Sony WH-1000XM5

A new leak claims to have revealed the design and key specifications of Sony's noise-canceling headphones, which are expected to be released in 2022.

According to an unnamed retail source, the successor to the immensely popular WH-1000XM4 will feature a redesign and improvements to battery life. If the leak is correct, the WH-1000XM5 will get up to 40 hours of battery life, another 10 hours on top of the previous three models, putting it near the top of its class. The extra juice is not a bad tradeoff for the fact that the 1000XM5 will fully charge in 3.5 hours.

The 1000XM5 is said to be a more refined design than the 1000XM4, one that reminds me of the Bose 700. Thin arms connect to the earcups and are separate from the headband. The earcups seem to have more padding, which could make them one of the most comfortable headphones around. The new design looks modern, but I would have liked more color options.

Sony 1000XM5

The CUSTOM microphone has been moved and an NC/AMB button will replace it. I assume most people were using the CUSTOM button to switch between ANC and ambient modes, so this change is to clear up any confusion. The 1000XM5 headphones are said to have new drivers and two processors that can be used to manage noise cancellation.

One of the most significant releases of the year will be the WH-1000XM5 headphones. Buying noise-canceling headphones before 2016 used to be easy, with everyone purchasing the latest Bose QuietComfort model and enjoying their class-leading noise cancellation and great sound quality. Everything changed after Sony released the MDR-1000X. Bose had a challenger.

Since then, Sony has released one critically acclaimed and commercially successful pair of noise-canceling headphones after the next, and at some point even topped Bose. Sony finds itself in a difficult position of defending the throne against the likes of the Bose 700 and the Apple AirPods Max.

We won't have to wait much longer to see how these can stack up. We don't have a firm release date, but the FCC discovered the XM5 a few months back, suggesting an imminent release.