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Release date, rumors, price, features, and more

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Release date, rumors, price, features, and more

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Update, July 19, 2023 (01:12 AM ET): We’ve added details about the official launch date of the WF-1000XM5 below.


Sony’s indisputable audio success lies with the hugely popular WF and WH series of true wireless buds and over-ear headphones. The Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds lead by example when it comes to high-quality listening in a compact form factor. With much talk of a brand new WF-1000XM5 version on the horizon, it begs the question — what does Sony have in store for the WF/XM line?

There are a lot of gaps still to fill in at the moment, but we can make some pretty good assumptions based on rumors, previous models, and Sony’s proprietary technology. There are also a lot of features among the WF/XM series that we’d like to see the WF-1000XM5 earbuds improve upon. Read ahead for what we know and want to see in these buds.

Will there be a Sony WF-1000XM5 series?

Sony has released plenty of earbuds over the past two years. From the slightly wobbly WF-L900 to the vastly updated LinkBuds S, Sony remains a formidable powerhouse regarding high-end audio.

Yet despite a recent flurry of releases, Sony is typically much slower to refresh its flagship WF-XM line. Sony hasn’t confirmed the existence of the WF-1000XM5 yet. Still, given the popularity of the WF-1000XM4 and the rapidly evolving nature of the high-end audio space, we’d be very surprised if Sony doesn’t follow up with a release sometime in 2023.

Sony’s FCC filing from February 22, 2023, describes a “wireless noise canceling stereo headset,” which is all but confirmed to be the WF-1000XM5. On March 15, 2023, Sony WF-1000X5 images leaked, revealing the case’s design and earbuds. The FCC ID and model number on the images of the leaked case match the FCC ID and model number in the FCC file.

From the images, we see rounded earbuds with Sony branding. The earbuds appear to have more angled nozzles than the WF-1000XM4, which could improve comfort. The glossy plastic looks cheaper, but this could change with the final product.

The leaked images also show us a more rounded case design for the Sony WF-1000XM5, compared to the XM4 earbuds’ case. You won’t find the LED indicator on the seam of the case where the lid meets the body. Instead, the LED rests on the front of the case, like the AirPods.

Another change: Sony drops the XM4’s three-pin connectors for two-pin connectors in the XM5 case. Despite fewer pins, we could see faster charging speeds for the earbuds. A 5V ⎓ 230mA spec is stamped on the bottom of the leaked XM5 case. This is greater than the Sony WF-1000XM4 case (5V ⎓ 140mA).

A teardown of the case indicates that it will support Qi wireless charging just as the XM4 case. We also see a teardown of the Sony WF-1000XM5 earbuds. There are contacts for a wireless antennae and proximity sensor. There are also two sets of contacts for drivers and MEMS microphones.

What is the Sony WF-1000XM5 release date?

sony wf 1000xm4 review in case top
  • Sony WF-1000XM3 series — August 5, 2019
  • Sony WF-1000XM4 series — June 8, 2021

Sony has already released two LinkBuds models in the past year, including the LinkBuds WF-L900, but the flagship WF-1000XM models have historically been released during the summer months. This year is no different. Sony has announced July 24, 2023, as the launch date for the WF-1000XM5.

What features and specs will the WF-1000XM5 have?

sony wf 1000xm4 review ear tip

Without official details, here’s what we can gather from the rumors and expectations so far.

Design

New WF-1000XM5 renders posted by WinFuture on June 7 gave us a good look at the earbuds and charging case. And it definitely looks like a sleeker, more rounded design overall. Check out the gallery below.

It also seems like we’ve got a glossy design here, although the touch pads seem to be matte. It’s also believed that both the earbuds and case are lighter than the XM4 earbuds and case respectively.

Otherwise, you should expect Black and Silver colorways at the very least.

Specs and features

One of the features that make the WF-1000XM4 buds a truly excellent choice is their superior ANC and isolation capabilities. Droning sounds from 50Hz upwards are rendered effectively mute, and the memory foam tips seal tightly even with oddly shaped ear canals; these elements combined make for a very pleasant listening experience. As you can see in the SoundGuys comparison chart above, the Sony WF-1000XM4 noise canceling is significantly better than the Sony WF-1000XM3, so we can expect another ANC performance bump with the WF-1000XM5.

