Sony WF-1000XM5 vs WF-1000XM4: Earbuds Quick Comparison 2024

Sony WF-1000XM5 VS WF-1000XM4

Sony WF-1000XM5 VS WF-1000XM4: Sony has been a leading name in the audio industry, with its WF series of wireless earbuds being particularly popular among audiophiles. The latest iterations, the Sony WF-1000XM5, have been the talk of the town for their impressive features and performance. Today, we are diving into the world of Sony’s top-tier earbuds, comparing the WF-1000XM4 released in 2021 with the newly launched WF-1000XM5.

The WF-1000XM4 has been a favorite, but with the release of the WF-1000XM5 in August 2023, the game has changed. This article will provide a detailed comparison between Sony WF-1000XM5 VS WF-1000XM4, based on the latest information and reviews.

Pros and Cons

Significantly reduced sizeExceptional, full-bodied sound
Premium cream and gold colorLow audio leakage at high volumes
Enhanced clarity in mid and high tonesGood noise cancellation
Comfortable foam tipsComfortable foam tips
Multi-device connectionGood battery life
Not a vast difference from XM4No multipoint connectivity
Default sound too bassyFit can be a bit fiddly


ReleasedJuly 24, 2023June 8, 2021
TypeIn-ear TWSIn-ear TWS
Weight5.9 g x 27.3g x 2
ChipsetQN2e chip
V2 processor
QN1e chip
V1 processor
Driver8.4 mm6 mm
Frequency Response20 Hz–40,000 Hz20 Hz–40,000 Hz
Qi wireless chargingYesYes
Cable length0.2m0.2m
Bluetooth codecsSBC, AAC, LDAC, LC3SBC, AAC, LDAC
Multipoint BluetoothYesYes

Key Differences

The charging box of WF-1000XM5 (left) is about 15% smaller
The charging box of WF-1000XM5 (left) is about 15% smaller than that of WF-1000X4 (right).

Sony designs the WF-1000XM5 earbuds in a smaller form factor, aiming for more comfort for users with small ears. This design marks an improvement from the larger WF-1000XM4 earbuds, which some users found uncomfortable.

Control Features: The WF-1000XM5 earbuds have volume controls on both earbuds, while the WF-1000XM4 restricted volume controls to one earbud.

Side Tone Option: WF-1000XM5 earbuds give users the option to turn off side tone so they don’t have to hear ambient sounds or their own voice during phone calls, which wasn’t present in WF-1000XM4.

Foam Tips with Mesh: The WF-1000XM5 foam tips now come with a mesh to prevent earwax and debris from entering the earbud nozzles, an upgrade from the WF-1000XM4.

Battery Endurance: The case of the WF-1000XM5, while being the smallest ever by Sony, maintains the same battery endurance as the WF-1000XM4 – up to 8 hours in the buds and 24 hours with the case with Active Noise Cancellation (ANC).

Upgraded Processor: The WF-1000XM5 has an upgraded Integrated Processor V2 and a new QN2E noise-canceling processor.

Users can activate the Spatial Audio with Head Tracking feature for content on YouTube and Netflix on devices running Android 13 and newer. The WF-1000XM4 did not offer this feature.

Microphone Layout and Driver: The WF-1000XM5 earbuds have six microphones instead of the four on the WF-1000XM4 and a new 8.4mm driver called the Dynamic Driver X.

Sound Quality: The WF-1000XM5 has a more emphasized upper mid-range region, resulting in crisper vocals. The WF-1000XM4 had more weighty and breathy vocals.

Noise Canceling Performance: The WF-1000XM5 cancels noise about as effectively as the WF-1000XM4 but performs slightly less effectively at canceling lower frequencies and a bit better at canceling the mid-range.

Call Quality: In terms of call quality in noisy environments, the WF-1000XM5 shows improvement over the WF-1000XM4. However, it wasn’t able to clean up the voice as well as some other models.

Hardware and Features

The WF-1000XM5 wireless earbuds by Sony boast the cutting-edge technology of the newly developed Integrated Processor V2. Sony has specially developed this innovative processor to work in tandem with the HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN2e. It takes noise cancellation to new heights and adapts to diverse environments seamlessly.

The WF-1000XM5 headphones, provided by Sony, include two microprocessors – one for audio and another for improved noise cancellation, which Sony has enhanced by 20%.

The headphones feature an improved driver, an 8.4-millimeter unit designed to enhance audio quality.

