Sony has a loyal fanbase when it comes to its headphones, especially the flagship XM range. There’s good news for wireless earbud enthusiasts as it looks like the WF-1000XM5 aren’t far away from launching.
Each new release is highly anticipated so here’s everything we know so far about the WF-1000XM5 based on rumours, with our predictions and wishes added in.
When will the Sony WF-1000XM5 be released?
Sony has a history of launching new flagship headphones in the summer, with the earbuds getting a new model every two years (see below). Typically, it takes place in August but the most recent pair were launched a little earlier in June.
The August slot seems like a thing of the past now and we could be getting the XM5 any day now, according to The Walkman Blog. The site states the launch will take place somewhere between 5-9th June, however, this came via an anonymous comment that we now know was wrong.
The WF-1000XM5 have an FCC listing with a short term confidentiality end date of 22 August but the WH-1000XM5 had a date of 8 August 2022, and yet we saw them officially announced on 12 May.
XM4 – June 2021 XM3 – August 2019 XM2 – August 2017
The Walkman Blog
How much will the Sony WF-1000XM5 cost?
Sony tends to keep pricing pretty similar. However, the WF-1000XM4 did get a reasonable price hike compared to the WF-1000XM3 at £250/US$280 (up from £220/$230).
I don’t think Sony will push the price up this year, but it is possible considering factors like inflation. If that does happen, I wouldn’t expect a rise as big as the last one.
What are the Sony WF-1000XM5 specs and new features?
It’s taken a while, but we finally have some details on the WF-1000XM5 wireless earbuds thanks to leaked images and details via The Walkman Blog. The site has leaked previous devices including the XM4 earbuds.
Sadly we only have one image of the earbuds from one side and they have a shiny plastic design that may simply be due to them being a preproduction sample.
The Walkman Blog
The main takeaway here is that the earbuds are more compact than the WF-1000XM4. Well, “much more” according to the site and it looks like there’s no seam between the outer part and the main body, much like the LinkBuds S.
The inner side appears to be contoured rather than flat, presumably in an attempt to make the earbuds more comfortable and secure. That inner side will still have a proximity sensor to enable automatic playback.
There are limited other details to glean, apart from a tactile dot (purpose unknown), an outer-facing microphone and the fact that the WF-1000XM5 will once again have touch sensitive panels on the outside as you’d expect.
We can also assume that they come with existing features such as active noise cancelling (ANC), Ambient Sound Control, DSEE Extreme, 360 Reality Audio and more. The FFC listing confirms Bluetooth 5.3 and Bluetooth LE (low energy) and while we’re hoping the earbuds also get Qualcomm aptX Lossless, Sony might just stick with its LDAC codec.
Images of the circuitry show the possibility of the earbuds moving to a dual-driver setup similar to the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2. This is based on the fact there are two contacts available, though the additional one could well be for something else, especially if the more compact design means there isn’t space for two drivers.
The Walkman Blog
When it comes to the charging case, there some subtle design changes. Rumours of a square shape appear to be wrong, with Sony sticking to a more rounded pebble-like contour.
You have to be more eagle eyed to spot that there are now two metal charging contact points inside where the earbuds go and that the LED is now at the front.
Far more exciting is that the case is rated at 230mAh rather than 140mAh, so this indicates the case has a larger battery and should therefore be able to charge the earbuds up more times before running out (pending the size of the battery in the earbuds themselves). However, leaks (see below) suggest it will remain at a total of 24 hours.
A more recent leak from The Walkman Blog shows a comparison table supposedly from Amazon comparing the WF-1000XM5 to other Sony earbuds such as the LinkBuds S.
There’s not much to glean but it does indicate that the earbuds will be 1.4g lighter per bud than the XM4 and the case will be 2g lighter. It also looks like the shiny plastic that was thought to just be for a reference design has made its way to the final version, although the touch area remains matt.
This is also supported by renders via WinFuture, including a first look at the silver colourway, resulting in a two-tone finish. We can also see that the round gold part is a grille rather than the target style seen on the XM4.
The buds being lighter is a result of a smaller footprint which may well make them more comfortable for some users. However, it appears that battery life – at least overall – remains at 24 hours so there’s no improvement on the XM4. Quick charging is faster, though, with just three minutes in the case reportedly getting you one hour of playback.
In a new WinFuture post, the site has revealed some new details by way of a data sheet. Apparently, the earbuds will get new 8.4mm Dynamic Driver X drivers for ‘excellent audio quality’ and “richer vocals”. That’s a fair amount bigger than the 6mm drivers on the XM4 earbuds despite the 2023 design being smaller.
There are also two proprietary processors on board as well as dual feedback microphones. In total, each earbud has three mics for more precise ambient sound capture. Sony is combining Precise Voice Pickup technology with Bone Conduction sensors for better conversations and voice recognition.
Some other details that have been confirmed by the data sheet include an IPX4 water resistant rating, Bluetooth 5.3, Hi-Res Audio, DSEE Extreme, Multi-point connections and a 500mAh battery in the charging case. Once again, total battery life is quoted at 24 hours which is no different to the XM4.