Update, April 23, 2022: The Sony WH-1000XM5 now appear to have leaked in full. Check out the alleged renders and specs in our Sony WH-1000XM5 hub.
Audiophiles rejoice: it looks like a follow up to the winner of our best headphones you can currently buy could be arriving later this year. A new FCC listing from Sony, first spotted by The Walkman Blog (opens in new tab), shows a set of wireless headphones that could well be a next-generation version to the award-winning WH-1000XM4 cans.
Granted, the phrase “Sony WH-1000XM5” doesn’t appear in the listing (opens in new tab), which instead sports the title “Y2954." That sounds like a code name, however, and while all over-ear headphones look somewhat similar, this would fit with the biannual release schedule Sony has had for its XM family in the past.
So, assuming we are looking at the WH-1000XM5, what changes can we expect? Well, firstly it looks like we could be getting a battery upgrade, with the Y2954’s cell listed as 3.8V to the WH-1000XM4’s 3.7V. It also mentions 5V/9V charging which indicates the WH-1000XM5 could include fast charging.
While welcome, battery performance isn’t exactly a weak spot for Sony’s current flagship. In our Sony WH-1000XM4 review, we found the headphones could go 29 hours without a charge with ANC turned on. Quick charging also grants you five hours’ play time from a ten-minute charge, so there’s really no excuse for ever running out of juice.
This image also suggests there could be a design change afoot:
As you can see, the FCC certification label appears to be within the left earcup, which is a relocation from its current home on the headband. The Walkman Blog speculates that this could indicate Sony switching the headband material from plastic to metal, which could have pricing and weight implications.
Change of material aside, it doesn’t look like we’ll be getting other cosmetic changes, as The Walkman Blog also uncovered import documents of the prototype headphones headed to India and Hong Kong which point to black and silver color schemes — the same as the WH-1000XM4s.
The FCC listing cites a short-term confidentiality agreement that’s due to expire on August 8. That hints at an August 2022 reveal, which would also match the form book: the Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones were announced on 30 August 2018, while the WH-1000XM4 got their unveiling on 6 August 2020.
Hopefully we won’t have to wait too much longer for more details to leak. While a better battery and metal headband are a good start, we would imagine more significant internal improvements are yet to emerge.