The Drop: Sony WF-1000XM5 ANC Earbuds

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It’s a big EDC market out there, and tons of awesome gear is released all the time. We made The Drop to help you discover the latest and greatest essentials worth a spot in your EDC.

When it comes time to focus on a task or drown out your surroundings with your life’s soundtrack, a good set of active noise-canceling true wireless stereo (TWS) earbuds is the best choice. Unlike a full-size pair of headphones, TWS earbuds are far more EDC-friendly because they are compact, portable, and, as the name suggests, free from any wires to get tangled in or distracted by. And Sony’s premium WF line, now in its fifth generation with the new WF-1000XM5, is the best in class. With the WF-1000XM5, Sony has put together the best active noise-canceling (ANC) technology into a convenient and portable package for everyday carry.

Unlike traditional earbuds, the Sony WF-100XM5 interfaces with up to two laptops, tablets, or cell phones with the latest and greatest high-resolution multipoint Bluetooth 5.3 technology. It supports lossless codecs (SBC, AAC, and LDAC, but unfortunately, no aptX/HD) if your device can serve them to the earbuds, ensuring the best quality for your favorite music albums or podcasts when you’re on the go. And they have 8-12 hours of battery life built in, depending on whether you use the ANC function. Because the XM5s feature both corded USB-C and Qi wireless charging, it’s effortless to keep them ready to go when needed.

The XM5‘s ANC is one of the best in the business, powered by two processors handling six microphones to provide an aural lockout that’s a step up from the previous XM4s, drowning out outside noise like airplane engines and road noise and letting you focus on what you want instead–though there is an Ambient Mode function that gives environmental sound passthrough. And because Sony has included more removable ear tip sizes in the box, you can get a comfortable long-term fit with these earbuds to further enhance the passive noise cancellation.

What we like: Sony’s ANC TWS earbuds are a long-standing EDC community favorite due to their convenience and sound quality. Their microphone is also adequate for most work conference calls and cell phone interactions. Sony’s inclusion of an extra-small ear tip is rare and welcome news to anyone with smaller ear canals.

What to watch out for: While some of the best earbuds out there and with best-in-class ANC, the XM5s command one of the heftiest price tags at $299, which is a pretty steep investment if you’re already happy with, say, your XM4s. Also, take care to look at the product before you buy it. Sony’s complicated product numbering scheme means you might accidentally buy the full-size ANC headphones instead of the earbuds if you type in WH-1000XM5.

Final verdict: The Sony WF-1000XM5s are some of the latest and greatest ANC TWS earbuds for everyday carry. And even if you have an older pair, the improved fit, features, and performance of the WF-1000XM5s could make them worth the upgrade.

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