Sony WH-1000XM5 Headphones Review: An Old Favorite Gets Big Changes

Headphones
Speaker 1: Hey there folks. I know a lot of you been waiting for these Sony's new w H 1000 X mark, five noise canceling headphones, and they really are new they're redesigned on both the inside and outside. And while you're probably not gonna like their higher $400 price tag, they have one key upgrade. That's pretty killer. So lots to talk about. Let's do it Speaker 1: [00:00:30] Now, when you have a product that a lot of people love, it can be a little risky to change things up. This is the fifth generation of the 1000 X series headphones. They were first released in 2016 as the MDR 1000 X wireless, they become increasingly popular as they've improved with each generation. Over the years, Sony has made some tweaks to design, but nothing as dramatic as this gone is the dual hinge of previous models. And now there's just a single hinge with a swivel and rocker design. [00:01:00] That means these full flap, but they don't fold up and they come with a new caring case that looks to be about 20% bigger than the previous models case. That's a bit disappointing, but the good news is the mark five weighs four grams less in the mark, four tipping, the scales that are relatively pelt, 250 grams, but also slightly more comfortable to wear. Speaker 1: They fit my head sly, but managed to avoid having that overly clamed feeling. I happened to have a trip planned in France before I got my hands on a review sample. So I was actually able to test these on a transatlantic flight and basically [00:01:30] wore them for eight hours straight only taking them off for bathroom breaks. They have the same battery life as the previous model, up to 30 hours with a quick charge feature that gives you three hours of juice from a three minute charge. But as I said, they seem slightly more comfortable. They also feature new synthetic leather ear pads that seem slightly more durable compared to the pads on the mark. Four, they do seem to breathe slightly better, but as with any over your headphones, your ears are gonna seem up pretty good. If you wear them around when it's hot outside, there [00:02:00] doesn't seem to be any metal in the headband, but the plastic appears to be pretty high tech. Speaker 1: And I spent some time contorting and twisting the headband and nothing snapped. The headphones come in two colors, black and silver though. The silver looks more like a sand color. They both have nice. Matt finishes that don't show fingerprints. Aside from the larger case, I personally prefer the new design to the mark fours, but I'm sure there will be people who favor the mark fours design. The mark vice features are very similar to the mark. Four S from the beginning, the 1000 X's signature extra feature was a quick attention [00:02:30] mode. If you hold your hand over the right ear cup, it pauses, whatever audio you're listening to and lets sound in. So you can quickly have a conversation, then go right back to what you're listening to. Also, if you take the headphones off your head, your music will pause and resume. When you put them back on these also have Sony speak to chat mode. Speaker 1: That's essentially hands free, quick attention. If someone comes up to you and wants to chat, you can simply say, Hey, what's up and your audio pauses and the headphones go into ambient mode. The audio then resumes after a short period of time, anywhere from five [00:03:00] seconds to 30 seconds, depending on your preference, or you can manually resume it by touching the ear cup, the touch controls work quite well. You swipe forward across the ear cup to advance tracks forward and swipe back to go to the previous track, swiping up, raises the volume, swiping down, lowers it. And these have Bluetooth 5.2 and are powered by Sony's Q N one and B one chips giving this headphone dual processors compared to the single processor of the mark. Four, according to Sony, that helps with noise canceling and noise [00:03:30] reduction during calls. And these have double the number of microphones for noise canceling as well as what appears to be additional microphones dedicated to voice calling. Speaker 1: So he won't say how many bean forming microphones the mark four has, but this model has four of them. So one of the biggest upgrades is to the microphone configuration. The noise canceling was excellent with the mark four, and now it's even better with the mark five that said, I didn't know a real difference on my plane ride. Both models seem to do equally well with lower frequencies, but according to Sony, these do better muffling higher frequencies. [00:04:00] And I did notice some small differences walking around the streets of New York city. For instance, people's voices seem to be muffled slightly more. I should also note that with a mark four, you had to manually engage the noise canceling optimizer feature with this model it's automatically engaged and the adaptive noise canceling does seem slightly smoother and more seamless can manually toggle between noise canceling and an ambient mode that lets sound in apple calls that mode transparency mode and while noise canceling levels, aren't manually adjustable. Speaker 1: You can adjust the amount of ambient sound you wanna let [00:04:30] in at the highest ambient sound level, you do get a bit of augmented hearing. I can't get into all the features, but there aren't EQ settings in the app, and you're probably gonna end up playing around with them, especially if you're used to the sound of the mark four mark three, aside from their higher price tag, the biggest point of a contention