Looks like Apple’s AirPods Max have some new competition.
Sony announced last week that it’s coming out with a new pair of premium wireless over-ear headphones featuring its “most remarkable noise canceling technology yet”: the WH-1000XM5 headphones. They’re the latest entry in its award-winning 1000X series, succeeding the excellent WH-1000XM4s (our favorite wireless headphones currently on the market), with a launch date set for Friday, May 20.
Preorders are live as of May 16: You can reserve a pair at Amazon, Best Buy, or directly from the Sony website for $399.99. (That’s $50 more than the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones and about $150 less than the AirPods Max, which have never gone on sale below $429.) Note that Amazon was offering a $2 discount at the time of writing.
Made from lightweight, soft fit leather, the WH-1000XM5s come equipped with touch controls, a revamped driver, Speak-to-Chat and Quick Attention modes that stop your music to let in ambient sound, and a new Auto NC Optimizer that automatically adjusts the amount of noise cancellation based on your surrounding environment. Their Multipoint Connection feature lets you quickly pair with different devices, while Sony’s Precise Voice Pickup Technology makes sure your voice is the only thing your Mom/friend/boss hears when you’re on a phone call. You can get up to 30 hours of battery life out of them, though a mere three minutes of charging offers up to three hours of playback in a crunch.
As for those AirPods Max comparisons, early reviews say the Sony WH-1000XM5s offer better noise cancellation and a longer battery life at a much more reasonable price point than their Apple rivals. That being said, the AirPods Max remain a strong contender for iOS users — they’re just so easy to pair with other Apple gear, and their Spatial Audio feature offers unrivaled sound quality. Your mileage may very when it comes to comfort.