AirPods Max vs. Sony WH-1000XM5: Full Review with Pros, Cons, and Major Differences

best wireless headphones

AirPods Max vs. Sony WH-1000XM5: Full Review with Pros, Cons, and Major Differences

Key Points:
  • The AirPods Max headphones are a better choice for iOS users as it works seamlessly with them.
  • The Sony WH-1000XM5 comes with a 3.5mm male connector: you may link various devices that use a 3.5mm jack by using this audio connection.
  • The time required to charge the battery entirely for the AirPods Max is 1.5 hours less than the longer charging time of the Sony WH.

AirPods Max and Sony WH-1000XM5 are popular headphones on the market, but how do you know which of these two products is suitable for your needs?

Sony WH-1000XM5 is new wireless engineering in the world of headphones. While it is not the first product that comes with this type of technology, it is definitely one of the most popular models today. This model’s exceptional design and features make it unique among other headphones on the market today.

AirPods Max is also a new wireless speaker from Apple designed to work with the AirPods. AirPods Max retail for more than the original AirPods, but it offers some significant improvements in sound quality and features.

The Sony WH-1000XM5 is the company’s flagship model of wireless earbuds and comes with quite a few features that the AirPods Max doesn’t have. They feature NFC and SmartTag functionality, so you can tap your phone on them to control music playback or answer calls without having to touch your phone or press any buttons on the AirPods themselves.

Let’s look at what makes these headphones stand out and how well they perform compared to Sony WH-1000XM5. We’ll also go over some of the key features of AirPods Max and Sony WH-1000XM5 and see if they are worth it for you.

AirPods Max vs. Sony WH-1000XM5: Full Comparison

The AirPods Max and Sony WH-1000XM5 are two great headphones with an Active Noise Cancellation (ACN) feature that make them all the more perfect for your headphone choice.

The AirPods Max is among the first wireless headphones from Apple with a 5.8GHz Wi-Fi chip to allow a much faster connection than previously possible with Bluetooth devices. It has an IP67 rating for water resistance and noise cancellation and can connect to two devices simultaneously.

Sony WH-1000XM5
The Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones weigh approximately 8.82 oz.

The AirPods Max comes with an H1 chip that enables it effortlessly pair with an Apple device and a varied amount of functional sound profiles. The Sony WH-1000XM5, however, provides a more customizable option due to its accompanying app and longer-lasting battery life.

With a battery that lasts up to three times longer than the original AirPods, you can take these headphones with you on the go without worrying about running out of juice. It also comes with a charging case compatible with charging pads, meaning you don’t have to worry about getting tangled up in wires when you’re out on the go.

Sony WH-1000XM5
The WH-1000XM5 come in the Sony OEM Carrying Case.

The Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones have been designed for professionals who need high-quality audio at an affordable price. Both products feature patented True Wireless technology that allows them to communicate wirelessly via Bluetooth 5.0 while communicating with other Bluetooth 5.0-enabled devices.

If you are an iOS user and prefer a noise-canceling system to give you an immersive listening experience, then the AirPods Max is a great pick. But, if you are an Android user, you may like to check out the Sony WH-1000XM5 as it syncs well with Android phones, unlike the AirPods Max.

Now, let’s go deeper into the comparison so you can figure out which option best matches your criteria.

AirPods Max vs. Sony WH-1000XM5: A Side-by-Side Comparison

AirPods MaxSony WH-1000XM5
Distinct FeaturesAdaptable EQ, Siri Control on hands-free, Spatial Audio for only apple devicesAdaptable Sound Controller, high-quality LDAC Audio for only Android, Speak-to-Chat, 360-degree reality audio for some apps
Battery Capacity20 hours battery life30 hours battery life
Fast ChargingIn 5 minutes of charge, it provides 1.5 hours of playback timeIn 3 minutes of charge, it provides 3 hours of playback time
Weight0.85 pounds of weight0.55 pounds of weight
Charger TypeLightening ChargeUSB Type C
Colour VariationSilver, Pink, Space Gray, Sky Blue, and GreenWhite and Black
Wired SupportNoYes

Apple Airpods Max 


  • Great Sound
  • Superior quality typical of Apple 
  • Advance Technology
  • ANC


  • High cost
  • Most compatible with Apple devices
  • Uncomfortable and heavy
  • ANC sounds muffled
  • Ineffective and unsightly case
  • Very delicate

Sony WH-1000XM5


  • High quality
  • Solid microphone 
  • Excellent noise cancellation
  • Tangle-free cable
  • Travel bag


  • Expensive

Why Choose the Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless Earbuds Instead of Apple AirPods Max?

