Sony’s range of headphones has always impressed the audiophiles to a greater extent. The newer scope of premium headphones being launched by the brand from time to time has become something that the fans of the brand keep looking ahead to.
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With the launch of the Sony WH-1000XM5, the comparison of the new headphone with the earlier versions has become all, the more essential.
From that perspective, we thought of undertaking a comparison between WH-1000XM5, WH-1000XM4, and WH-1000XM3 in this post. That would perhaps help you make a wise decision about which one you want to go with.
Based on a few basic and prime parameters, we will compare the three competing premium noise-canceling headphones in a head-to-head review.
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Aluminum coated LCP DIAPHRAGM
101dB / mW (1kHz)
48 ohm(1kHz) – On
The new Sony WH-1000XM5 has a slightly renovated design, but it continues to follow Sony’s design language. So you can expect familiarity and a sort of belongingness with the brand. The chassis of the headphones is made of carbon fiber. That would provide you with excellent lightweight construction and feel.
The headband is made of new synthetic leather. The earcups come with a consistent oval shape. You would find the Sony WH 1000XM4 to be around 1 gram heavier in terms of weight. The cases are a bit different. The 1000XM5 offers a better option to position the headphones in the case, while the 1000XM4 needs you to adjust slightly.
Coming to the 1000XM3, you would find that the earcups on 1000XM4 have cups with around 10% greater surface area. This can be a little more comfortable than the experience on the 1000XM3.
Even the construction of ear cups on 1000MX3 feels a little plasticky when you look at the soft-touch rubber finish on the 1000MX4. You will find the 1000MX4 offering you a better experience when it comes to the fit.
In essence, while all three headphones have been clear leaders in their time, as of now, you would want to choose between the 1000MX5 rather than 1000MX4 or MX3.
In terms of connectivity, you would find all three models offering you a decent degree of performance. The MX4 and MX5 headphones benefit from Bluetooth 5.0, while the MX3 comes with only Bluetooth 4.2. However, that should be a little minor difference.
The multipoint technology is yet another feature that works on MX4 and MX5. This feature lets you connect to multiple devices simultaneously. NFC connectivity is available on all three models.
The WH-1000XM4 headphones were known for an enhanced experience in terms of the best audio performance. The audiophiles believed that this was the best that they could get. However, Sony has upped its performance with the new 1000MX5.
Having said that, it may be noticed that the 1000MX3 too has been quite close to the 1000MX4 in terms of the best audio quality. The fine-tuned hearing offered on both 1000MX3 and 1000MX4 has been quite innovative.
The same hardware that both the headphones use makes them provide the same degree of dynamic sound efficiency. Both have the 40mm dome-type drivers and QN1 chip powering them.
The headphones can offer a wider soundstage coupled with excellent depth and detail. In terms of bass levels, you would find them slightly elevated on the 1000MX4.
On the other hand, the 1000MX5 comes with an all-new 30-millimeter driver. This is coupled with an Integrated Processor V1 and other upgrades, which gives you an excellently enhanced high-resolution audio performance.
The LDAC and DSEE Extreme restoration features would be another great option that you would find all the more powerful.
The 1000MX5 wins here, not to say the 1000MX4 is any bad.
The noise cancellation on the Sony WH 1000MX3 and MX4 was almost equivalent. There was no way you could differentiate between the two. They have been equally capable of minimizing the ambient noise.
The power of Sony’s Dual Noise Sensor technology and HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1 on these headphones makes them the clear leaders in the realm of the best possible noise cancellation. They offer you a better degree of distortion-free music.
The official app can adjust the sound levels by 20 levels. The ambient sound mode, too, is quite impressive in handling an effective noise cancellation.
The MX5 improves the noise cancellation feature further ahead. It now has two processors controlling eight microphones. The new Automatic Personal NC Optimizer is another addition that further enhances the noise cancellation capability.
The noise cancellation is now tuned automatically based on the external ambient conditions. The tap controls on the earcups would make them all the easier to handle without needing an app.
The Google Assistant compatibility has remained consistent across all three headphones, making them equally capable of answering your commands.
The headphones’ battery life has been one of the most vital points in favor of the Sony range of headphones. Both 1000MX3 and MX4 offer you a backup of 30 hours with ANC on a full charge. Ideally, you should get 28.5 hours when using loud volume, listening modes, heavy streaming, and video calls.
You should get around 38 hours of battery backup if you turn off ANC. As for charging the headphones, they use different options – micro-USB (WH-1000XM3) vs. Type-C (WH-1000XM4). It would take approximately 3 hours to charge them.
The 1000MX5 offers you 40 hours of battery backup. This is without the ANC, and you should get around 32 hours of backup with the ANC on. You can consider a backup of approximately 30 hours for all practical purposes.
However, the charging performance has been much more impressive. You would get 3 hours of playback on a mere 3 minutes of charging. A 10-minute charging can assure you a battery backup of 5 hours. That should be one of the excellent fast charging capabilities.
Industry-Leading Noise Canceling
Premium Noise Cancellation
Digital Noise Cancellation
30 Hrs, 3 Min charge for 3 Hrs playback
30 Hrs, 10 Min charge for 5 Hrs playback
30 Hrs, 10 Min charge for 4.5 Hrs playback
Yes, with 4 microphones
Auto Noise Cancelling Optimizer, Carrying Case, Wearing detection, Touch Control.
Foldable design, Carrying Case, Wearing detection, Touch Control
Foldable design, Carrying Case, Touch Control
You would ideally find the 1000MX5 offering you the same features as the MX4. Some of the features you would find quite familiar among the two would include Ambient sound controls, 360 Reality Audio and ANC optimization, speak-to-chat functionality, and custom EQ and EQ presets.
Both the headphones come with automatic ear detection. This can be a great feature to enable you to turn off the music when you remove the headphones from your ears and turns them back on as soon as you put them back on.
One of the vast improvements has been in the noise cancellation capabilities. While the noise cancellation is already extraordinary on the MX4, it has been further amplified on the MX5.
While the MX4 does show outstanding performance in the 20-100Hz frequency range, the MX5 takes it ahead by providing a more significant attenuation at 75Hz.
The redesigned earpads and headband provide better isolation.
The Sony WH 1000MX4 can handle everything that the MX3 can do but has a few extra hardware tricks added to it, making it all the more powerful and unique in more ways than one.
To begin with, both of them come with touch controls on the right earcup that let you pause, play, adjust volume, skip, and backtrack. However, the controls tend to be a little challenging to handle.
They are much more sensitive on the MX3, but Sony went an extra step to correct this, making them a little unresponsive at times on the MX4.
The speak-to-chat function on the 1000MX4 is an added benefit when you compare it to the MX3.
We have had absolutely no complaints about any of the Sony headphones. However, something called the generation gap makes them stand apart when it comes to their capabilities. The 1000MX3 is now gone quite outdated, at least when you look at the options such as MX4 and MX5.
The Sony WH 1000MX5 provides a few features that can be considered worthy enough as an upgrade over the 1000MX4.
The improvements were made to the sound and active noise cancellation, and they should ideally make it a better option than the MX4. The premium touch and a modernized design can be a few other features that you would find all the more exciting and unique.
You may find the Sony WH 1000MX5 a little expensive if you are on a budget. Since the MX4 headphones are offered at a discount, they may be a good choice for most of your ideal needs.
Or better still, if you already have a good pair of headphones, we recommend you wait a while till the price drops for the 1000MX5. If the past incidents are any indication, you can expect a price drop on the 1000MX5 very soon.