Sony WF-1000XM5 Review: Inching for Total Noise Cancellation

With every new generation of the 1000XM series true wireless ANC earbuds, Sony is inching towards creating a perfect earbuds for music lovers and noise haters to enjoy. When the first WF-1000X was announced in 2017, it was the most underwhelming model of the 1000X series (headphones, neckband). Then came WF-1000XM3 in 2019 (they skipped M2 to align the number with the headphone series), delivering competitive noise cancelling but the earbud design is arguably a turn-off. Fortunately, when WF-1000XM4 launched in 2021, the design went through a transformation to look more compact and conventional, in line with the competitors. This made the M4 the most desirable and easily the best true-wireless noise-killer earbuds that kills competition. Hats off to Sony who took over the ANC crown from long-time incumbent Bose in a short span of 5 years. It certainly helps when the previous models maintain price points below S$380.


With the retail price exceeding S$400, Sony’s WF-1000XM5 faces stiff competition with other strong challengers. Undoubtedly the ANC attenuation for the upper frequencies remain its forte, but other premium brands are no slouch, and based on real life usage, ANC is not everything. With music playing, the difference in high-frequency noise cancellation is not that critical. But I quite like the new drivers and its default tuning, which delivers detailed treble and balanced clarity across the frequencies without sounding too aggressive.

You can’t go wrong getting the Sony WF-1000XM5.