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Comparison: AirPods Max vs Sony WH-1000XM5 | Camel

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The Sony WH-100XM5 is a new review of the popular $400 headphones, and here’s how they compare to Apple’s AirPods Max headphones.

Sony has been an industry-leading producer of some of the most popular music devices and headphones, as has Apple. When AirPods Max launched in 2020, many comparisons were made to it against the $150 cheaper Sony XM4.

Now, Sony has updated its premium headphones with new specs for the same $400 price tag. Sony WH-1000XM5 has a new design, dual audio processors, and some features based on the updated algorithm.

AirPods Max vs Sony WH-1000XM5: Specifications

Comparing the AirPods Max to the new WH-1000XM5 and the previous WH-1000XM4 provides a good idea of ​​where to put these headphones. Sony has focused on software features and quality of life changes on hardware upgrades of this generation.

to specify AirPods Max Sony XM5 Sony XM4
price $549 $399 $349
Weight 13.6 oz 8.82 oz 8.96 oz
foldable no no yes
Healer Apple H1 Sony QN1 and V1 Sony QN1
raw materials Aluminium plastic plastic
Noise canceling yes Yes, my user profile Yes, my user profile
Transparency mode yes Yes, my user profile Yes, my user profile
Shipping Port Lightning USB-C . port USB-C . port
Battery life 20 hours of ANC operation 30 hours of ANC 30 hours of ANC
Regulations digital crown, button Touch, gestures, buttons Touch, gestures, buttons

The spec sheet shows that little has changed for the Sony headphones, but the new processor and motor make all the difference to the feature set. The exterior has also changed, but the design is still geared toward the classic style of over-ear headphones.

AirPods Max vs Sony WH-1000XM5: Design

Sony has upgraded the design of the WH-1000XM Series into something that looks even more distinct thanks to a one-piece earphone. The headband is one continuous shape with no folds or hinges, and both the headband and the pillows are made of a soft leather-like material.

AirPods Max or Sony WH-1000XM5 cannot be folded for storage

AirPods Max from Apple is a unique set of headphones made of heavy materials like aluminum and stainless steel. The earpads are fabric, but they use a magnetic attachment system that allows third-party options to be easily swapped out.

Sony’s move away from the foldable design could be a major drawback for fans of the headphone line. Several comparisons between the previous XM4s and AirPods Max have drawn attention to the lack of foldables on Apple’s headphones, so that may not be received poorly.

Sony’s XM5 ear cups sit on a swivel to make them feel as if they are “floating,” and the volume adjustment is similar to AirPods Max headphones with a slide-bar mechanism.

Apple uses a rubber-wrapped stainless steel headband with a small canopy on top. This ensures that the headband is strong and will not break easily and the canopy keeps the weight of the headphones evenly.

AirPods Max vs. Sony WH-1000XM5: Processing and Connectivity

There are five colors available for AirPods Max

There are five colors available for AirPods Max

Apple uses an H1 chip in each ear cup for sound processing. They control everything from volume equalization to ANC and “Hey Siri” modes.

Sony brought back the same QN1 processor they used in the WH-1000XM4 but now paired with a proprietary V1 chip. QN1 is responsible for handling noise cancellation while the V1 chip amplifies it, which means ANC modes and transparency are better than ever.

The sound quality has to be compared once we get our hands on the Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones, but they will definitely feature Sony’s signature sound. Unlike AirPods Max, headphones from Sony are capable of wired or wireless high-resolution audio playback.

Sony WH-1000XM5 is available in black or white for $399

Sony WH-1000XM5 is available in black or white for $399

Both Apple and Sony support “Spatial Audio” where music or movies play audio in a 360-degree field. Sony calls this 360 Reality Audio, but it’s based on the same technologies. However, Apple uses head tracking to allow users to “move” through the 3D audio space.

AirPods Max connects to Apple’s iCloud and associates itself with the user’s Apple ID. This allows quick switching between connected Apple devices such as iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. Despite this, you’ll still need to manually connect non-Apple devices each time.

Sony tries to replicate this type of functionality using multiple Bluetooth connections. Two devices can be connected to headphones at the same time. So, if you are listening to music on your computer and a phone call comes in, they will switch to the phone automatically. Sony is also taking advantage of Android Fast Pair for Bluetooth devices.

AirPods Max has only one connector option – Lightning. So if you want to use it wired, you’ll need a special $35 Aux to Lightning cable from Apple. The Sony WH-1000XM5 has both Aux and USB-C connectors.

AirPods Max vs Sony WH-1000XM5: ANC Modes

AirPods Max has ANC and Transparency modes

AirPods Max has ANC and Transparency modes

The ANC and transparency modes of the Sony headphones have not changed, but they have been improved. The headphones will attempt to automatically select the active transparency mode based on environmental noise, and ANC levels are controlled via the Sony app.

For active noise cancellation, AirPods Max and Sony XM5 attempt to block out environmental noise using multiple external microphones and an internal microphone. This will block out any static mid-to-low noise like machinery and dampen things like sounds. Apple’s ANC mode is on or off, while Sony offers an intensity slider within its app.

Transparency mode is intended to allow in environmental voice. On AirPods Max, again, it’s just one setting that tries to feel like you’re not wearing headphones at all. There are still some features similar to ANC that keep the buzzing or loud noises at bay, but speech, traffic, and other environmental sounds come in.

Sony offers different levels of transparency based on what it can detect or user input. Walking mode lets traffic noise in while waiting mode listens for incoming announcements from intercoms and lets them through.

AirPods Max vs Sony WH-1000XM5: Other Features

Sony WH-1000XM5 uses beamforming microphones to improve call quality

Sony WH-1000XM5 uses beamforming microphones to improve call quality

Sony includes a large number of features such as tap and gesture control on the ear cups or sound detection. For example, if you are listening to music on Sony XM5 headphones and start talking, the headphones will pause the music and enable Transparency mode to have a conversation.

There is also a feature to enable Spotify playback with just a few clicks, something AirPods will never do. Of course, both headphones allow for smart assistant control like “Hey Siri,” but Sony is trying to give users more control beyond the volume and buttons.

Both headphones feature beamforming microphones to improve call quality. The algorithms will try to focus the microphone on the speaker and remove any external noise with different effects.

While both headphones offer long battery life, they also offer fast charging options for a short period of listening moments after on a charger. For the Sony XM5, just three minutes of charging gives you three hours of listening. However, AirPods Max only gives you 1.5 hours on 5 minutes of charging.

AirPods Max vs Sony WH-1000XM5: What to buy

Apple users with enough cash are more likely to dive into the AirPods Max, however, and Sony offers a compelling alternative. The fact that the Sony headphones can play High-Resolution Audio will win over any audio enthusiast, especially with all the app’s configuration options.

Sony headphones work best in a multi-platform environment where someone might own an iPhone, a Windows computer, and a Sony TV. Multiple connectivity options and a variety of listening modes make the headphones versatile.

However, die-hard Apple fans will stick with AirPods Max for their connection to Apple’s ecosystem and special features. It doesn’t hurt that there are five color options, too.

Where to buy AirPods Max or Sony WH-1000XM5

The Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones are available for purchase on Amazon, as well as at B&H Photo and Adorama. The over-ear headphones retail for $399.

Meanwhile, Apple’s AirPods Max retails for $549 but is discounted to $425 at press time when you shop through this activation link and enter the promo code Appensider While out at Adorama. Detailed step-by-step activation instructions can be found here.

You can also see the latest prices at Amazon, B&H Photo, and other Apple retailers in our AirPods price guide.

2022-05-17 14:37:50

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