Sony XM4 vs XM5 – Which One is Better?

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Sony, the Japanese company, has always been a leading brand in terms of audio gadgets and has successfully incorporated their innovative technology in their gadgets to offer enhanced audio experience for their consumers. Interestingly, Sony headphones are still in very much demand among music and gaming enthusiasts.

Among all the Sony headphones, the WH-1000XM5 and the WH-1000XM4 are the most powerful. These two headphones have advanced and great features, including excellent noise cancellation and great audio quality. If you are asking for recommendations before buying Sony headphones, you will definitely get recommended these two models. So, which one is the best? Let’s find out from here.

What is Sony XM4?

Features of Sony XM4

  • Comes with an integrated processor developed by Sony for better and intuitive noise cancellation and better fit while you are using the headphones
  • Supports high-resolution audio wirelessly with its 6mm drivers that offer dynamic sound effects and rich bass effects; it also uses DSEE and LDAC codecs for better sound quality
  • Has an intelligent bone conduction sensor that allows you to transmit your voice clearly during the call and offers you a hand-free calling experience in any situation with Active noise cancellation
  • Comes with soft ear padding and a round design to fit into your ear and collapses easily when you do not need it
  • Ergonomic surface design that fits into your ear irrespective of your headphone and ear size
  • Supports speak-to-charm auto-pause mics, smart assistants and voice pickup technology
  • Comes with Bluetooth 5.0 and supports the connection of up to two devices through the app
  • It is available in three colors- black, silver and blue

What is the Sony XM5?

Features of Sony XM5

  • Closed dynamic headphones with single-sided detachable cord with 30mm driver
  • Best ever Sony noise cancellation with eight microphones and auto NC optimizer that detects your wearing conditions and surroundings for intuitive NC. It also features AI intuitive Noise reduction algorithm
  • Integrated V1 processor for wonderful sound with smooth and rich bass effect even during high cords
  • 40-hour maximum battery time with 30 hours of music playtime if the ANC is ON
  • Faster charging, only three minutes of charging for three hours of playtime
  • Ergonomic, comfortable design with oval-shaped earphones and soft fit synthetic leather
  • Intuitive touch control with active pause-play, track skipping, control volume, voice assistant support, and one-touch phone calls.
  • Bluetooth 5.2 with 10 m range and frequency of 2.4 GHz
  • Weight: 250 g
  • Available in colors white, black, blue, and midnight blue

Sony XM4 vs XM5: Key Differences

1. Design, Build, Fit and Comfort

The XM4 has a thicker and wider headband that comes with speed sliders, and when not in use, you can fold it into a spherical shape. Now, if you check out the new SM5, it is slimmer than the previous model. The headband is thinner and comes with stepless sliders. You can fold it flat.

Besides that, the XM4 has authentic leather padding, while the XM5 has synthetic leather-like padding. On the other hand, the XM4 has under cups with a grip in the middle, while the XM5 has oval-shaped ear cups that are attached to the top.

If you check it, you will probably find the XM5 lighter than XM4. Some people, especially those who have a shorter head or ear size, may feel more comfortable with the XM5. But, it folds flat, which can be a hassle for those who want to carry the headphones while traveling. If you check the build quality, both XM4 and XM fare the same. Both of these models are durable and will last for a long time.

So, in the case of design, build, fit, and comfort, the two models are quite similar.

2. Controls and Features

If you check the controls of these two headphones, you will find that both have easy, ergonomic, and intuitive controls. Both devices remember the previously connected devices and offer immediate reconnecting facilities with these saved devices.

Feature-wise, both may look the same at first glance, but the XM5 has a bit more advanced features than the XM4. Both of these headphones come with ANC, Spatial audio, ambient modes, custom user slots, etc and support the Sony Connect App.

While both of these feature ANC, the XM5 offers a bit better ANC as it comes with an intelligent eight-array mic arrangement that offers better noise cancellation. On top of that, XM5 has a clearer and better bass effect with high-pitch sound clarity, better spatial sound imaging, etc. On top of that, if you check out the call quality, the XM5 fares a bit better than the XM4.

But that does not mean the XM4 is not a good investment; it is also a great choice if you are looking for something on a bit lower budget than the XM5.

