Sony WH-1000XM3 vs WH-1000XM4 vs WH-1000XM5: Wireless Headphones Comparision

Sony WH 1000XM3 vs WH 1000XM4 vs WH 1000XM5

It’s no secret that Sony makes some of the best noise-cancelling headphones on the market. In this article, we’ll be comparing the three most recent models in the popular WH-1000X series – the WH-1000XM5, WH-1000XM4, and WH-1000XM3. We’ll see how they stack up in terms of features, performance, and value for money.

The models are called WH-1000XM3, WH-1000XM4, and WH-1000XM5. However, in the article, I will refer to them as XM3, XM4 and XM5.

Compared to the XM4, the ANC and the microphone quality have improved significantly! When making calls, the environment is filtered out very well. Little is new in terms of functions (quick access), but some have also been omitted. The ANC now works fully automatically, and there is no longer an “optimization function/wind optimization” in the app.

The XM3 is the entry-level model. It has a plastic body and a simple design. The sound quality is good for the price, but it doesn’t have features like noise cancellation or wireless connectivity.

The XM4 is the mid-range model. It has a metal body and a more premium design. The sound quality is excellent and has features like noise cancellation and wireless connectivity.

The XM5 is the top-of-the-line model. It has a metal body and a premium design. The sound quality is outstanding and has features like noise cancellation, wireless connectivity, and Hi-Res Audio support.

So, which one should you buy? If you’re on a budget, the XM3 is an excellent option. If you’re willing to spend more, the XM4 or XM5 would be better choices.

Design and Features

Sony WH 1000XM3 vs WH 1000XM4 vs WH 1000XM5

I like the old design better. The XM5 is a premium model, and I would have liked it if the headband, adjustment mechanism and hinges were visibly metal. Of course, the headphones will be heavier and more stable and durable. The headband of the new XM5 is significantly narrower and rounder than its predecessors. With the XM3/XM4, it was still flat and was therefore wider.

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Design and features

The XM5 is no longer foldable! The XM3 and XM4 are foldable.


Ear cups rotatable by 90 degree

In all three models, the ear cups can be rotated by 90°.

Buttons & Ports

  • The XM3 has an “NC/Ambient” button: Can be assigned via the app.
  • The XM4 has the same button but labelled “CUSTOM“: It can be customized via the app.
  • The XM5 has an “NC/AMB” button again: We assign the Quick Access function for double/triple taps to this and can also use it to switch the ANC on/off or activate the transparency mode.

Ear Pads/Ear Pad Material

The XM5 uses a new smooth rubber-like material. With the XM3 and XM4, we have typical artificial leather. I found all three materials pleasant and comfortable. The inner dimensions of the auricle have remained the same for all three, 6 cm high and 4 cm wide in the middle.

In its predecessors, the temple was visibly reinforced with metal on the inside. The XM3/XM4 transport tray looks smaller as these two could be folded. The shell of the XM5 is slightly larger and has a new fabric design. Looks classier but also gets dirty faster and is not as easy to clean as the old bowls.

Noise cancellation

The most important difference is the efficiency of the noise cancellation. There is a massive difference between the XM3 and the XM5. I always use the ANC of the Bose QC 25 as a reference for my ANC evaluation, and it is about on par with the Bose QC 35 II.

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ANC rating – XM3, XM4 and XM5

  • XM3: Is about as good as the QC 25.
  • MX4: Significantly better than the QC 25. Feels like 90%.
  • XM5: The XM5 manages to halve the already reduced noise of the QC 25. Perceived reduction 90%.

Propeller plane

  • XM3: Reduces rotor wobble a little more than a QC 25.
  • XM4: Reduces lows even more than the QC 25. Feels like 80% reduction.
  • XM5: Feels like 90% reduced. Half as loud as the already reduced noise of the QC 25.


  • XM3: Reduces a lot better than the QC 25. Feels like 70%.
  • XM4: Significantly better than the QC 25. Feels like 70%.
  • XM5: Perceived reduction of 80%.

The XM5 generally has the best noise reduction I’ve seen so far, but it’s also the most expensive ANC top-of-the-line model! Also remember that most of you will be listening to music. With an XM4, with ANC and music, I don’t hear anything from the environment anyway, regardless of whether the XM5 is even better!

IPX Rating

None of the three Sony headphones is waterproof/waterproof (see instructions). Headphones don’t have to be waterproof, and there are hardly any waterproof models. Waterproof would be IPx7. It would have been nice if it was sweat resistant, though. According to the XM5 instructions, it is explicitly not!

  • According to the instructions, the XM5 must not come into contact with water or sweat. This is explicitly mentioned.
  • The XM4 says it’s not waterproof.
  • For the XM3, there is no mention of water in the manual.

The proximity sensor enables automatic pause and resumes when headphones are put on and taken off.

360 Degree Reality Sound / Virtual Surround

The XM3 had a virtual surround function, and 360° Reality Sound was added via update. With the XM4 and the XM5, there is only the Reality Setup 360°; to use it, you have to subscribe to a convenient service. He then offers unique 360° shots.

App Comparision

App comparision


The Sony WH-1000XM3, WH-1000XM4, and WH-1000XM5 are all great noise-cancelling headphones. They all have unique features that make them stand out from each other. The WH-1000XM3 has excellent sound quality, the WH-1000XM4 has better battery life, and the WH-1000XM5 has the best noise cancellation.


What is the difference between Sony WH-1000XM4 and Sony WH-1000XM3?

The WH-1000XM4 is the newer model of the two and it has improved noise cancelling. The WH-1000XM3 has a better battery life, but both are great headphones.

What is better than WH-1000XM4?

You might think that you need a plethora of options on top of the WH-1000XM4, but you don’t. There is no other headset that rates higher in the QC 35’s comfort, sound quality, noise cancellation, and sound isolation.

Is Sony WH-1000XM4 good for studio?

Sony WH-1000XM4 is good for studio because it has an over-ear design and Adaptive Noise Cancelling technology that ensures that you won’t be distracted by any outside noise.

Does Sony WH-1000XM4 have a microphone?

Yes, the WH-1000XM4 have a microphone. It features two microphones for noise cancellation and clearer call quality, as well as a three button remote on the cord.