Sony WH-1000XM5: Latest wireless, noise-cancelling headphones releasing in NZ in June

Sony has unveiled the latest in its acclaimed line of wireless, noise-cancelling headphones, which feature an updated design and a higher-than-usual price tag.

The WH-1000XM5 was revealed on Friday morning, with reviews of the unit already popping up on several major tech websites.

The Japanese company promises its best-ever audio quality and noise-cancelling technology - but it's the new design that is the most immediately noticeable change in the new unit.

Sony WH-1000XM5 black model.
Photo credit: supplied/Sony

"An all-new noiseless design is beautifully finished in a newly developed soft fit leather with a stepless slider. The new synthetic soft fit leather material fits snugly around the head taking the pressure off your ears and blocking out external noise, so you can keep listening all day, free of discomfort," said Sony.

The WH-1000XM5 headphones will be released in Aotearoa with a suggested retail price of NZ$680. That's higher than the initial cost of the previous WH-1000XM4 unit, which launched at $600 in 2020.

Bose's rival QuietComfort 45 headphones launched last year at around $550.

The first WH-1000XM5 reviews are very positive, although some claim the improvements are less noticeable compared to previous models.

"Still the best in the business, but the gains for the WH-1000XM5 are more marginal than before," said TechRadar.

"The WH-1000XM5s have a wonderfully comfortable new design that looks more modern but doesn't quite rise up to their [higher] price tag... if you've got a pair of 1000XM4s and are happy with them, there's zero reason to run out and upgrade," said The Verge.

Conversely, Engadget's glowing review argues the improvements are greater than those of the previous models.

"The WH-1000XM5 is evidence that even the best product in a given category still has room for improvement. Sony has consistently impressed us with its 1000X line, but the upgrades it delivers on the M5 are some of the biggest in the history of the series... the only gripe is the price," said reviewer Billy Steele.

Sony WH-1000XM5 white model.
Photo credit: supplied/Sony

CNET's review stated: "The XM5 keeps Sony right at the top of the category and, if you can afford them, I'd take these over Bose's Noise Cancelling 700 Headphones and the QuietComfort 45." 

New Zealand headphone enthusiasts will soon get to make their own minds up - the WH-1000XM5 will be available here from late June.