sony WH-1000XM4 Noise-cancelling headphones have been one of the best options since they debuted in 2020, but it seems that the company is preparing to launch the next generation. German tech news site TechnikNews has published some images and specifications of the successor, apparently named WH-1000XM5 (via gizmodo).
The first thing you might notice is a sleek new design, particularly a slimmer headband. The 1000XM3s Y 1000XM4s they were nearly identical, but Sony could change the way things look for the new 1000XM5s.
Instead of a covered arm that pivots, the arm is exposed, with a single point of contact replacing the XM4’s larger folding hinge above the earcups. That also changes the design of the headphones, but suggests that only slightly more of their space is available for the things that affect what you hear.
That arm looks slimmer than the previous design and could contribute to a lighter weight that hopefully won’t lose strength or durability. What gizmodo points out (via notebookcheck Y Walkman’s blog), filings to the FCC and other regulators describing a new model were reported in February. One key item revealed is that the FCC label has moved from the headband to under an ear cushion, which Walkman’s blog Speculated could mean that the band is now made of metal instead of plastic.
Images of the leaked models in their carrying case show a design that ditches the XM4’s collapsible fold that tucked one cup inside the other. Still, in these pictures, it seems doubtful that they’ll take up much more space on a desk, stand, or in your bag.
According TechnikNews retail source, the WH-1000XM5 will have an estimated battery life of up to 40 hours with active noise cancellation (ANC) turned on, 10 hours longer than the XM4, with a full charge time of 3.5 hours via USB-C, about 30 minutes longer than XM4. They also report that it will use two processors for ANC instead of one, and the sound will be produced by a new controller, although there are no details on what has changed. They still sport three microphones to pick up your voice and detect noise to cancel it out, but the position has changed.
The button previously labeled “Custom” is in the same place as before, but is now marked NC/Ambient, which probably reflects what most people use it for, rather than built-in voice assistants or anything else .
Last year’s model repeated its award-winning predecessor with “Talk to Chat,” which mutes the music if you hear it trying to talk to someone, and multipoint Bluetooth audio that stayed connected to more than one device at a time. The latter feature was much more useful, although it had some bugs at launch. Software updates helped make it work better, but any improvements to help the headset decide which device to connect to and when would be welcome.
There’s no word on price or release date, but the WH-1000XM4 was $349.99 at launch, and retailers like it. Best Buy Y Amazon keep that price today. The price of headphones has occasionally dropped during sales that edge deals it signals when they appear, and it’s not clear whether changes to a new model will move the bar in any direction.