with these headphones will be their sound Sony's equipped. The mark five with new, more rigid, 30 millimeter carbon fiber drivers. And these do sound markedly different from the mark four, they have more of an audio foul sound profile with [00:05:00] slightly more balanced sound, better clarity and a bit tighter base going back and forth between the mark four and mark five. I noticed that the mark four plays a little louder at the same volume level on my phone and is more Ford and aggressive sounding. Speaker 1: It does have 40 millimeter drivers, and I can see some people fir as bold or slightly more exciting sound. Especially if you listen to a lot of hip hop and base heavy tracks, I mostly prefer the more refined sound of the mark five, but I suspect some reviewers may feel the headphones should offer a bigger perceived jump in sound quality [00:05:30] based on their $400 price tag. That's $50 more than what the mark four started out at, but you can frequently find that model for around two 70 or less. I do expect to see some discounts on this new model in the not so distant future. I do think this is a case of the headphones sounding different, not better or worse. And if you didn't have the mark four to compare them to, you would simply say to yourself, if they sound very smooth and accurate, the way a good pair of headphones is supposed to sound like the mark four, these do support Sony's Leck [00:06:00] audio code that's available for streaming over a number of Android devices and certain dedicated music players, IY C stream music using an iPhone 13 pro and the couple of Android phones. Speaker 1: The KU buzz music service offers high resolution tracks for streaming on Android devices and computers. And I did notice a slight uptick and sound quality when I went with LDAC or used the headphones in wire mode with the included cable that said, I felt the difference in sound quality was bigger. When I used the AirPods max in wire mode, the jump was even bigger with those headphones, which [00:06:30] do not offer LD wireless streaming. I'll finish with what I think is the biggest improvement over the mark four, and that's voice call quality. It took them five tries, but Sony has finally cracked the code on noise reduction during calls. These are truly impressive when it comes to calling and noisy environments. All right, so the w H 1000 expert mark four had improved call quality, but for some people, it wasn't quite good enough. Well, now Sony has said that they've made the call quality [00:07:00] better with these. They have four B, four being in microphones, as well as, uh, some software algorithms to reduce background noise. I'm standing here in the streets of New York with, uh, a lot of cars going by. Speaker 2: Um, I'm talking to, uh, another Dave on the other line having a conversation right now. What do you think Dave, uh, can, is my voice clear and how much background noise are you hearing? Speaker 3: Yeah, so first off, I'm not hearing any background noise. [00:07:30] If, if I didn't know any better, I would've thought you were in a quiet room. So definitely perks to the headphones there. Um, the headphones slightly could focus on your voice and maybe you'd be a little bit more clear, but in terms of eliminating voices, it's doing an excellent job. Speaker 1: Yeah, right now this's a little bit of, uh, wind here, as you can see from the tree in the background Speaker 2: Where you can't see that tree, but, uh, it is quite windy here. So how's [00:08:00] my voice sound now. Speaker 3: Yeah. Your, your voice is sounding good. Um, I guess whenever the wind's picking up, there might be a slight shift in the tone of your voice, but I don't hear any, any wind noise or any background noise for that matter. Speaker 2: All right. So there you have it. That is our test call, um, much improved call quality for these, uh, bar fives Speaker 1: Last but not least. These do have multipoint Bluetooth pairing that allows you to pair the headphones with two devices at the same time and switch back and forth between them. It's an important feature [00:08:30] for some people, particularly those of us who like to simultaneously pair with our phones and computers while working from home. And that's really the Sony w H 1000 X mark five. In a nutshell, as I said, there's going to be a lot of debate over whether the mark four or the mark five sound better, but the mark five has some legitimate upgrades. And the voice calling experience is stellar. For those of you who already own the mark four, that's really the biggest reason to upgrade the mark five. For those of you just looking for a new pair of noise, canceling headphones, I do think [00:09:00] the mark five keeps so right at the top of the category. Speaker 1: And if you can afford them, I'd probably take these over Bo's noise, canceling 700 headphones, as well as it's quiet comfort 45 headphones, which are also very good. But I do think the mark five are slightly better overall. Now their voice calling has improved, but let me know what you guys think. How do you feel about the design changes and the higher dealer price tag, and are any of you ready to dump your mark fours for the mark fives sound off in the comment section? And if you're interested in any of the products mentioned, check out the description [00:09:30] below for links on where to find them, and you can get even more details in my text review on CNET. Lastly, if you found this video in form of it all hit the like button and subscribe, if you haven't already, I'm David Carney for CNET. Thanks for watching.

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