  • It comes with a detachable cable, allowing you to use other cords, and if the cable is stretched, it will pop instead of breaking. 
  • According to the manufacturer, the device’s battery life (while in use) is 30hvs20h, allowing 10 more hours of battery life. 
  • You need to charge the smartphone less frequently as the battery lasts longer.
  • It comes with a 3.5mm male connector: you may link various devices that use a 3.5mm jack by using this audio connection.
  • It’s approximately 134.8g lighter.
  • It comes with USB Type-C; reverse plug orientation and cable direction are features of USB Type-C.
  • It has a tangle-free cable.
  • The gadget comes with a mute option, so it can mute/unmute a call from the device itself.
  • AAC is the audio codec utilized by Bluetooth. 250kbps 24-bit audio is supported. It can deliver better outcomes than conventional codecs at a similar data rate since it uses psychoacoustic modeling.

Why Choose AirPods Max Max Over Sony WH-1000XM5?

  • It has a 10-millimeter-larger driver unit.
  • Adding one or more microphones improves sound quality and allows the device to block out background noise.
  • The time required to charge the battery entirely is 1.5 hours less than the longer charging time.
  • It has Dolby Atmos, which is a surround sound system that enables the perception of sounds as three-dimensional objects. Dolby Atmos enables immersive, 360-degree sound in this way.
  • It features a gyroscope, which is a sensor that monitors a device’s position, particularly by calculating the rate of angular momentum.
Apple AirPods Max headphones
Apple’s AirPods Max headphones are a great pick for people who love immersive, noise-cancelling listening experiences.

Sony WH-1000XM5 vs. AirPods Max: What’s the Difference?

You’ll notice that both the AirPods Max and Sony WH-1000XM5 look and feel good. But, Apple’s AirPods Max wins on innovation with its classy-looking stainless steel design, making the Sony WH-1000XM5‘s plastic design pale in comparison as it looks cheaper when placed side-by-side with the AirPods Max.

The AirPods Max also provides a more extensive range of colors to pick from to match your preferred style, including green, silver, space grey, sky blue, and pink. Unlike the Sony WH-1000XM5, which is limited to just the mundane white and black (though they still look very chic).

Some users prefer the AirPods Max’s physical control buttons more than the Sony WH-1000XM5’s sensor touch panels, mostly because Sony’s XM5’s touch-sensitive panels don’t always swiftly register some inputs.

Sony WH-1000XM5
The charging time of the Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones is approximately 3.5 hours.

As for the comfort factor, the Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones are the best pick because it weighs less at 0.55 pounds, unlike the AirPods Max, which weigh 0.85 pounds. This makes Sony’s product a better choice for long-term wearing.

The Sony WH-1000XM5’s case is a slim and attractive-looking mesh carrying case that creates ample space for the headphones and their accompanying cables. The AirPods Max’s case has drawn ridicule and scathing criticism because the carrying case barely covers the headphones. It would be best if you used the headband as a handle because the tiny layer of cloth on the pack only covers the AirPods Max’s outer ear cups.

Sound Quality

The two headphones are fabulous for sound quality; however, the AirPods Max is a given for iPhone users, while the Sony WH-1000XM5 is an excellent option for Android users.

When playing music with high-frequency audio, such as soothing audio with many vocals, you’ll find that your music sounds more immediate and sharp than it did on your AirPods Pro. The AirPods Max offers more vital high-frequency sounds for high-frequency audio.

Sony WH-1000XM5
The Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones use a Fine Sound Resistor for even power distribution.