Sony makes the gesture interaction customizable and includes a unique feature that allows users to perform certain actions with head movements.

The headphones support a multitude of codecs, are compatible with all operating systems, and offer multipoint connection and fast pairing with Windows and Android.

One of the notable features of the Integrated Processor V2 is its ability to handle audio signals at a resolution of up to 24-bit. This high-resolution processing ensures that the audio signal retains a vast amount of detail and fidelity, resulting in a richer and more immersive listening experience.


The Sony WF-1000XM5 headphones are more compact, lighter, and smaller than their predecessor, the WF-1000XM4. Each earphone now weighs less than 6 grams.

While the XM4s offered commendable noise cancellation and sound quality for their 2021 launch, their size was a drawback, especially when compared to newer earbuds in 2022 and 2023. The XM5s, although not the tiniest in the market, have shrunk considerably while maintaining, or even enhancing, their features.

The WF-1000XM4 (right) earphones are made of matte texture, while the WF-1000XM5 maintains a matte front

The design of the WF-1000XM5 is glossy, with a matte area for gestures, creating a unique texture contrast.

The XM5s not only are smaller but they also sport a striking cream and gold color combination, offering a premium look. However, they’ve not been without controversy. Some users are divided over their glossy, reflective finish. Personally, I find them quite aesthetically pleasing, especially with the golden ventilation ducts that add a touch of luxury.

Both the XM4 and XM5 models come with foam ear tips, which although comfortable, can trap more earwax than silicone tips. While this might be a concern for some, replacements are easily available online.


Sony has improved the comfort of the headphones by adding an extra size of pads. Now, they offer four sizes of pads, made from foam or memory foam, which adapt to the shape of your ear.

The WF-1000XM5 (left) earphone is about 25% smaller than the previous generation

Sony makes the headphones with recycled material, enhancing their eco-friendly appeal.

Sony has addressed one of the major feedback points from the WF-1000XM4 by making significant improvements to the appearance in the WF-1000XM5. The WF-1000XM5 is now 25% smaller, ensuring a sleeker and more streamlined profile.

The WF-1000XM5 earbuds are significantly lighter and more compact than their predecessor, the WF-1000XM4. Sony has reduced the weight of each earbud from 7.3g to 5.9g, enhancing their comfort for extended use. Additionally, Sony has decreased the earbuds’ body volume by 25%, making them less protruding from the ear and more aesthetically pleasing.

The reduction in size not only enhances their aesthetics but also contributes to a better fit within the ears, reducing any potential discomfort that may have arisen from the bulkier WF-1000XM4.

The WF-1000XM5 earbuds also have a glossy finish, which provides a little more grip in the ear compared to the matte finish on the WF-1000XM4.

The exterior of the earphones has changed from the round body of the previous generation to a drop-like structure

Sony has also changed the shape of the earpieces to reduce pressure and added a mesh to the earpiece part, a subtle but appreciated improvement. Additionally, they have designed the microphone part of the earbuds without protrusions, which helps in reducing wind noise.


Both models’ touch controls can be customized through the Sony app, allowing users to control a variety of functions including volume control and ANC/transparency mode toggling.

Both the WF-1000XM5 and WF-1000XM4 headphones offer a similar user experience. They use touch surfaces for control and work well with the Headphones Connect app. However, the WF-1000XM5 offers more features. These include a personalized equalizer, support for Bluetooth LE Audio, and the LC3 codec, which greatly reduces latency.

Sony WF 1000XM5 VS WF 1000XM4 Earbuds Quick Comparison 2024 App

WF-1000XM5 controls:

left budright bud
ONE TAPANC/Ambient soundPlay/Pause
TWO TAPSQuick AccessNext
THREE TAPSQuick AccessPrevious
FOUR TAPSVolume DownVolume Up
TAP AND HOLDQuick AttentionVoice Assistant

When it comes to controls, the WF-1000XM5 is better. You can easily perform all essential actions like navigation, playback, and volume adjustment without having to sacrifice one command for another, unlike the WF-1000XM4. Also, the WF-1000XM4 announces each command with a voice, while the WF-1000XM5 uses simple, less noticeable jingles. Pairing is easier with the WF-1000XM4 as it doesn’t need to go back into its case to pair again.

