We’re well into the life cycle of Sony’s brilliant WF-1000XM4 wireless earbuds, so it’s only natural that we turn our attention to a potential successor. The big question then is “will Sony release the WF-1000XM5?” Now there’s not a peep from the tech giant, but if Sony follows past mold and product patterns, for example moving from WH-1000XM4 to WH-1000XM5 in the case of the over-ear equivalent, we risk a guess that they’re in the pipeline and that we will be able to see them in real life sometime in 2023.
They’ve already cemented themselves as a leading pair of five-star wireless earbuds. Not only that, but they are also twice What Hi-Fi? Award winners and one of the easiest pairs of earbuds to recommend for their price. They are well built, sound great and offer some of the best noise cancellation in their class. That’s why the Sony’s are part of the team of wireless earbuds we’ve had in the office since they launched in 2021.
But even though they’re among the first on our team sheet, that doesn’t mean their position at the top of the pile isn’t in jeopardy. That’s especially the case now that rivals like the AirPods Pro 2 and the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II are hitting the market, both earning glowing five-star reviews themselves. We don’t think there’s ever been a time when there was so much excellent competition in this part of the market.
And after spending some time with newer rivals, testing their features and listening to the sound quality on offer, it got us thinking about what we’d like to see from a potential Sony WF-1000XM5. The XM4 are a great pair of headphones, but are there areas where there could be adjustments? We’ve included a few of our musings below, but feel free to add more in the comments below.
More sizes of earplugs
It goes without saying that everyone’s ears are different, so the fit of the earplugs is very personal. That’s why we’d like to see Sony offer more earbud options. The WF-1000XM4 came with small, medium and large versions of its polyurethane tips. Some of us are lucky enough that choosing large earbuds seems to get the job done in most cases, but we also realize that it’s not that simple for everyone. So we’d like to see Sony expand its offerings to extra-small and extra-large to cover an even wider range of people.
Another material for earplugs
Could Sony perhaps add a silicone ear tip that, ironically, Sony offered many moons ago? Some people find that silicone earplugs require less manipulation to get a better seal than memory foam earplugs. The WF-1000XM4 uses polyurethane, which is fine, but some rivals use arguably softer and more comfortable materials.
A great thing about the Sony’s is that they include an air tightness test to help you make sure you have the best possible fit. We would really like to think that this will make its way to their successors, so that all users can make the most of it.
A refined design
The more high-end wireless earbuds we’ve tried this year, including the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II and the AirPods Pro 2, the more we’ve become aware of how unobtrusive they look and feel. When using/wearing the Sony’s you are more aware that they are in your ears and you may feel more pressure from the earbuds. We’d like to see some design refinement to make them a little more ergonomic and feel a little more comfortable.
Multipoint Bluetooth out of the box
At the time of writing, we’re still waiting for Multipoint Bluetooth (the ability to connect to two Bluetooth sources at the same time) to be introduced in the Sony WF-1000XM4, although it’s promised to arrive before the end of winter (*looks at calendar anxiously*). We’re not entirely sure why there’s been such a long delay in rolling this out; after all, it’s been a feature of Sony’s premium over-ear ANC equivalent since 2020 and the launch of the WH-1000XM4. We’ll be very disappointed if this isn’t a next-gen feature right out of the box.
Support for Bluetooth 5.3
The Sony WF-1000XM4 supports Bluetooth version 5.2, which was fine when the headphones launched in 2021. The game has moved a bit further, though, and there’s now Bluetooth 5.3 to take advantage of. Why should you worry? It looks like there could be some power saving benefits to supporting the latest version, an increase in stability over long distances, and a reduction in interference that could hamper your wireless connection. Fingers crossed it makes it to the spec sheet!
A noise-cancelling boost
Following the launch of both of their latest premium noise-canceling earbuds, Bose and Apple are hot on Sony’s heels when it comes to ANC. Both the QuietComfort Earbuds II and the AirPods Pro 2 have really stepped up a gear than their predecessors in this area. Sony isn’t one to rest on its laurels though, so we’d expect them to make a few tweaks, whether it’s the ANC algorithm or the Integrated Processor V1, which powers the noise reduction, among other things.
My main problem with Sony’s WF-1000XM4 wireless earbuds is solved
Read our Sony WF-1000XM4 review
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