Sony’s WH-1000XM4 has long been regarded as one of the best sets of wireless Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) headphones you could get. We said as much in our review. Well, images of its successor have leaked and all we can say is, it’s about time.
The XM4 was released in August of 2020. It has since enjoyed its spot in the top 5 of most reviewers’ lists. The XM5 will look to, at the very least, continue Sony’s streak and improve on what was already a great package. The leaks, courtesy of The Walkman Blog, are a little light on concrete info, but here’s what we’ve been able to discern from them.
A welcome facelift… for some
After the XM3 saw brilliant success, Sony went with the ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ approach which saw the XM4’s design mostly unchanged. We think Sony must be tired of that design now. And we can’t blame them, it’s almost five years old. The new design, however, might not be to the taste of some people. That could be because Sony has opted for a more minimalist design with the XM5. To some people, it might look a little too close to Apple’s Airpod Max. It’s also missing the hinge that lets them fold in for a more compact footprint. That means the case might be slightly bigger.
Some people will miss the ability to fold these away, but keep in mind that a hinge is another moving part and those can have a tendency to break. That being said, Sony has largely figured out how to do that hinge properly (it had nearly five years to perfect it). Its exclusion could be the deciding factor in upgrading for some.
Sony could raise the already high bar
The leak continues over on Reddit where one user posted pictures of what appears to be a retail unit of the XM5. If these pictures are to be believed, then the XM5 will feature a 30-hour battery lifespan. That, together with ANC, Sony’s 360 Reality Audio support, Google’s Assistant and Amazon Alexa support, and a Hi-Res Audio certification all make an appearance.
There are strong indications that we’ll, at the very least, hear about these from Sony. We may even be able to buy some before the end of the year. According to The Walkman Blog, FCC short term confidentiality for the XM5 ends in August this year, making a release or announcement around then likely. Although, that could be moved up if there are already retail units out in the wild.
Of course, there was no mention of pricing in these leaks. We’ll need to wait for Sony to come out and tell us. Don’t be surprised to see these asking for more than the XM4. That usually happens with shiny new things like this. The supply shortage will not help that either. We’re looking forward to this release and will be sure to let all and sundry know when they land.