Sony WF-1000XM5 Review cover

Sony WF-1000XM5 Review – Cool wireless earbuds with sweet sound and ANC

Good things come in small packages so goes the saying and which was an especially appropriate description for Sony’s line-up of flagship WF-1000X4 wireless earbuds that launched last year to rave acclaim.

Sony WF-1000XM5 Review open with buds in case

We had the privilege of field testing its successor, the new WF-1000XM5 across a variety of scenarios and use cases over the past several weeks. Here’s our Sony WF-1000XM5 review where we share if lightning does strike twice and if they still have what it takes to make a winning pair of earbuds.

Sony WF-1000XM5 review – What’s improved

In terms of improvements, the Sony WF-1000XM5 has earbuds that are actually 25% smaller and 20% lighter than its predecessor the WF-1000XM4. Even the charging case has undergone a weight loss regime, weighing in at just 39g while being 26.5mm thin, making it overall one of the most compact and lightest wireless earbud designs in the market. 

The overall design of our Sony WF-1000XM5 review sample has a fairly conventional layout with a treasure chest-style charging case that opens up vertically to reveal two compact wireless earbuds in matching colours contrasted by matching glossy trim on the sides with your choice of black or an off-white silver hue. Our earbuds came in the former colourway. 

Sony WF-1000XM5 Review open

Each of the earbuds features a control surface that responds to a combination of taps to control music playback and calls along with a swappable set of eartips with a medium set pre-installed by default. Sony has also taken pains to ensure that the new memory tips fit more snugly in your ear to offer better comfort and improved passive noise cancellation. Closer inspection also reveals a set of tiny rounded mesh covers on each earbud to better filter out wind noise.

Sony has also added an extra small, small and large set of ear tips in order to ensure a proper fit, a USB-C to USB-A cable as well as the usual array of warranty and quick start literature. Of note is that the earbuds have an IPX4 water resistance rating, allowing it to shrug off splashes of water and rain though the charging case itself is still vulnerable to the elements.

Closer inspection of the charging case reveals a Bluetooth pairing button on the rear next to a USB-C port for charging along with the hinge mechanism. In lieu of a wired connection, the charging case also supports wireless charging too.

Up front at the base of the lid is a small LED light that acts as a charging indicator. The grippy finish and the smoothly engineered hinges enable easy one-handed opening which is a necessity for wireless earbuds especially since your other hand is usually holding your phone.

Where their new WF-1000XM5 stand out are how refined the design is as the case and buds both feature streamlined curves that make it look like they tested it in a wind tunnel along with a matte fingerprint resistant yet grippy finish that make the whole affair look and feel truly premium.

There’s a practical reason for this too as the aerodynamic nature of the earbuds also helps in reducing wind noise which is apparent when making or taking calls. Overall, you’re getting an extremely polished design with a premium yet understated look.

Sony WF-1000XM5 Review – Setup and Performance

On top of a lighter, more streamlined design, our Sony WF-1000XM5 review sample also has improved hardware. Intended as the successor to last year’s WF-1000XM4, the new WF-1000XM5 features a more refined and sleeker design along with a slew of performance enhancements that include improved Integrated Processor V2 and HD Noise Cancelling QN2e chipsets for about 20% better active noise cancellation and better acoustic performance. 

That’s not all, the WF-1000XM5 also uses a larger 8.4mm Dynamic Driver X which uses different materials for high and low frequencies in order to offer more precise sound and which is a good deal larger than the 6.4mm driver in its predecessor for overall better acoustic capabilities. 

Sony’s customary lavish attention to acoustic quality is on show here with the latest Bluetooth 5.3 connectivity, support for SBC, AAC, LDAC and LC3 codecs as well as their DSEE Extreme algorithm for upscaling lossy sound files.

Sony WF-1000XM5 Review case

It gets better as the earbuds feature 360 Reality Audio for a vivid soundstage as well as dynamic head tracking support with the practical option of nodding or shaking your head to accept or reject incoming phone calls. 

On top of the usual wear detection which pauses playback if you take the earbuds off, the WF-1000XM5 also features a Speak to Chat feature that relies on a bone conduction sensor to pauses playback when you’re speaking so you needn’t have to manually pause tracks when you’re having a quick chat.


Of note is the inclusion of Multipoint Bluetooth connectivity which lets you connect to two devices simultaneously such as your phone and laptop which comes in handy especially when you’re multitasking and swapping between both like most mobile workers in the new normal. The earbuds also have Google Fast Pair for easy and rapid pairing.

Much like other flagship wireless earbuds our Sony WF-1000XM5 review sample has a companion Sony Headphones app in order to offer sound and setting customisation as well as get updates. The app itself is free to download on either the Google Play store or Apple app store.

