The leaks and rumours around the new Sony WH-1000XM5 Headphones have been rife in recent weeks, and fortunately, nearly all of them were true. In recent years, Sony has muscled out the likes of Bose as the traveller’s preferred headset for travelling, but with Bose having just released the exceptional QC45’s, Sony has a fight on its hands.

New Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones in Black. {Tech} for Travel.
<em>New WH 1000XM5 Headphones Image Sony<em>

Sony WH-1000XM5 Headphones

This is an important launch for Sony. Its nearest competition in the over-ear headphone space made some significant changes recently, which means the modest changes we saw from the WH-1000XM3 to the WH-1000XM4 won’t cut it this time. Sony needs noticeable changes.

And they’ve delivered.

The new WH-1000XM5, whilst continuing the slightly annoying naming standard, boasts a fresh new look, has more tech goodness and a battery life that can last the entire length of the world’s longest flights WITH ANC TURNED ON!

Best ANC Headphones for travelling 2022 Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones. {Tech} for Travel.
<em>Touch sensitive panels Image Sony<em>

Sony WH-1000XM5 Headphones// Features

Somehow Sony has improved on the Active Noise Cancelling capabilities of the XM4 by doubling the number of microphones to eight, from four previously. They’ve even gone as far as to describe the new headphones as a “Noiseless design”. Perfect then, we hope, for travellers.

The hinges on the earcups have been replaced from the ‘V’ fork models that collapse into themselves with a single connection coming from the headband, which includes ABS Sliders for a smoother adjustment. This also lets the earcups pivot, not fold in, resulting in a better fit against your head and ears.

There’s also a new travel case, made just for the XM5 headphones.

If you have the chance to hold the XM4 and XM5 together, you’ll hopefully notice a considerable weight difference. The new XM5 headphones are almost 5g lighter. This weight difference is, partly, due to the smaller 30mm carbon fibre driver used.

// Media Sony YouTube Channel.

New Look

Once a brand has a winning formula, it’s not often they’ll make significant changes, especially to the design, yet Sony has done just that.

The new thinner headband and single point connections to the earcups look great from these press images, even if the earcups themselves share a similar styling to their predecessors.

There will be only two colour options at launch with matching travel cases.

Technology Upgrades

Powered by two processors, the 1000XM5 headphones are packed with features to enhance your experience using them. There’s much improved ANC, sound clarity and bass reproduction.

Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones specifications. {Tech} for Travel.
<em>Refreshed headband moveable earcups Image Sony<em>

The ANC auto-adjusts itself to the environment and sounds around you or switches on Adaptive Sound Control, which Sony says “learns your behaviour and recognises locations that you frequently visit, such as your workplace or a favourite café, and tailors sound to suit the situation.”

For hands-free calling, Precise Voice Pickup Technology combines four microphones and an AI-based noise reduction algorithm to pinpoint your voice and deliver it clearly.

There is Google Fast Pair support to help locate the headphones when lost, Swift Pair for seamless connections with Windows 10/11 laptops and Multipoint connection. This enables you to connect the Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones with two devices simultaneously.

Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless headphones. Best anc headphones for travel. {Tech} for Travel.
<em>Streamlined slick design Image Sony<em>

Power & Controls

Ahead of the launch, internet rumours were suggesting the WH-1000XM5 would come with the best battery performance we’d ever seen on a pair of ANC wireless headphones.

What Sony has delivered is on par with the older XM4s, with an expected 30 hours of playback with ANC switched on. There’s a slight improvement with ANC turned off, as Sony claims we can now expect up to 40 hours.

Finally, touch-sensitive controls are back! While I’m not the biggest fan of this type of interaction, the XM4 experience was outstanding, so I expect the XM5s to match or improve.

Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless ANC Headphones travel case. {Tech} for Travel.
<em>Travel case protection Image Sony<em>
Element Cases Under $40

Sony WH-1000XM5 Headphones// Specifications

Colour OptionsBlack
Midnight Blue
Driver30mm40mm Dome
Supported FormatsSBC | AAC | LDACSBC | AAC | LDAC
ModesActive Noise Cancelling
Quick Attention
Active Noise Cancelling

Quick Attention
ControlsTouch Sensor
Gesture Control
Touch Sensor
Charge Time3 hours3 hours
Power PerformanceANC on 30 hours
ANC off 40 hours
ANC on 30 hours
ANC off 38 hours
ConnectivityBluetooth v5.2
Stereo Mini Jack
Multipoint Connection
Google Fast Pair
Windows Swift Pair
Bluetooth v5
Stereo Mini Jack
In the BoxWH-1000XM5 Headphones
Carry case
Connection cable
USB-C cable
WH-1000XM4 Headphones
Carry case
Connection cable
USB-C cable
In-flight Plug adaptor

Sony WH-1000XM5 Headphones// Pricing

The new Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones are priced at $399/£379.

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VIATom Payne
Tom Payne
Tom, Editor. An online publication providing news & reviews on apps, gadgets and luggage for the connected traveller.


  1. Hopefully the xm4 will drop in price. I still have the xm3 from 3 yrs ago and still work amazingly great on my flights 🙂

    • I agree, and I think as the price drops on the XM4 headphones, they will become one of the best buys in 2022. I’m watching them over different outlets and the price is already going down.

    • They are and I think this might be the tipping point where we see more Sony headphones on flights and less Bose.

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