Sony’s new $550 headphones are missing a key feature

Tech reviewer Elly Awesome says Sony’s latest WH-1000X headphones are worth every penny, even if they’re missing one important feature.

Now there’s a new edition of Sony’s beloved WH-1000X noise canceling headphones, and they’re sleeker than ever.

But are they worth the price?

Known as the WH-1000X M5, these 2022 fifth-generation headphones have a revamped look and a few technical tweaks, while still including the features you know and love.


The WH-1000X M5s are available in silver and black, although the “silver” color looks much more like beige. He still looks great – just a weird name choice. Both look professional and stylish and would suit everyone, but perhaps your color choice will depend on how best they match your clothing colors or skin tone. I find you can’t go wrong with blacks, especially if you’re rarely able to keep white tech or light colored tech or clothes clean.

The light listeners come in a fairly rigid color-matched woven fabric case. Inside you’ll find a small compartment with a magnetic cover that holds a 3.5mm headphone cable in case you want to use the listeners wired instead of wireless (bluetooth) and a USB-A to USB-C charging cable.

The previously included two-prong airplane adapter is no longer included. Maybe it’s saving money for Sony or because it’s unnecessary as more and more people watch content on their smart devices while travelling?

It is also encouraged to download Sony’s free “Headphones Connect” app to use in tandem with the headphones which, although not required to use, is absolutely worth your time as it adds bonus features to the listeners.


Compared to previous models of the WH-1000X, these headphones have a less boxy and classic look, now appearing more current, rounded and slender.

Unfortunately, I have a love/hate relationship with their new design. I think it looks fantastic and works well, with new silent sliding arms to adjust the size of the headphones and a slimmer headband. However, now the headphones do not bend.

Previously you could fold the ear cups to sit compactly under the headband, whereas now they have a fixed shape. Also, the earbuds can be rotated to keep their slim footprint in a bag, but if you wear them “correctly” (left and right earbuds match your left and right ear) resting around your neck, the earbuds won’t sit not. flat against your chest. I mean, they can, but the earcups are facing outward, which just seems like backwards. I’d like to see that tweaked on next-gen.

With these design features in mind, they make them slightly less appealing to people like me who are trying to pack super light, squeezing everything into one backpack for a business trip.

I loved the compact nature of the previous design, but I’ve heard some people say the earbuds “noisy” around (but I can only notice this when shaking them in the air).

The case they come in is also unfortunately larger than the previous one, however, it makes up for some points as it can fold almost flat when not in use. And look, none of these are necessarily deal-breakers – it’s just important to note whether you value a small footprint in your backpack or choose between the M5 headphones and the foldable M4s.

Touch controls

One of my favorite legacy features from the WH-1000X, which carried over to the fifth generation, is the intuitive touch controls.

For example, to increase headphone volume, you can swipe up (or swipe up and hold) and to skip between tracks, you can swipe forward or swipe down. the back. They also have Quick Attention Mode, where if you cover the right ear with your hand, they’ll mute your content and let in ambient sound so you can hear an announcement or have a conversation.

The headphones can also detect when you take them off and can pause your content when you do. The previous generation could do this, but this function had a visible sensor in the ear cup, but now it is hidden.

Noise canceling and battery life

In my opinion, the WH-1000X range has always had the most incredible noise cancellation available. And in the latest addition, it has only gotten better.

With a more powerful noise-canceling processor and now eight built-in microphones, Sony claims its noise-canceling ability is about 50% better than the previous generation. And I think it’s improved.

There’s also an adaptive noise-canceling mode that optimizes the amount of cancellation based on your surrounding sounds, which I found worked really well.

And I must say that I find it difficult to travel without them when I fly now. They muffle a ridiculous amount of aircraft noise, while delivering excellent high-res audio.

Side note – the built-in microphone is also very good for calls.

Their autonomy is also impeccable, which makes them ideal for travelling. These have a crazy fast charge feature where just 3 minutes of charging (with a compatible USB-C wall charger) can give you three hours of playtime.

And overall, when fully charged, the headphones offer 30 hours of battery life. That’s absolutely correct because in all the years I’ve used any version of the WH-1000X, and now the M5s, I feel like I rarely need to recharge them, which is so refreshing in a world where you’re always loading something!

Should you buy them?

In all honesty, I could always pack my M4s over M5s when traveling light, but hands down I can say these listeners are the most comfortable headphones I’ve ever used, with their very plush foam ear cups. And the noise cancellation is top notch.

However, I wish they would still fold up and hope the rotation of the earcups will be changed.

I’ll admit I think they’re pricey for the average consumer, costing $548 on Sony’s website, but like all WH-1000X models, I also think they’re worth every penny.

So if you like the look of these, are happy with all of my review points, and have the cash, I can safely say that they are seriously awesome.

Elly Awesome is an Australian tech and lifestyle vlogger. | @elyawesometech | Youtube

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