Apple AirPods It may have been one of the most successful product launches in recent memory. Their design, ease of use, and affordability have made them wildly popular with users. However, because they don’t come with an accompanying charging case or cable, some users prefer to purchase additional accessories.

Sony WH-1000XM5

Sony WH-1000XM5

One of the best alternatives is Sony’s WH-1000XM5 Wireless Noise Cancelling Earbuds. They offer comparable sound quality to the AirPods and are also less expensive than Apple’s offering. They also come with a wireless charging case for $159. Here we take a deeper look at the Sony WH-1000XM5 vs AirPods Max comparison.

Sony WH-1000XM5 vs AirPods Max: Key differences

AirPods Max
AirPods Max

When comparing the Sony WH-1000XM5 vs AirPods Max, it’s important to note the key differences between the two products. Let’s take a closer look at these.

  • Design : AirPods have a simple and almost child-like design. They’re made of soft silicone, come in the most popular colors, and can easily fit in the palm of your hand, making them convenient to carry around all day. However, they’re not completely waterproof, so you can’t wear them underwater.
  • Noise Cancelling : Noise Cancelling (NC) is a function available on both the AirPods and the WH-1000XM5. It works by detecting and blocking out surrounding noise. If you’re trying to focus on work, or are flying on an airplane, NC can be extremely helpful.
  • Charging Case : Apple’s AirPods come with a charging case, but not the other way around. Because of this, you must keep the earbuds charged or else they’ll run out of charge while you’re out and about. The WH-1000XM5 have a charging case, which can charge the earbuds’ battery. If you’re out and about, and your earbuds run out of charge, you can pop the case and put them back in charging mode.
  • Wireless Range : Apple’s AirPods have the best wireless range of the three. However, they’re also the most expensive.
  • Sound quality : Apple’s AirPods have the best sound quality of the three products. The WH-1000XM5 have comparable sound quality, but are less expensive.
  • Battery life : The AirPods have the best battery life of the three products. The WH-1000XM5 have a slightly shorter battery life, but can be charged up in a couple of hours.
Sony WH-1000XM5AirPods Max
Weight0.55 pounds0.85 pounds
ColorsBlack, WhiteSpace Gray, Silver, Green, Pink, Sky Blue
Battery life30 hours20 hours
noise cancellationtwo processors control 8 microphonesYes
Fast charging3 hours of playback in 3 minutes1.5 hours of playback in 5 minutes
Special featuresAdaptive Sound Control, Speak-to-Chat, LDAC high-quality audio support (Android only), 360 Reality Audio (select apps)Spatial Audio (Apple devices only), Adaptive EQ, Hands-free Siri
Wired supportYesNo
Sony WH-1000XM5 vs AirPods Max Spec

Sound quality

When it comes to sound quality, AirPods have the best quality of the three products. They’re compatible with both Apple’s devices, like the iPhone or iPad, and third-party products, like Sonos speakers. They also come with Apple’s W1 chip for great connectivity.


AirPods have a single speaker, which provides users with crisp, clear audio. They’re available in a wide range of colors to help make them stand out in a person’s ear. The WH-1000XM5 have a dual speaker system, which provides clear sound. They also have a noise-cancelling function, so users can get rid of surrounding noise. Finally, they come with a carrying case that can be used to charge the earbuds’ battery.

Sony WH-1000XM5
Sony WH-1000XM5

Sony WH-1000XM5 vs AirPods Max Connectivity:

If you’re looking for a pair of wireless headphones that has better sound quality, the XM5 pair is the better choice. However, the Max pair has better battery life and charges quickly to ensure you can enjoy your music when you’re on the go.

Both of these headphones support Apple’s W1 chip, so they’re compatible with iOS devices. Furthermore, the XM5 pair works with Android devices, too. The AirPods pair also connects to Alexa-enabled devices and Google Assistant via the AirPods Bluetooth pairing. You can adjust the volume, control music playback, and receive calls through the AirPods.

Available price range

Sony this week released an updated version of its popular over-ear noise cancelling headphones, so we picked up a pair to compare them to the $549 AirPods Max to see which headphones are better and whether it's worth buying the $400 WH-1000XM5 from Sony over Apple's $549 AirPods Max.

Sony WH-1000XM5 vs AirPods Max: Which Earbuds are Better?

When taking all these key differences into account, it’s clear that the Sony WH-1000XM5 vs AirPods Max comparison is a close one. Both earbuds provide great sound quality, wireless connectivity, noise-cancelling, and waterproofing. However, the WH-1000XM5 also include a wireless charging case. This makes them the better choice for users looking for an affordable wireless charging option.

For users looking for an earbud with the best sound quality, the AirPods are the clear winner. If you’re looking for the earbud with the best wireless connectivity, the WH-1000XM5 are the way to go. If you’re looking for the earbud with the best waterproofing, you’ll have to choose between the AirPods and the WH-1000XM5.


Overall, the Sony WH-1000XM5 vs AirPods Max comparison is a close one. The two earbuds have many of the same features and provide users with waterproofing, wireless connectivity, and noise-cancelling. However, the WH-1000XM5 include a wireless charging case, which makes them the better choice for those looking for an affordable wireless charging option.

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