Sony WH-1000XM5 Headphone Leak Reinforces Major Redesign, But It’s Not All Good News

Sony WH-1000XM5 Headphone Leak Reinforces Major Redesign, But It’s Not All Good News
Photo: u/Chez5160/Reddit

Photos of the Sony WH-1000XM5’s retail package have supposedly leaked, giving us our best look yet at the upcoming flagship headphones that are set to take on the Bose 700 and Apple AirPods Max.

Posted to Reddit by user u/Chez5160, the photos reveal a squircle-shaped package wrapped in a product sleeve that has an image of the WH-1000XM5 on it. If this photo is legit, it reinforces a previous leak from site TechnikNews, whose unnamed “retail” source claimed the WH-1000XM5 will flaunt a sleeker design than the previous models.

This latest leak, however, is more of a mixed bag. While the design matches the renders leaked a few weeks ago, the retail packaging rates the headphones’ battery life at 30 hours rather than the 40 hours that was previously reported. That 10-hour difference means the 1000-XM5 would match the runtime of the previous model, but not extend it. To be fair, 30 hours is still excellent and tops both the Bose 700 and AirPods Max, which power down after only 20 hours.

We don’t know if the 30-hour estimate is with active noise cancellation (ANC) turned on, or which audio codec the estimate assumes. This is speculation, but as The Walkman Blog notes, the headphones might get up to 40 hours when using the more power-efficient ACC codec instead of LDAC.

Labels on the package also seem to confirm the return of Sony’s 360 Reality Audio format and Alexa and Google Assistant support for voice commands. Returning to the design, the Sony WH-1000XM5 have slim arms that extend beyond a thinner headband, and the earcups appear to be less bulky. The headphones will supposedly be available in familiar Black and Silver colour options.

What hasn’t leaked yet is a release date. Previous models were released in late summer or early fall; if Sony keeps up with that timeline, the WH-1000XM5 will likely hit shelves around August or September. Then again, the emergence of what appears to be genuine retail packaging suggests Sony could drop these much sooner.

Pricing is also a moving target, though one we can confidently narrow down. The WH-1000XM4, 1000XM3, and 1000XM2 cost $395. Sony will likely want to undercut some of the competition — namely the Bose 700 ($495) and AirPods Max ($899) — by keeping its flagship noise-cancelling headphones below $400.