Audio quality is also a benchmark of Sony’s WF/ XM series earbuds. There’s a slightly enhanced bass boost on the XM4, but this is common among most earbud manufacturers to cancel out rumbling noises. Where Sony differs from the rest is the inclusion of its proprietary DSEE Extreme feature. This boasts the ability to upsample compressed audio formats, which is useful for those who listen to a lot of lossy music. The good news is that WinFuture reported on June 15 that the earbuds will indeed pack this feature, but that isn’t all.

High-end buds are now on Bluetooth 5.3; Sony should really follow suit.

WinFuture added that the XM5 earbuds have “Dynamic Driver X” tech with 8.4mm drivers, two proprietary processors, three microphones each, and real-time noise reduction tech. Other claimed features include bone conduction sensors and Precise Voice Pickup tech.

We’d also expect to see next-gen buds connect to your chosen device via Bluetooth 5.3. Apple’s AirPods Pro (2nd generation) and Samsung’s Galaxy Buds 2 Pro have paved the way for this capability already, so Sony will likely follow suit. This would provide users with longer battery life and a more seamless connection. We expect the WF-1000XM5 will support all Bluetooth codecs in the stack, including the LE audio LC3 codec. What we know for almost certain is that the buds would contain Sony’s own high-quality LDAC codec. This has proved to be a worthwhile, high-end option for those using devices that support it.

sony wf 1000xm4 review sony wf 1000xm3 size comparison scaled 1

The XM4 earbuds boast a battery life around the seven- to eight-hour mark, so we’d expect similar for the newer model unless there’s a larger battery in tow. Sony’s cases have historically supplied an additional charging capacity of around 12-24 hours. Ideally, the WF-1000XM5 charging case would supply somewhere at the higher end of that spectrum.

The Walkman Blog claimed on June 3 that the earbuds will last up to 24 hours with the included case. Furthermore, it reported that the earbuds could gain an hour of usage with just three minutes of charging. You should also expect wireless charging support for the case via the Qi standard as well as multi-point connectivity.

Sony already boasts impressive ANC and spatial audio credentials that are sure to stick around.

If you want to use spatial audio, the WF-1000XM5 will likely host Sony’s proprietary 360 Reality Audio feature. Supported by TIDAL, Deezer, and Amazon Music streaming services, users will be able to immerse themselves fully in a 360 spherical sound field.

Sony’s Headphones Connect app also allows listeners to hone their preferred equalization. This is a very helpful feature for the WF-1000XM4 buds, given their out-of-the-box sound is a little wonky. We suspect Sony will want users to be able to customize their sound whilst using the WF-1000XM5 buds, too.

What will the Sony WF-1000XM5 price be?

A tweet of Roland Quandt leaking the sony wf 1000xm5 price.
  • Sony WF-1000XM3 — $230
  • Sony WF-1000XM4 — $280
  • Sony WH-1000XM2 — $349
  • Sony WH-1000XM3 — $300
  • Sony WH-1000XM4 — $349
  • Sony WH-1000XM5 — $399

According to tech journalist Roland Quandt, the Sony WF-1000XM5 will cost €319.99 (~$359). If this holds true, the WF-1000XM5 will be $79 more expensive than the WF-1000XM4 before them.

This would make sense, as you can see from the table above, Sony’s over and in-ear headphones prices have been trending upwards. They were already considered premium compared to other headphones on the market, though the WF series usually comes in cheaper than its WH over-ears. Unfortunately, the outlook doesn’t seem to get any brighter in the short term.

There’s a good chance the Sony WF-1000XM5 could be priced at more than $280.

On May 20, 2022, Sony released its latest over-ear headphones, the WH-1000XM5. At launch, these came in at $399. They’re a cracking pair of headphones. However, compared to other versions released in the past, they come with a pretty inflated price tag.

That’s not all. Sony’s most recent earbuds, the WF-1000XM4, were $50 more than their predecessor upon release. More than likely, some external factors are at play here that need to be addressed. Most obvious is the current increase in the cost of raw materials and scarcity of microchips. Some of the inflated overheads in sourcing these materials will inevitably be passed down to consumers.

