Technology is full of rivalries, in the math of its Apple versus Microsoft, in gaming its Xbox versus PlayStation, and in the world of headphones its Sony versus Bose. No matter how much praise one of their headphones receives, Sony and Bose audio devices are always compared to their rivals’ equivalents.
This brings us to the clash between their most recent offerings. For Bose, it’s acclaim Quiet Comfort 45 headphones the one launched at the end of 2021; while for Sony it is the brand new WH-1000XM5 headphones.
So let’s see how these two noise canceling headphones stack up against each other and help you decide which one is right for you.
Sony WH-1000XM5 vs. Bose QuietComfort 45: Price and Availability
The new Sony WH-1000XM5 will be available at the end of May for £379 / $399 / AU$649. No matter what continent you’re on, you can expect to pay a decent sum to slip your ears inside a pair of these.
When the Bose QuietComfort 45 hit shelves last September, it would have cost you £329 / $329 / AU$499. These days, you can expect to pay no more than £269 / $299 / AU$419 – a lot less than Sony’s new cans.
Over time, we expect the Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones to see a similar price drop (just as we expect night to follow day), but if you’re looking for a pair today, Bose is offering a version SOny beta on the price.
Sony WH-1000XM5 vs. Bose QuietComfort 45: Design
Sony got a bit of an overhaul with the XM5 over-ear headphones, mixing things up a bit from its predecessors (the Sony WH-1000XM3 and Sony WH-1000XM4). Some will see the more minimalist ABS-clad device as smooth and sophisticated, while others may find them bland and uninspiring.
At 250g, the Sony headphones are lightweight and stay comfortably in place for ages. Unlike some other headphones, although they don’t fold in on themselves, the earbuds have some articulation to help reduce the size of the carrying case, but they’re not the most compact.
The Bose QuietComfort 45 weighs just 238g and folds up on itself, making it an even more compelling proposition for the frequent travelers among you. We will also describe the appearance of these cans as functional. Although they won’t win any awards for their innovative design, the Bose headphones are a strong competitor to Sony when it comes to comfort, stability and durability.
Sony WH-1000XM5 v Bose QuietComfort 45: specs and features
We know that Sony’s WH-1000XM5 headphones can connect to two devices simultaneously via a Bluetooth 5.2 wireless connection. They are also compatible with SBC, AAC and LDAC codecs, with sound delivered through a pair of 30mm full-range dynamic speakers. There’s no aptX, however, which continues to be an odd omission.
If you use the Sony Headphones Control app, you can set up and use Sony’s 360 Reality Audio spatial algorithm while wearing these headphones, just take a picture of your ears.
Unlike Sony, Bose hasn’t shared detailed spec lists that show how its QuietComfort 45 earphones compare in terms of drivers and connectivity.
While we can compare them, we know the QuietComfort 45 lacks the built-in voice assistant you’ll find in the WH-1000XM5. Additionally, Bose relies on physical controls rather than touch controls like Sony; both options are well implemented so it’s mostly a matter of preference.
Sony WH-1000XM5 vs. Bose QuietComfort 45: sound quality
Despite the driver size, the XM5 delivers impressive audio performance in every respect. They’re punchy but equally controlled at lower frequencies, while higher tones hit with perfectly judged bite. Rhythmic expression is rewarding, and a dynamic headroom stack is available when you want to crank up the volume.
When first released, the Bose QuietComfort 45 headphones didn’t have an EQ setting – so we thought they sounded rather bashful and ambiguous. You can now play around with the settings in the Bose Music Control app, which makes the low frequencies feel more assertive without overwhelming the mids, and the higher frequencies can also benefit from a bit more confidence.
What no amount of EQ adjustment can do is restore fine detail to tracks – detail that Bose’s offering lets slip through the cracks; while Sony offers a much more informative listening experience.
Sony WH-1000XM5 v Bose QuietComfort 45: noise cancellation
Bose headphones are generally considered to be among the best in terms of noise-canceling capabilities, although Sony’s WH-1000XM5 cans give them a lot of value for their money.
Without leaving a trace of counter-signaling, a feeling of pressure in the ear cups, or disruptive background noise, the XM5 simply negates the vast majority of external sound with the kind of laid-back efficiency we more readily associate with its rival.
Likewise, the QuietComfort 45 headphones are capable of canceling anything other than an airplane passing overhead – if you were a passenger on said airplane, you would be able to completely disable the drone from the engine. .
Beyond regular noise-cancellation, Sony’s new cans also offer a feature called adaptive noise-cancellation that attempts to learn your most frequently visited surroundings and specifically tune certain sounds.
Bose doesn’t offer anything like this, although both headphones share similar ambient sound or awareness modes. In Sony’s case, it instead lets you amplify sounds around you when you need to pay attention, whereas Bose’s feature seems to be just that noise cancellation has been turned off.
Sony WH-1000XM5 vs. Bose QuietComfort 45: Battery life
With USB-PD charging, the Sony WH-1000XM5 can receive three hours of power in just three minutes. Load them in the most conventional way and they’ll go from flat to full in just over three hours. Once full, however, they last 30 hours with noise cancellation on, or 40 hours if it’s off.
The Bose QuietComfort 45 can’t quite compete with those numbers. For them, the best case scenario is that they will last around 25 hours or so. It’s not half bad, but it probably won’t give Sony sleepless nights.
Sony WH-1000XM5 v Bose QuietComfort 45 takeaways
In the end, this battle mostly went Sony’s way.
That’s not to say that the Bose QuietComfort 45 headphones are terrible in any way – their battery life is better than average, their comfort is undeniable, their noise cancellation remains the best and their audio performance is solid. Plus, they’re the cheaper of the two options.
But Sony’s WH-1000XM5 earphones have put a considerable distance between the rivals with superior performance in almost every category, including noise cancellation, which is remarkable.
If you can afford to pay a little more or are willing to wait for a deal, then the Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones are the way to go.
#Sony #WH1000XM5 #Bose #QuietComfort