If you’re in the market for a new pair of headphones, you may have to choose between the Sony WH-1000XM5 vs. AirPods Max. Both are some of the best headphones you can buy, but each has unique advantages over the other.
The Sony WH-1000XM5 are newer than the AirPods Max, but Apple’s most premium headphones always remain popular. And although we found that the previous generation Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones beat AirPods Max in delivering high performance at a better price, the newer WH-1000XM5 cost more than its predecessor, narrowing the gap.
So, which one should you buy? This Sony WH-1000XM5 vs. AirPods Max confronts the biggest differences in price, design, performance and battery life. Here’s how the headphones stack up.
Sony WH-1000XM5 vs. AirPods Max specs compared
|Sony WH-1000XM5||AirPods Max|
|Publication date||May 2022||Dec 2020|
|colors||Black silver||Silver, Space Gray, Red, Blue, Green|
|Weight||8.8 ounces||13.6 ounces|
|Battery Life (ANC rated)||30 hours||20 hours|
|3.5mm headphone jack?||Yes||New|
|Particularities||ANC, Sony 360 Reality Audio, Speak to Cha, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant||ANC, spatial audio, share audio, Siri|
Sony WH-1000XM5 vs AirPods Max: Price
One of the biggest differences between the Sony WH-1000XM5 and AirPods Max is the price. The WH-1000XM5 costs $399, which is $50 more than the Sony WH-1000XM4which remains available for purchase for $349.
The AirPods Max costs $549 at full price, which at the time of their launch seemed much steeper than any other best noise canceling headphones† It even sent people looking for the best AirPods Max alternatives†
But as we’ve seen discounts on the AirPods Max come, they’ve become a more reasonable recommendation. We expect that WH-1000XM5 discounts will also bring the price down in time.
Sony WH-1000XM5 vs AirPods Max: Design
The different appearances of the Sony WH-1000XM5 versus AirPods Max are unmistakable. The Sony WH-1000XM5 vs Sony WH-1000XM4 the design has changed significantly, with Sony opting for a slimmed-down chassis, narrow synthetic leather headband and simpler ear cups. However, the WH-1000XM5 certainly still looks like a Sony product and even borrows two previously used colors: black and silver.
The AirPods Max make a stronger fashion statement with a selection of colors, shiny aluminum ear cups and a wide mesh headband. They don’t look like at all Apple AirPods Pro† Apple AirPods 3 or any other Apple headphones. They even look quite retro.
Pure looks aside, there is quite a significant difference in weight. The Sony WH-1000XM5 is a few grams lighter than the AirPods Max thanks to the use of carbon fiber material. We’ve found the WH-1000XM5 to be more comfortable to wear for long periods of time as a result than the AirPods Max, but we like the soft ear cups on both headphones.
Sony WH-1000XM5 vs AirPods Max: Performance
Both the Sony WH-1000XM5 and AirPods Max are excellent headphones when it comes to audio performance. Whatever you’re listening to, you won’t be disappointed with the sound quality, as the headphones deliver masterful listening experiences across all genres.
Although that doesn’t mean they don’t have stronger properties. Listening to “The Heart Part 5” by Kendrick Lamar, the layering of the Sony WH-1000XM5 gave the bass extra punch while the extra instruments remained clear. Meanwhile, the AirPods Max seemed to provide slightly richer vocals, even though the rapper manipulated emotion in his tone throughout the song.
The Sony WH-1000XM5 gives you the option to manually adjust the equalizer in the companion app, although the AirPods Max don’t. However, they do have an Adaptive EQ feature that can analyze the fit and seal of the earcups and optimize the sound accordingly.
Spatial Audio is a key advantage of AirPods Max and provides immersive 3D listening for both music and video streaming. The Sony WH-1000XM5 does have a feature called 360 Reality Audio, but it only works with select streaming services.
Sony WH-1000XM5 vs AirPods Max: Features
The Sony WH-1000XM5 and AirPods Max each have special features that may cater to what you’re looking for in headphones. First, the AirPods Max have Apple’s H1 chip, so they can be paired quickly with iOS devices and are part of the Find My system. Pairing the Sony WH-1000XM5 to both Android and iOS devices is also fairly easy, but can be more difficult to track down if they get lost.
As for voice control, the Sony WH-1000XM5 are compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant, while the AirPods have Max Siri built-in. All assistants are able to answer questions, be it communication, general curiosity or controlling smart home devices.
Controlling the WH-1000XM5 is perhaps a little more intuitive than the AirPods Max thanks to the touch controls on the earcup, compared to a digital crown on the AirPods Max. Both pause and play automatically when you take them off your head, but one thing we really like about the WH-1000XM5 is a new Speak to Chat feature that pauses music when it sounds like you’re trying to have a conversation with someone. IR.
And of course we have to mention active noise canceling features. While we still think that the Bose 700 are the best headphones for sleeping or finding silence, the Sony WH-1000XM5 and AirPods Max are both capable noise-cancelling cans. The WH-1000XM5 has a feature that allows them to automatically adjust ANC frequencies based on ambient frequencies, which AirPods Max don’t. However, both have a transparency mode.
Sony WH-1000XM5 vs AirPods Max: Battery Life
No competition here – the Sony WH-1000XM5 can last up to 30 hours with ANC activated, while AirPods Max only have 20 hours of playback time. Without ANC, the Sony WH-1000XM5 lasts up to 40 hours.
Sony’s headphones also charge faster. Just three minutes of charging an empty pair provides three hours of listening time. The AirPods Max, meanwhile, get 1.5 hours of playback after a 5-minute charge. Could this have something to do with charging the Sony via USB-C and charging the AirPods Max via Lightning?
Oddly enough, the AirPods Max don’t have a power button. Instead, magnets in the included Smart Case activate a power-saving mode, effectively sparing battery power when the headset is not in use. Most of the best AirPods Max cases these magnets too.
Sony WH-1000XM5 vs AirPods Max: Verdict
While the AirPods Max get high marks in design and sound performance (not to mention the spatial audio benefits), the Sony WH-1000XM5 is a more attractive set of cans overall. They have a lot to offer for a lower price, wider smart functions/controls and longer battery life. We also appreciate the fact that the WH-1000XM5 is lighter, making them easier to wear for longer periods of time and easier to carry around.
That said, the AirPods Max remain a popular choice among iOS users. As Apple’s first pair of over-ear AirPods, they round out the AirPods lineup very nicely. And we can’t downplay the benefits of the H1 connectivity chip.
If you’re interested in finding new headphones for a lower price, check out our guide to the best cheap headphones† We also have an extensive list of the best wireless earbudsif you think a different style of headphones is better for you.
#Sony #WH1000XM5 #AirPods #Max #Headphones #Buy