Sony WF-1000MX5 review
This article contains affiliate links, we will receive a commission on any sales we generate from it. Learn more
We can’t recommend Sony’s WF-1000MX5s highly enough
What we love
- Stunning sound
- Long battery life
- Plenty of customisation via the app
- Comfy fit
- Solid ANC
What we don’t
- Charging case feels cheap
- Expensive compared to rivals
Sony is no slouch when it comes to premium audio products and its new WF-1000MX5s are, once again, hitting all the right notes. These wireless buds really are top of their game offering rich audio, impressive Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) and long 8-hour life between refills.
Sony’s feature-packed Headphone Connect app also offers oodles of sound customisation and there are plenty of other extras such as wireless charging and being able to link the buds to two devices at once. They are also supremely comfortable to wear and there are four changeable tips – including an ultra-small option – in the box to help users get the perfect fit.
The touch controls work well, you can access all the most popular smart assistants and there are sound-boosting extras such as upscaling and High Res audio.
We’ve been using the WF-1000MX5s for around a month and have very few gripes. In fact, our only real moans are the plasticky charging case and the fact the buds are so light they don’t feel all that premium. Other than that we’re totally smitten.
Having placed them side by side with a number of their rivals, there’s no question that they sound superior and if you have £259 in your bank account we can’t recommend them highly enough.
Sony WF-1000MX5: Full review
Wander into any high street technology store and you’ll be bombarded by endless shelves of wireless buds. Every manufacturer under the sun has now launched mini music makers and trying to work out which are best can be like finding a needle in a very giant haystack.
It’s no secret that Sony offers some of the best buds in the business and now they are back with the launch of their WF-1000MX5s. These promise epic audio, long battery life and a boost to the all-important Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) with the Japanese tech giant boasting that its MX5s offer “the best noise-cancelling performance on the market.”
The big question is, are they really worth your money and should you ditch your current buds and switch to Sony? Express.co.uk has been putting them through their paces and here’s our full Sony WF-1000MX5 review.
The Sony WF-1000MX5 come with improved tips for a better fit
Set-up, design and sound
Peel open the new eco-friendly packaging, prise the buds out of the box and you should have the music playing within a matter of seconds – especially if you use Android. The WF-1000MX5 are fully compatible with Fast Pair technology which lets you connect them to your phone with just one tap.
Even on iPhone, it’s pretty simple with a quick trip to the Bluetooth menu offering speedy pairing. There’s also the option to link them up to devices using Sony’s Headphone Connect app.
Once tethered there’s the ability to perform a fit test and get the optimal 360 Reality Audio experience by taking pictures of your ears which are then instantly analysed to make sure the buds produce the ideal sound. Sadly, this 360 system only then works with a limited number of apps such as Tidal which is a tiny bit annoying.
To improve the wearability, Sony has bundled more tips in the box this year so there are extra options to choose from to get the ideal seal. Another bonus of the new Noise Isolation Earbud Tips is their design features an exclusive material that not only enhances the fit but also increases comfort by reducing pressure in the ear thanks to a new shape.
We recently wore them on an 8-hour flight to Miami and had no issues whatsoever – in fact, we often forget we were even wearing them. Things are also helped by a lighter design (they are 25% smaller and approximately 20% lighter than their predecessor) which improves the comfort even further. Our only grumble is that airy design does make the buds feel a tad cheap in your hands.
Wireless earbuds are all about sound and Sony has nailed it again
Of course, earbuds are all about audio and Sony has nailed it again. The WF-1000MX5s sound truly incredible. No matter what your taste in music you’ll be treated to an experience that is rich and packed with detail.
Sony has beefed up the bass this year and it really adds to the experience with songs getting a boost without things feeling too overpowering. It’s produced by a specially designed Dynamic Driver X for wide-frequency reproduction – this tech also offers richer vocals and support for impressive High-Resolution Audio.
Another thing we love about these buds is the customisation via the app. There are a swathe of pre-sets available such as Excited, Mellow, Relaxed, Vocal and Bass Boost with each switching the sound to suit your taste.