3. Sound Quality

The XM4 was always a bang-on performer in the case of the audio quality. But the XM5 fares a bit better. It comes with a 30 mm driver, which is integrated with the Processor V1 and the LAC and DSEE restoration feature. Hence, if you listen to the same music on two different headphones, you will find that the XM5 has a slightly better audio quality with clearer lyrics, distinct bass effects and great music.

The XM4 comes with a deep bass effect that does not overshadow the mi or high tones and offers a great experience for EDM, hip hop, R & B genre listeners. On the other hand, the XM5 maintains a lower bass depth, which creates a balanced bass sensation in any genre.

While the mid and mid-high range tones are clear and crisp for both the XM4 and XM5, the difference becomes audible with crisp high tones. The XM4 offers cereal tones. But, the XM5 takes the cake here with its soothing audio, even during the high notes without piercing your ears.

The XM4 offers a wider soundstage with special spatial sound awareness. But, the XM5 has a better soundstage with a clearer spatial sound effect and better I’D effect.

4. Noise Cancellation and ANC

Noise cancellation is an important aspect of any good quality headphones. In the case of the XM4, the device comes with a noise cancellation frequency between 20-100 Hz. But the XM5 winds up with this feature. It comes with a sub-bass frequency that can enhance the audio experience up to a notch. Not just that, it also offers 30 Db noise cancellations at 75Hz, making it a great investment.

The XM4 uses a dual noise sensor technology that captures the ambient sun through the feed forward and feedback microphones and enables the QN1 noise-canceling processor to create a noise-cancellation effect. However, the XM5 uses some extra and advanced sensors and algorithms to minimize even the slightest surrounding sounds.

Both XM4 and XM5 have adaptive sound control to offer you proper ANC while you are walking or commuting. But, the XM5 has intelligent sound control, which is far better as it uses real-time environment analysis to change the noise cancellation level depending on your location and surroundings, making the whole experience a bit better.

While both of these models come with atmospheric pressure optimization to control air sound in high altitudes, the XM5 is quicker in fine-tuning the mechanism and is a bit faster.

The XM5 has Personal Noise Cancellation Optimizer 2.0, an upgraded version of the Personal Noise Cancellation Optimizer feature available in the XM4 model. Hence, XM5 offers better and more personalized noise cancellation than the previous model.

5. Spatial Audio

Sony has started to improve the soundstage and the devices have developed better spatial images. But, for the XMT5, the spatial unifying is concise and a bit better than XM4. Both of these will get 360 degree reality audio and a complete sound effect while you put them on. The XM5 headphone comes with a Head tracking feature that tracks your head movements for better spatial sound imaging. Sony introduced a Head tracking mechanism for better spatial audio on the new version of the XM4 to make it on par with the XM5.

6. Isolation

In the case of the MX5, the headset blocks the frequencies above 1 KHz to create proper isolation. That means complete isolation from even the slightest sounds. While the XM4 does not offer such great isolation, it also offers quite good performance.

7. Battery Life and Charging

Both the XM4 and XM5 have 30 hours of battery backup, which is fairly good if you plan to get your hands on something that offers event battery backup. But, the main difference lies with the charging feature. The XM4 needs at least ten minutes of charge to get at least five hours of run time. But, if you check the XM5, it needs just three minutes’ worth of charging to get the playtime of three hours. Besides that, the XM5 also charges a bit faster. So, if you need something that charges faster, you may go for the XM5. Otherwise, both are the same.

8. Microphone and Call Quality

If you check out the call quality, the X5 performs better due to its intuitive ability to cancel background noise and better transmission of inputs during calls. It happens because Sony has added four bead-forming mics inside each ear cup of XM5. This eight-microphone array offers clear and better call quality.

But, the XM4 does not have this feature. It does not mean that this headphone is bad for calling. It’s a bit less clear if you listen carefully.

9. Bluetooth

The XM4 headphone comes with Bluetooth 5.0, while the XM5 comes with Bluetooth version 5.2.

In this case, the XM5 wins again with a narrow margin due to Bluetooth 5.2. It has LE and LC3 audio codec compatibility that transfers studio at the speed of 160-345 kbps. On the other hand, Bluetooth 5.0 uses SBC to transfer audio at the rate of 240-345 kbps.

