The rumor mill has been churning out a steady stream of information regarding Sony's hotly anticipated Sony WH-1000XM5 for a while now, but it seems to have kicked up a gear – as sure sign as any that the flagship earphones aren't far from launch.
What's the new scoop? The Walkman Blog went live with an image said to show the new Sony earbuds, alongside a spec-sheet pitting it against its current siblings, including the newly released (and excellent) Sony WF-C700N and of course the Sony WF-1000XM4.
The author of the post, Ascariss, claims that "an anonymous user" commented to state that the announcement for the new WF-1000XM5 is coming between June 5 to 9, meaning we could be hearing something official from Sony any minute now. Personally, I think that's a little premature, but you never know…
The comparison list below is allegedly from Amazon, and Ascariss claims they had to enlarge the sheet to see any image of the buds (and we thank them for their hard work). There's no image of the case on this document – although that did appear in a previous leak.
Opinion: smaller earpieces is an easy win for Sony flagship earbuds – but the battery life could be an issue
So what does this leak tell us? Obviously, it's unverified information and as such it should be taken with a heavy pinch of your preferred seasoning, but if these specs prove true, the WF-1000XM5 will be 5.9g per earbud and 39g for the case. This would make the WF-1000XM5 case 2g lighter than the XM4's – and most importantly, each earbud 1.4g lighter, which ties in with a previous leak about their diminutive size (although it should be noted that this also came from The Walkman Blog).
Apart from this, the table confirms multipoint support, "hi-res audio wireless", wearer detection, noise cancelling, touch controls and Sony's PreciseVoice Pickup tech carried over from the XM4, which uses beamforming microphones and a bone-conduction sensor to allow the WF-1000XM4 mic to pick up your voice clearly and accurately. The tech is also found in the smaller and cheaper Sony LinkBuds S, but not the very budget friendly WF-C700N.
What the spec sheet doesn't mention is the Bluetooth version (previously thought to be the newest Bluetooth 5.3, to better the WF-1000XM4's Bluetooth 5.2 chipset), codec support, driver size or any IP rating for water ingress.
And the claimed battery life of 24 hours is only equal to, rather than better than, the older XM4. The June 2021 Sony XM4 flagship 'buds can last for eight hours per charge, with a further 16 hours in the case. While we don't know the stamina per charge for the new WF-1000XM5, if the proposition cannot better buds two years older it might be a sticking point for potential buyers. That said, the quick-charge claim is a three-minute jolt of juice for an hour of playtime, which betters the XM4s – by two whole minutes.
And there's another potential negative. If you look closely at that image, it seems as if the shiny plastic (a bone of contention among Sony's matte-plastic fans and largely put down to the notion that we were seeing a prototype, rather than the real thing) might actually here to stay for the final design. The touch sensor area does look matte though.
Finally (and as noted by The Walkman Blog), the new WF-1000XM5 look to be using the same, or very similar, ear tips as the WF-1000XM4 – which could be helpful if you've still got plenty of wear left in your current tips.
Will they be some of the best noise cancelling earbuds to grace our testing process? Might they even make our top three ANC earbuds for 2023 roundup? Time will tell. When we know any more, so shall you…
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Becky is a senior staff writer at TechRadar (which she has been assured refers to expertise rather than age) focusing on all things audio. Before joining the team, she spent three years at What Hi-Fi? testing and reviewing everything from wallet-friendly wireless earbuds to huge high-end sound systems. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, Becky freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 22-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance starts with a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo and The Stage. When not writing, she can still be found throwing shapes in a dance studio, these days with varying degrees of success.