If you’ve made your latest pair of wireless headphones, the Sony WH-1000XM5, congratulations – you now own the best value pair in the world. As you have probably already experienced, these current What Hi-Fi? Award winners offer an industry-leading combination of sound performance, features and comfort.
But as wireless headphones can do more and more these days, with many pairs offering multiple connectivity features, different active noise canceling modes and accompanying apps, it can be difficult to know if you’re getting the most out of everything they have to offer. Below we’ve listed some tips and answered frequently asked questions to help you get to know your Sony XM5 a little better…
Set up the Sony WH-1000XM5 app
To get the most out of the WH-1000XM5, you need the Connect Sony headphones (opens in new tab) companion app on you iOS (opens in new tab) or Android (opens in new tab) device.
The app is a gateway to all sorts of functions. For example, it allows you to see the battery life of the headphones without taking them off; manually select noise reduction and ambient-aware modes; adjust sound equalizer; and enable or disable features like Speak-to-Chat (which automatically pauses music and enters aware mode when you start talking) and multipoint connection (which lets you connect and manage two devices at the same time). You can also set up a personalized experience for listening to 360 Reality Audio music, track how you use your XM5 in an activity log, and tailor the touch controls on the cup to specific actions.
The app also installs firmware updates and there is also a Help section for any issues.
Are Sony WH-1000XM5 Sweatproof / Waterproof?
No Unfortunately not. The XM5 are neither waterproof nor sweat resistant. According to the user manual, “if water or foreign matter enters the headset, it may cause burnout or malfunction”. That means you should be wary of wearing them in the rain or while running or exercising, where moisture or sweat can seep into the inside.
It’s a blemish on an otherwise impressive spec sheet, although not many over-ear headphones tend to offer much in the way of waterproofing.
Are Sony WH-1000XM5 good for gaming? Do they work with the PS5?
Many premium gaming headsets today offer some form of surround sound in an effort to make your gaming experience more immersive. These rarely work well, though, so it’s worth prioritizing good, old-fashioned stereo sound quality and considering any surround sound processing (which the Sonys don’t have) as a potential bonus.
Sonically, the Sony XM5 is certainly capable of gaming. However, there are a few logistical issues to consider with connectivity. Despite the PS4 and PS5 being Sony consoles, they don’t native support the Sony XM5 – unlike dedicated Sony gaming headset models like the (very good) PlayStation Pulse 3D Wireless Headset and newer Sony InZone headsets. That doesn’t mean the XM5 can’t be used; you just need to buy a Bluetooth adapter/transmitter and connect it to the console’s USB port. It’s this adapter that lets the headphones connect wirelessly via Bluetooth, rather than the console itself, so you just need to make sure it’s selected as the ‘audio output’ in the PlayStation’s ‘sound’ settings. The headset microphone does not work when plugged in, although the PlayStation controller has a built-in microphone that works fine.
If you find there’s a lag issue over a wireless connection, you can always connect the XM5 to the console by plugging them into the 3.5mm jack on the bottom of the DualSense controller.
Can Sony WH-1000XM5 be wired?
Yes, the Sony XM5 can be wired for occasions when you need to get on a plane, run out of battery or just prefer a wired experience. While some wireless ANC headphones need battery life to facilitate even wired playback, the Sony’s don’t, meaning you’ll never be completely let down if their 30/40 hours of battery life expires before you can charge them.
If you have any battery life left in your Sony XM5, they can also be used wired with active noise canceling turned on.
Connect Sony WH-1000XM5 to a Mac and other devices
For wired listening, you can plug the Sony XM5 directly into the 3.5mm headphone jack of a Mac, laptop, computer or any other device with that headphone output via the 3.5mm audio cable that comes in the XM5’s box.
To listen wirelessly via Bluetooth, to pair your Mac* and Sony XM5, open the ‘Bluetooth File Exchange’ application on your Mac and wait for the XM5 to appear in the list of available devices. For this to happen, the XM5 must be charged, within three feet of the Mac, and in pairing mode, which can be achieved by holding down the power button (right ear cup) for 5 seconds until the indicator light flashes blue and a voice in the XM5 says ‘pairing’.
Once paired between the XM5 and the device, they will connect automatically when the XM5 is turned on and within range.
*For other devices, open the Bluetooth settings and follow the subsequent pairing steps.
Can the Sony WH-1000XM5 connect to multiple devices?
Yes, Sony’s multipoint connection feature allows you to connect the XM5 to two devices at the same time. It can be very useful if you listen to audio from your laptop, for example, but need to be connected to your phone so you don’t miss any calls. When a call comes in, you can seamlessly switch to your phone without worrying about unplugging your laptop, repairing your phone… and inevitably missing your call!
Having this capability can be a godsend and it works seamlessly enough, once you’ve enabled the feature in the Sony Headphones app. Note, however, that you cannot use this feature and stream music wirelessly using LDAC at the same time; you have to choose one or the other.
Are the Sony WH-1000XM5 worth it?
In short, yes – the Sony XM5 is worth it. Despite their rather high asking price compared to Bose and Sennheiser rivals and older Sony models, we think these are the best value wireless headphones on the market, as evidenced by their 2022 What Hi-Fi? Best Buy and Product of the Year Awards.
They set the benchmark for sound quality until you reach the heady heights of your AirPods Max, Bowers & Wilkins Px8 and Focal Bathys, boast a decent spread of connectivity and usability features that make them a dream to own, and don’t leave build and comfort behind they also fall. A solid all-round package, which you can read more about in our extensive Sony WH-1000XM5 review.
Where to buy the Sony WH-1000XM5
Most if not all consumer electronics stores (physical and online) should stock the Sony XM5, such as Amazon worldwide, John Lewis, Currys and Argos in the UK, Best Buy, Walmart and Crutchfield in the US, and The Good Guys, JB Hi-Fi and Dick Smith in Australia. Sony also sells them directly in each of those countries through its web store.
Sony’s WH-1000XM models have been some of the most popular over-ear headphones for years, so they’re well stocked and don’t tend to have stock issues. You can see the best XM5 prices currently available online…
Sony WH-1000XM5 vs XM4?
While the WH-1000XM5 are Sony’s latest and greatest premium wireless noise canceling headphones, the older WH-1000XM4 are still very much on sale – and due to their age at a more affordable price. For those unable to stretch their budget to the XM5, we believe the XM4 is the next best option in the wireless headphone market. They actually offer many of the features of the XM5 and are still hugely competitive alongside newer rivals from Bose and Sennheiser.
But what exactly would you miss? We’ve painstakingly compared the two Sony models in terms of specification, design and sound quality, so you can decide which pair is right for you, the Sony WH-1000XM5 or WH-1000XM4.
Read our full Sony WH-1000XM5 review
Our expert selection of the best bluetooth headphones you can buy
How to choose the right headphones for you
How does the Sony WH-1000XM5 compare? Sony XM5 vs Apple AirPods Max or Sony XM5 vs Bose 700 or Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless vs Sony XM5