boost is just a bonus.

The new ear cups are nice; they appear more oval, which is better for my ears. Overall, I find the WH-1000XM5 cooler over extended wear sessions, even though the material seems different.

Noise Cancelling & Microphones

WH-1000XM5 vs WH-1000XM4

The noise cancellation on the WH-1000XM4 is still excellent up to this review. I didn’t notice it was any better, but when I switched between using it and not using it in a noisy environment, I could tell the difference. It uses software and microphones around the ear cups to listen to ambient sound and block out that frequency.

Although the WH-1000XM5 is superior, the WH-1000XM4 still does a great job getting the job done and is still available for purchase. I guess the point I’m getting at is that the WH-1000XM4 still sound good, and I didn’t have any issues with them. I wore these on airplanes all the time. I wear them when working from home while my son jumps around and screams as loudly as possible.

The WH-1000XM5 microphones are excellent; in my testing, I’ve used them for many zoom calls and regular phone calls, and what I find most impressive is the isolation of background noise when using the mic.



I’ll give my initial impressions of sound quality now. There isn’t much difference between the WH-1000XM4 and WH-1000XM5 when listening to newer songs, especially when listening to lossless versions or songs mastered for Dolby. However, you can hear that the soundstage is more expansive, indicating more separation between the vocals and instruments.

A good illustration is a light switch. When Charlie harmonizes, you can hear his voice everywhere, and I can identify precisely where it is. Dojo Catwoman is another superb illustration. All of these things can be heard on the WH-1000XM4 because I can listen to various moans and other background sounds from multiple locations, which does help me enjoy music a little bit more and appreciate the small details they add.

As most people listen to music over Bluetooth, I don’t use the cord at all, so these are just Bluetooth impressions corded may produce different results, but this is based on my personal experience and how I use things. On the WH-1000XM5, it’s just more noticeable to me, and the overall tone does feel a little warmer.

Comparing the WH-1000XM4 and WH-1000XM5, and I have to say that I’m impressed with the upgrades from one model to the next. The most significant difference I heard as soon as I put on the WH-1000XM4s was a slight distortion that became more pronounced as the volume increased.

With the WH-1000XM5, everything just felt a lot more high-quality. I’m not sure if it’s the compressor or the new drivers. Still, as I get into some crescendos and the climax of the music, I’m just starting to notice some distortion, which took away from the listening experience.

Additionally, you could tell that the Sony Force headphones were a little dated, whereas I enjoyed the WH-1000XM5’s sleek, smooth, pleasing-to-the-touch, and pleasing-to-the-ear feel, which made them highly comfortable overall.

Therefore, if you currently own a WH-1000XM4 and are debating upgrading to a 1000XM5, I believe it will be worthwhile because it will improve the sound quality you hear while you listen.

By the expert.

Price & Conclusions


So, is it worth $50 or more? I make about four hours of calls a week, so having the option to use the microphone even in a noisy environment is crucial.

Although they don’t fold, they aren’t much bigger than the WH-1000XM4 and have better noise cancellation on paper; you can’t tell the difference unless you’re in a boisterous environment. However, they are lighter and more breathable, which is a good trade-off for me, even though $400 is a lot of money.

So the WH-1000XM4 still comes at about $349 if they go over budget. Many people who may not be interested in these headphones will still think that $400 or $349 is a lot of money, but if you compare them to other products like the Apple AirPods Max, these are a steal. Hopefully, their price will drop soon.