10. Multipoint Pairing

Booth XM4 and XM5 offer pairing to two different devices at the same time. But, in the case of XM4, the sounds coming from one of the devices are highlighted more than the other, especially if you connect it to a phone and a laptop or their gadgets. But, for the XM5, you can switch the devices with just a few buttons. It also offers better support to the Google Fast Pairing mechanism and works faster when you try to pair with two devices. In the case of multipoint pairing, the XM5 wins over by a small margin. It is faster with Google’s Faster pairing mechanism and allows you to pair and switch between multiple devices faster than the XM4.

11. Pairing

You can pair up to two devices with the Sony Connect app, and these models also support Google Fast Pairing. But you can also use the power button of the headphones to start the pairing. While the XM5 offers faster pairing with Google Fast, the XM4 offers faster NFC pairing.

12. Connectivity and Codes

Sony has added SBC and AC codecs in both of these devices. For a better experience, you can also use LDAC codec from Sony, which supports both iOS and Android devices. It also has a 3.5 mm jack for those who still love the wired music sensation.

13. Additional Features

Both devices support pause-play, skip track and auto-resume when you put back the headphones. These two models also support smart assistants like Alexa, Google Smart Assistant and Siri. Besides that, auto pause while on a call is also available.

14. Price and Availability

The XM4 headphone usually has a retail price tag of $350, while the XM5 has a price tag of $400. But, you can get the XM4 at a price range of $200-299 with coupons.

If you check the availability, both models are available on different online platforms like Amazon and Best Buy and in Sony flagship stores as well.

Sony MX4 vs XM5: Comparison Table


Feature XM4 XM5
Design Wider headband with round-shaped ear padding and collapses in a ball Slimmer headband with oval-shaped ear padding and collapses flat
Audio Quality Wonderful due to the introduction of new technology Great
Features and Controls Multi-device pairing, Spatial audio, automatic ear and head movement detection, support smart assistants, adaptive sound control Multi-device pairing, 360 reality spatial audio imaging, speak-to-chat facility, ear movement detection
Battery Life 30 hours, 10 minutes charging for 5 hours of playback 30 hours, 3 minutes charging for 3 hours of playback
ANC Manual ANC optimizer Automatic ANC optimizer
Price $349 $399


Which One Should I Choose, Sony XM4 or XM5?

Well, it depends on what and how you intend to use it. The XM4 is ideal for many people, offers value for money and is ideal for anyone who wants to get the collapsible headphone. But, the XM5 has advanced technology and more intuitive mechanisms.

If you check audio quality, the XM5 is a bit better than the XM4 due to its eight-array mic design and better driver settings. If you like automated connectivity and better hands-on experience, the XM5 performs a bit better than the XM4.

But that doesn’t mean you need to go for the XM5. If you want budget-friendly Sony headphones, go for XM4, while if you like a more premium feeling, go for XM5. In the end, it depends on your personal preference, budget and usage.

Sony XM4 vs XM5 – FAQs

1. Is it worth it to get the XM5?

Ans: Yes, absolutely. XM5 has excellent sound quality with intelligent ANC and calls with wonderful call clarity. It also supports comfortable wear and a sleek design with some more features.

2. Does XM5 sound better than XM4?

Ans: The XM5 is a bit better in sound quality than the XM4. It happens due to the latest driver and eight-array mic design. On top of that, it also offers better spatial sound quality. But the XM4 also has an intuitive EQ that offers good sound quality. The difference is not very drastic in this case.

3. Does XM4 have more bass than XM5?

Ans: In the case of Bass effect, the XM4 offers a deep bass effect while the XM5 has a rich yet deep bass effect that can be adjusted. The difference is more audible in higher notes but is not very drastic.

4. What is the difference between XM5 and XM4 style?

Ans: The XM5 has a slimmer design with oval-shaped ear pads, while the CM4 has a wider headband with round ear padding. Feature-wise, the XM5 may seem better for those who want a more snug fit.

5. Can I use my Sony XM5 at the gym?

Ans: XM5 has better ANC and call quality and offers a great 360-degree sound experience, which can be great for gym goers. But, since the IP rating is not mentioned, it is not known if it is water resistant. So, it is better to clean the device after gym use and avoid using it while it is raining.


Sony recently released the XM5 headphone and also introduced an updated version of their XM4 headphone. Both these models are excellent investments for anyone who loves to listen to music. While the XM5 has many new technologies, the XM4 also does not fall back in a drastic way. You can choose any model as per your preference.

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