The app itself offers a massive variety of settings to tweak though the most important, including the ability to create a personal sound equaliser profile or alternatively adjust equaliser settings including bass from predefined set, adjust 360 Reality audio for optimised spatial audio content and the ability to manually toggle ANC/Ambient audio are all present. 

One thing to note though is that 360 Reality audio doesn’t work with Apple’s interpretation of spatial audio and at present, only works with compatible streaming apps like Tidal so you’ll have to chunk out extra for a subscription to take full advantage of this feature. 

That quibble aside, the controls are mostly hardwired with a single tap on the left toggling through ANC or ambient sound modes and a single tap on the right to pause or take a call. A double tap on the left or right earbud lets you take or end a call though the right earbud can also let you skip forward to the next track. Triple tapping only works on the right earbud and lets you rewind to a prior track. Tapping four times on the left earbud decreases volume while doing so on the right increases volume. 

Getting our Sony WF-1000XM5 review sample paired with a Galaxy Z Fold5 and a Windows 11 laptop was a doddle and the walkthrough setup was a relatively simple task by following all the provided prompts though there’s a particular emphasis on signing up for a Sony account to track listening time, favourite tracks, earn badges and the like.

When it comes down to brass tacks, the Sony WF-1000XM5 handled itself like a champ. Even across a variety of genres from mainstream pop to classical music, it offered excellent balance and retained subtle details with clarity.

The opening portions of Pink Floyd’s ‘Time’ sounded exquisite with great sound staging and it handles vocals extremely well, lending a rich lustre to Joanna Wang’s dulcet tones in Vincent. There were however a few quibbles in how some of its features were implemented.  

On paper, Speak To Chat mode sounds fantastic but in practice, it is overly sensitive and even humming to yourself or subvocalising a simple ‘hmmm’ can pause playback and thus far there’s no way to tweak the sensitivity. Hopefully future versions or an update will make this available.

Sony WF-1000XM5 Review charging

When it comes to its noise cancellation abilities, our WF-1000XM5 review unit excelled in an exceptional fashion, muting out irksome low frequency sounds like engine and train white noise and most of the background murmur in an open office setting. To date, these are among the best tested so far this year with the ability to squelch external noise effectively though this is also contingent on achieving a good seal with the provided ear tips. 

Short of specialised, work-oriented designs, the call quality was excellent and the WF-1000XM5 were able to offer a clear conversation on both sides even in the middle of a busy coffee shop and not the western kind, mind you – the one with local waiters screaming at the top of their lungs with whirring fans like ceiling-mounted chainsaws.

In terms of battery life, the WF-1000XM5 with ANC on is officially rated for 8 hours of usage with another 16 hours in the charging case for a grand total of 24 hours of endurance. Under actual field conditions with ANC on, our Sony WF-1000XM5 review sample hit the mark with just over 8 hours and a few minutes to spare which is quite a feat.

In the course of the usual daily work commute routine including calls at work, it needs charging every couple of days which is quite a decent number all things considered and takes a couple of hours to charge if you’re completely dry.

Should you buy the Sony WF-1000XM5 wireless earbuds?

The Sony WF-1000XM5 wireless earbuds are a well rounded design that offers excellent sound quality paired with superb battery life and great noise cancellation. Add in exceptional customisability via its companion app and you get one of the best wireless earbuds in the market. It doesn’t come cheap but it’s well worth your money.

Hitech Century Gold Award

Price RM1,299
Driver 8.4mm, Closed, dynamic
Frequency response 20-20,000Hz (44.1kHz) / 20Hz- 40,000Hz (LDAC 96kHz sampling 990kbps)
Connectivity Bluetooth 5.3 w/ SBC, AAC, LDAC, LC3
Battery 8 hours (ANC on) / 2 hours charging
Size/Weight 64.6 x 40 x 26.5mm [case] / 5.9g (per earbud) / 39g (case)

Sony WF-1000XM5 Review open

Sony WF-1000XM5 review sample courtesy of Sony Malaysia. To purchase please visit Sony’s official website at

Sony WF-1000XM5
  • Design
  • Performance
  • Battery Life
  • Value
  • Comfort

Sony WF-1000XM5

he Sony WF-1000XM5 wireless earbuds are easily one of the best wireless earbuds in the market with deep customisability via its companion app, superb noise cancellation and balanced, excellent sound that’s brimming with detail. It doesn’t come cheap but this is to be expected in owning a paragon of audio excellence.  



Outstanding ANC

Comprehensive customisation settings via app

Great battery life

Good sound staging and detail


Not cheap

No way to tweak Speak to Chat sensitivity