Sony's New Noise-Canceling Headphones Are Worth the Splurge — Here's Why

Woman wearing the  Sony WH-1000XM5 Noise Canceling Headphones.
POPSUGAR Photography | Anvita Reddy
POPSUGAR Photography | Anvita Reddy
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Finding a quality pair of noise-canceling headphones that are truly noise canceling is a challenge. I've been on the hunt for a pair for quite some time now, especially because my tolerance for snoring and crying babies is dwindling. After hearing Blume's cofounder Taran Ghatrora rave about her Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Premium Noise Canceling Overhead Headphones, I was intrigued to try them out. "I feel like I can literally become one with my music with these headphones, like one with my Spotify library, because of its 360 sound," she told POPSUGAR.

Just as I was about to take the plunge, Sony released a new and upgraded version of her favorite headphones, and I just had to jump on the chance to test them out. The Sony WH-1000XM5 Noise Canceling Headphones ($398) are an upgraded version of their predecessor and feature better audio quality. Keep reading to find out why they'll fit any lifestyle.

What I Like About the Sony WH-1000XM5 Noise Canceling Headphones

The Sony WH-1000XM5 Noise Canceling Headphones on white surface.
POPSUGAR Photography | Anvita Reddy

For starters, the modern-minimalist design of the Sony WH-1000XM5 Noise Canceling Headphones is so stylish and sleek that I feel incredibly cool wearing them; it's definitely a makeover compared to their predecessor. The noise cancellation on these headphones is also truly one of the best on the market — there are times when I don't even need to play audio, and the headphones still block out the noise pollution of my environment. Whether it's grunting gym bros or crying babies on flights, sounds will be totally blocked out by these headphones.

But for the times you do need to pay attention, you can easily switch to ambient sound mode with the push of a button. As someone who's missed a subway stop because I was too immersed in a podcast I was listening to via these headphones, I recommend not writing off the ambient sound mode. The WH-1000XM5 headphones have unparalleled sound quality; whatever I'm listening to, whether it's a riveting podcast or a playlist filled with upbeat jams, I'm instantly engrossed. The bass, treble, and clarity are all perfectly balanced for an immersive experience.

Sony's WH-1000XM5 Headphones have plenty of other cool features designed to make your life easier. They have a multipoint connection, for example, allowing the wearer to switch between devices — I can easily listen to music on my laptop and take a call from my phone without taking off my headphones. Speaking of, you can also take calls hands-free, and with four microphones, you'll have crystal-clear audio on both ends. These headphones are also super smart, so as soon as you take them off or start talking, the audio will pause. They also have touch controls on the left side that let you play and pause by quickly double tapping; skip, rewind, and fast forward by swiping backward or forward; and increase or decrease volume by swiping up or down. You can even program the controls to work with your smart voice assistant of choice. The accompanying app lets you truly customize your experience as well.

POPSUGAR Photography | Anvita Reddy

These over-the-ear headphones have the most comfortable yet secure fit. The ear cups are cushioned with a soft-fit leather lining that feels like a pillow. I like that these headphones are over-the-ear and not on-ear; they certainly don't squish against my earrings. As someone with a small head shape, over-the-ear headphones usually don't even fit me. But the Sony WH-1000XM5s are adjustable and don't slip off my head. Plus, I can wear these lightweight headphones for long periods of time without my head feeling like it's getting compressed.

Woman adjusting and wearing the Sony WH-1000XM5 Noise Canceling Headphones while shaking her head.
POPSUGAR Photography | Anvita Reddy

What's Worth Noting About the Sony WH-1000XM5 Noise Canceling Headphones

Unlike their predecessor, the Sony WH-1000XM5 Noise Canceling Headphones have an Auto Noise Cancellation Optimizer, which automatically optimizes your noise-cancellation experience based on your environment. For example, if I'm sitting down and working, the headphones will automatically enable noise cancellation; if I'm walking down the street, the headphones will automatically enable ambient sound, so I'm aware of my surroundings. Although this is a really cool feature, it can get a little annoying when it switches up on you all of a sudden. One way to combat this is to spend time personalizing your experience on the app so your listening needs are met according to your lifestyle and daily routine.

In-app experience of the Sony Headphones app that comes with the Sony WH-1000XM5 Noise Canceling Headphones.
POPSUGAR Photography | Anvita Reddy

Who the Sony WH-1000XM5 Noise Canceling Headphones Are Best For

Whether you're commuting to work, traveling the world, hitting the gym, or just jamming out in your room, these headphones will deliver an immersive experience that works in conjunction with your lifestyle. You can integrate noise cancellation or ambient noise throughout the day and seamlessly switch between devices as well. If you're someone who's looking to invest in a pair of over-the-ear headphones that can seamlessly fit into your day-to-day routine and look good while doing so, these are the pair for you.

Are the Sony WH-1000XM5 Noise Canceling Headphones Worth the Splurge?

These Sony headphones are the upgraded version of one of the best noise-canceling headphones on the market, so if you've been vying for a quality pair, there's no better option. At nearly $400, the noise cancellation blocks out your surrounding environment in conjunction with delivering crystal-clear sound. The touch controls are user-friendly, and you can personalize your experience with the accompanying app. If you have the budget to invest in a pair of over-the-ear headphones, these are built to be a part of your life. Plus, they are undeniably comfortable, with an adjustable and secure fit. I use them almost every day, whether it's for silencing background noises while I work or getting in the zone while I work out.

Where Are the Sony WH-1000XM5 Noise Canceling Headphones Available?

The Sony WH-1000XM5 Noise Canceling Headphones are available on Amazon, Target ($400), Walmart ($398), and Best Buy ($400).

Additional Details

  • The Sony WH-1000XM5 Noise Canceling Headphones offer up to 30 hours of battery life. A three-minute charge gives you three hours of playback time.
  • Some of the highlight features include touch controls on either side of the headphone, adaptive sound control that controls volume and noise cancellation as it learns about your commute and routine, automatic pausing of music when it senses you're in conversation, ability to take hands-free calls with crystal-clear audio on both ends, and ability to connect to multiple devices and seamlessly switch between them.
  • They fit over the ears, and each side is adjustable, so you're able to get a secure fit by gliding either side up or down.
  • These noise-canceling headphones come in black and silver.
  • The headphones come with a carrying storage case, a USB to USB-C charging cable, and an AUX cord.
  • They are compatible with Android, Apple, Amazon Alexa, and Microsoft Windows.