WF-1000XM4 controls:

left budright bud
ONE TAPMute/ANC/Ambient soundPlay/Pause
TWO TAPSN/ATrack forward/answer call
THREE TAPSN/ATrack backward
TAP AND HOLDN/ASmart assistant

Enhanced Call Quality

The WF-1000XM5 earphones promise an enhanced call quality experience, taking advantage of advanced bone conduction sensors and cutting-edge AI-powered technology. The bone conduction sensors pick up the vibrations of your jawbone when you speak, ensuring that your voice is transmitted with exceptional clarity.

To further elevate the call quality, the WF-1000XM5 goes a step further by integrating a new noise reduction engine. This engine is powered by advanced AI learning machine learning, employing a deep neural network (DNN) to continuously improve its noise reduction capabilities over time.

Noise Cancellation

The noise cancellation feature of the WF-1000XM5 headphones is adaptive, adjusting to different environments, whether it’s a noisy flight or a quiet park.

There’s also a function to suppress noise, focusing on eliminating the hiss that can sometimes be annoying.

The headphones come with three microphones per earphone, improving the call quality significantly.

Both models boast of Sony’s world-leading noise cancellation technology. However, the WF-1000XM5 has taken it a step further with the integration of the V2 processor and the GN2 E noise cancellation processor. Each earbud has three microphones, which improves the noise cancellation performance by 20% compared to the WF-1000XM4.

The WF-1000XM5 also features a wind noise reduction structure, which was already quite effective in the WF-1000XM4. The new model promises to deliver even better results in this aspect.

Sound Quality

The sound quality of the WF-1000XM5 headphones is exceptional, with well-differentiated frequencies. The bass is strong and resounding, while the medium and high frequencies are balanced and rich in nuances.

The headphones are capable of improving the sound of a track with certain algorithms, making even a less-than-perfect track sound good.

The WF-1000XM5 introduces a new dynamic driver, the 8.4mm Dynamic Driver X, which is expected to deliver a more balanced and high-resolution sound compared to the 6mm driver in the WF-1000XM4. The new model also supports the LDAC LC3 codec, which is part of the next-generation Bluetooth audio standard, LE Audio.

Microphone Quality

Both models house a bone-conduction sensor that improves sound quality during calls. The WF-1000XM5 earbuds have six microphones with AI noise reduction, while the microphone quality of WF-1000XM4 is considered a point that could be improved.

Battery Life

The surfaces of the charging boxes of WF 1000XM5 left and WF 1000XM4 right are both simple in design without too much decoration except for the front battery status light

The XM4s offer up to eight hours of battery life on a single charge with ANC on. The new XM5s also provide up to eight hours on a single charge and 24 hours when combined with the charging case, matching the XM4s despite the smaller case.

The WF-1000XM5 has improved its quick charging feature, offering 60 minutes of playback with just 3 minutes of charging.

Additional Features

The WF-1000XM5 supports wireless charging and multi-point connectivity, which allows for seamless switching between devices. The WF-1000XM4, however, only supports connection to one device at a time and uses a master-slave connection setup.

Both models offer features such as auto-play, auto-pause, speak-to-chat, and come in eco-friendly packaging. However, the WF-1000XM5 also supports LE Audio for low latency gaming.


The foam tips in both models, while offering comfort and a secure fit, may not be as durable, and in previous models, have been known to split after several months of use.

WF-1000XM5 (left) not only improves the shape and material of the earplugs, but also adds a smaller size SS option.
WF-1000XM5 (left) not only improves the shape and material of the earplugs, but also adds a smaller size SS option.

The WF-1000XM4 only allows you to use one earbud while the other one is in the case due to its master-slave connection setup.


Price: The Sony WF-1000XM5 is priced at $299.99 while the Sony WF-1000XM4 costs $278

Conclusion: Sony WF-1000XM5 VS WF-1000XM4

The Sony WF-1000XM5 is a significant upgrade from the WF-1000XM4, with improvements in design, comfort, noise cancellation, sound quality, and additional features. However, the price point is quite high, making it a premium choice in the market. If you are looking for top-notch performance and don’t mind the price tag, the WF-1000XM5 could be the right choice for you.

Choosing between these two headphone pairs isn’t easy because they are very similar. Both provide excellent sound, incredible battery life, and a great user experience. However, the newer WF-1000XM5 models edge out slightly by offering a more universally comfortable fit and even better noise reduction. But this slight edge doesn’t mean the WF-1000XM4s are outdated. They are still excellent headphones and among the best available.