Sony WF-1000XM5 series: What we want to see

It’s true that the WF-1000XM4 mark a milestone in Sony’s development of high-quality earbuds. They’re an impressive piece of kit and stand as a genuine alternative to Apple’s AirPods Pro. While that is no easy feat, there’s always room for a little bit of improvement. Here are some things we hope Sony will adopt in 2023.

A pair of extra-small ear tips

The Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) ear tip separated from the housing with the wax guard in focus.

Lily Katz / Android Authority

The inclusion of extra-small ear tips for buds, like Apple’s AirPods Pro, makes a lot of sense. Unfortunately, Sony’s WF-1000XM4 earbuds lucked out against their main competitor there.

Aside from the discomfort of forcing a large ear tip into a small ear canal, you also miss out on forming a perfect seal. As mentioned earlier, that was one of the areas where Sony’s XM4 excelled, thanks to the fit test in its Headphones Connect app. It can only be considered a missed opportunity for Sony not to accommodate people with smaller ears. Hopefully, with the anticipated release of the WF-1000XM5 earbuds, this will be something Sony will include this time around.

Improved microphone quality

sony wf 1000xm4 review in use 1

Sony’s WF-1000XM4 microphones are good but not excellent. They can boost your in-call audio signal and can differentiate between speech and background noise. But despite these handy features, it lacks in other areas.

Most notably, it struggles with windy or office environments. The microphone can become distorted and can’t always isolate your voice perfectly. Connection robustness also suffers when using the AAC Bluetooth codec.

The WF-1000XM5 could improve upon its predecessor by having a more stable connection. Either way, if Sony wants to keep up with its competitors, it’ll want to bring its microphone quality up to scratch.

You can hear how the Sony WF-1000XM4 microphones perform in our audio samples below.

Sony WF-1000XM4 microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

Sony WF-1000XM4 microphone demo (Office conditions):

Bluetooth 5.3 connectivity

Airpods Pro Pairing

As briefly mentioned earlier, Apple and Samsung, two of Sony’s biggest rivals, already feature Bluetooth 5.3 connectivity in their latest earbuds. It promises better short-range wireless connections, lower latency, and improved anti-interference. The standard also attempts to consume as little power as possible — a feature always welcomed by smartphone users.

Can Sony capitalize on this newest tech? We’ll have to wait to find out.

An IPX5 or higher water-resistance rating

The Jabra Elite 7 Pro earbuds sitting on a bench with some water dropson the buds and the bench.

Zak Khan / Android Authority

Sony’s WF-1000XM4 boasts a water-resistance rating of IPX4. That’s pretty standard and should protect the buds from everyday splashes and sweat whilst working out.

There have been instances, though, where Sony’s charging cases have been damaged due to water. We’re not necessarily expecting the WF-1000XM5 to compete with Samsung’s Galaxy Buds 2 Pro’s impressive IPX7 rating. Still, it would be a good choice if Sony introduced an IPX5 rating, especially for its charging cases.

Bluetooth multipoint connectivity

A Google Pixel Watch rests on a desk along side a pair of Bluetooth headphones.

Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

In the fall of 2022, Sony announced that a firmware update would add multipoint connectivity to the WF-1000XM4 earbuds. However, it wasn’t until February 28, 2023, when Sony released firmware version 2.0.0 for the WF-1000XM4, that we finally received multipoint connectivity. With this enabled, listeners can connect to two Bluetooth devices simultaneously, keeping an ear on phone calls while sitting in on a Zoom meeting.

Having the ability to connect to more devices at once is an extremely useful tool and something that we hope the new WF-1000XM5 will incorporate out of the box. Fortunately, at least one leak points to this feature being available.


And that’s it, folks! That’s everything we want to see from the Sony WF-1000XM5 earbuds.

What do you want most from the Sony WF-1000XM5?

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Harmony Evans is an award-winning author of Harlequin Kimani Romance, African-American romance, and so on. Harmony Evans is an award-winning author for Harlequin Kimani Romance, the leading publisher of African-American romance. Her 2nd novel, STEALING KISSES, will be released in November 2013. Harmony is a single mom to a beautiful, too-smart-for-her-own-good daughter, who makes her grateful for life daily. Her hobbies include cooking, baking, knitting, reading, and of course, napping and also review some of the best-selling and popular brands and services in the market and also write comprehensive blogs.

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