You can even tinker with the virtual Equaliser yourself to produce a sound that’s custom-created for your ears. Having tested the WF-1000MX5s against a number of their premium rivals there really is no question that Sony is leading the pack with some pretty unbeatable audio.
Sony’s Headphone Connect app offers loads of customisation
Sony certainly isn’t mincing its words about its latest product with the Japanese technology giant boasting that its latest buds offer “the best noise-cancelling performance on the market.”.
That’s all thanks to three microphones on each earbud plus a new Integrated Processor V2, which all work together to block out background noise.
Things are boosted further thanks to the ability of the ANC to adapt depending on your environment. So, if you move from the quiet waiting room to a busy street the blocking constantly changes to stop your music being ruined by noise.
Sony’s WF range have always offered some seriously good ANC and the 1000MX5s continue that tradition. Plug them in and you really will find most background sound is blocked out leaving you to hear your tunes and nothing else.
For those times when you want to hear what’s going on around you an ambient setting can be activated which means you won’t miss your flight being called at the airport. There’s also Sony’s clever Speak-to-Chat function which stops the music and ANC so you can order your morning coffee without taking the buds out of your ears.
Sony’s ANC settings really good but we’re not totally convinced the WF-1000MX5s offer a better experience than their rivals. We’ll keep testing them in numerous locations and update this article if we change our minds.
Sony WF-1000XM5 review
Charging and battery
You’ll get around 8 hours of playback from a single refill (6 hours with ANC on) which is pretty impressive considering how small and light the buds are. Once they run out of power they simply snap back into their box for a boost. Sony’s charging case features a neat design and will easily fit in your pocket. However, it does feel a little flimsy and not all that premium which is a real shame and maybe something Sony needs to address in the future.
Things are redeemed slightly due to the ability to refill it wirelessly and the case will take the buds from flat to full in around 90 minutes. There’s also the option to add 60 minutes of playback from just three minutes inside the case.
Sony WF-1000MX5 review
You’ll find a swathe of bonus features on the WF-1000XM5 earbuds. They come equipped with head tracking technology which ensures a realistic and compelling listening experience by automatically adjusting sound fields to compensate for your head movement.
If you spend all day on calls to the office there’s good news as things are boosted thanks to better clarity and it really works. During our tests, those on the other end of the phone could hear us loud and clear even when we were walking through the bustling streets of London.
They also feature Sony’s popular upgrades like Adaptive Sound Control and Speak-to-Chat as well as Multipoint Connect which lets you pair two Bluetooth devices simultaneously.
They auto-pause when you take them out of your ears and offer support for High-Resolution Audio Wireless thanks to LDAC, as well as DSEE Extreme which upscales compressed digital music in real-time.
Simple touch controls (which can be fully customised in the app) also let you pause music, pump up the volume and switch off the ANC. Finally, there’s full access to the most popular voice assistants so you can summon Google or Alexa without reaching for your phone.
At £259 the WF-1000MX5s are clearly a big investment and there’s no hiding the fact that they are vastly more expensive than most of their rivals including the hugely popular AirPods Pro and Galaxy Buds. But sometimes you get what you pay for.
Despite the high price, we think they are excellent value for money considering just how good they are. The only thing to remember is that Black Friday isn’t that far away and there might be some price cuts coming so if you’re not desperate for an upgrade today it might be worth waiting to see if things come down in price.
The Sony WF-1000MX5s cost £259
Sony WF-1000MX5 review: Final verdict
Sony has done it again! The new WF-1000MX5s really are the buds to beat. They offer incredibly impressive sound, solid ANC, long battery life and a vast amount of options to customise the audio to suit your taste.
The new design makes them supremely comfy to wear, there are plenty of tips (supplied in the packaging) to fit all ear types and you get bonus extras such as Speak-to-Chat, wireless charging and dual pairing to devices.
At £259 they are pretty pricey and we wish the charging case felt a little more premium.
Other than that, the WF-1000MX5s are simply sublime and deserve all of the awards that will no doubt be coming Sony’s way later this year.