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These new Sony headphones may have redefined good audio, my life as I know it

I’ve only had the Sony WH-1000XM5 wireless noise-cancelling headphones for about two weeks now, and already it has cemented a place in my heart.

If I could, I’d keep them on throughout all my waking hours and continuously listen to songs that I’ve curated in my “Soundtrack of my life” Spotify playlist (yet to be made).

All this to say, I love these headphones, and if never taking them off was a realistic option that didn’t disrupt my daily life, I would keep them on.

Here’s what reeled me in.

A simple-looking but sleek build

Looking at the headphones’ exterior, they’re not anything too special. We got them in black, with soft vegan leather coating the inner cups and band, and the rest of it made predominantly from recycled plastics, or more specifically, Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS).

The plastic parts are matte and smooth to the touch, giving off a premium feel to me. Overall, these headphones are pretty light, and I’m able to wear them comfortably for hours on end.

When wearing them for long durations, I didn’t feel as though they trapped heat and made me sweat, which is a positive since the XM5s don’t have an IP rating.

What helps is also the soft cushion cups that feel more airy than spongy, and a band that actually fits my head quite nicely.

Although, I do wish the band could be a tad smaller, since even on the smallest band sizing, the headphones tend to shift around if I’m moving. Those with larger heads can find their ideal fit by adjusting the smooth friction rods.

One major change to the aesthetic design that seems to have upset some fans is the fact that the XM5 cups can no longer be folded into themselves for better portability.

For those often using headphones on the go, this might be a bit of a dealbreaker, since the XM5s’ case is almost double that of the XM4s’, and can’t be thrown into a bag as easily.

I personally don’t have a problem with this, since I carry around a backpack most of the time anyway. What matters more to me is how they sound.

Music like I’ve never heard before

And lord, do they sound amazing. I’ve never tried the XM4s so I don’t really have a point of comparison, but if they’re anything like the XM5s, then I’d say an upgrade isn’t necessary.

With regards to the XM5s specifically, my music came through crisp, clean, and clear. Trebles were nicely balanced while basses were far from muddy, and it was as though I could pick out every single instrument in a song.

Depth was present in the tracks I listened to as well (they’re Genshin Impact OSTs, if you were wondering, and please don’t judge), where every swell and ebb of a stringed quartet felt impactful.

I didn’t toggle around in the Sony Headphones app too much, mainly opting to just switch the equaliser to Bass Boost.

To really immerse myself in my music, I kept the noise-cancelling feature on the entire time. In places like my office where I needed to keep an ear out for my colleagues speaking to me, I could just cover the right earcup with my hand, effectively pausing my music until I take my hand away.

Alternatively, to keep an ear on your surroundings even through music or calls, you could keep the XM5s on the ambient setting, which Sony has 20 levels of, adjustable in the Headphones app. This is a feature made possible by eight microphones (a jump from the XM4’s four).

Another option was activating Speak-to-Chat, and you can tweak the duration of it to be 5, 15, or 30 seconds long.

The capacitive touch panel on the right earcup is extremely responsive, and I like how fast the controls kick in (and revert) once you carry out the necessary action.

Sony’s automatic functions are great too though, such as the auto-pause/play when you take the XM5s off/put them on.

To save battery, you can also activate Automatic Power Off, which turns off the headphones when they detect they’ve not been worn for a certain amount of time.

I don’t often use voice assistants, but for those who do, the XM5s’ support for them is supposedly better than in previous models.

Verdict

What makes it so easy to keep the XM5s on would definitely be their comfort, great audio experience, and long-lasting battery.

If I don’t have to take them off for charging, why take them off at all? Eventually though, its 30 hours of battery will run out, but a three-minute charge supposedly gives you up to three hours of battery.

This makes it ideal for travellers, if foldability and portability weren’t so much of an issue.

For me, the RM1,799 XM5s have changed my perspective on headphones and great audio. Though I love ANC wireless earbuds to death, the way headphones just fully wrap around your ears turns a good music session up to 11.

More than music, I had a blast using these while gaming. Playing Genshin Impact with these on brought me onto a whole new level of immersiveness, and I swear playing the game without the XM5s would never be the same again.

Being that these XM5s are to be shared with the rest of my colleagues, I shall have to bid them goodbye and hope that they continue blessing others’ ears the way they have mine. Although, I might find myself making my way to a Sony store soon.

ProsCons
Extremely comfortable fit with soft vegan leatherLacks foldability and portability
Fantastic audio for music listeningNo IP rating
Strong ANC
  • Learn more about the Sony WH-1000XM5 here.
  • Read more VP Verdicts here.

VP Verdict is a series where we personally try and test out products, services, fads, and apps. Want to suggest something else for us to try? Leave a comment here or send the suggestion to our Facebook page

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(UEN 201431998C.)

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