Sony WH-1000XM5 produces more bass by default, but what can adjust it with a customizable equalizer (a feature that the AirPods Max lacks)? This customizable equalizer feature of the Sony XM5 series allows you to freely scroll through several settings that can make your audio sound quieter, bassy, vocal-inclined, and more, all to your preferences. It’s an excellent choice for individuals who prefer to set their prerequisites for listening to the audio on their headphones.

However, Apple users can still benefit tremendously from the AirPods Max with its Spatial Audio support feature. A function that distributes sounds throughout your body at specific locations to create a more immersive movie-watching experience and more realistic music. This feature uses Apple’s 360-degree audio technology.

The Sony WH-1000XM5, on the other hand, enables high-resolution audio with its LDAC encoding technology feature to be transmitted through Bluetooth on any Android device. With its 360-reality audio technology feature, the Sony WH-1000XM5 offers an alternative to Apple’s AirPods Max Spatial Audio that is usable with Android and iOS devices. However, only a few audio streaming services can offer this 360-reality functionality.

Active Noise Cancellation (ACN) and Ambient Sound

Both headphones, AirPods Max and Sony WH-1000XM5, are nearly on par with each other with regard to their noise-cancellation features.

The two headphones reduce background noise to the nearest minimum, making you sink into your music fully in its ACN mode. Even as they can filter background noise for a more fantastic feel, the two headphones also make it easy for you to stay conscious of your environment outdoors with its ambient sound mode.

Sony WH-1000XM5
The Sony WH-1000XM5 feature Personal Noise Cancelling Optimiser and Atmospheric Pressure Optimising


But, despite this great ANC and Ambient Sound quality that the two headphones offer, the WH-1000XM5 holds a higher advantage to users as it can automatically switch from ACN to Ambient Sound and vice versa with its Adaptable Sound Control Feature.

This Adaptable Sound Control feature uses your location information and phone sensors to decipher when to change from Ambient Sound to Noise Cancellation, or vice versa, according to your current location and what you are doing.

Not just the Adaptable Sound Control feature, the Sony WH-1000XM5 also provides a Speak-to-Chat feature that allows you to talk freely when on a call without having to stop your music. It is because the headphone automatically pauses your music for you when it notices you want to start talking.

So, with the automatic switch feature of the Sony WH-1000XM5 series to know when you require ambient sound and noise cancellation, the Sony WH-1000XM5 headphone is a better choice.

Battery Life

Supposing you are going for longer-lasting battery life, the Sony WH-1000XM5 headphone is the best option, with 30 hours of battery life that surpasses the AirPods Max’s 20 hours of battery life by a whopping 10 hours.

Sony WH-1000XM5
The Sony WH-1000XM5 last about 30 hours with NC on.

But, if the battery is not a concern, then you can make do with the AirPods Max, as it is proven to have more precise call sessions than the Sony WH-1000XM5, which is prone to creating echoes.

AirPods Max vs. Sony WH-1000XM5: Must-Know Facts

  • The AirPods Max headphones are a better choice for iOS users as it works seamlessly with them.
  • Using the AirPods Max headphone on an Android phone somewhat limits your user experience as many of its features are unavailable on Android.
  • The Sony WH-1000XM5 headphone can pair two devices simultaneously, so you can simultaneously use them for your computer and phone.
  • Unlike the AirPods Max headphone, Sony’s XM5 headphone provides a standard headphone jack of 3.5mm and a cable in case you need to use wiring.
  • The AirPods Max is well-optimized to fit Apple smartphones, making it less advisable for Android users.
  • Sony WH-1000XM5 work better on Android, though they work fine on any device.

AirPods Max vs. Sony WH-1000XM5: Which One is Better for You?

If you’re looking for an earbud that can do it all, the AirPods Max are the ones for you. It has the best sound quality of any other wireless headphones in this price range, plus it comes with a built-in mic and heart rate monitor.

But, if you want better battery life and more features such as noise cancellation, look no further than the Sony WH-1000XM5. It’s also compatible with Siri and Google Assistant, so you can use them to control your music.

AirPods Max have an internal battery that allows you to play music for up to 20 hours on a single charge (more than double what the original AirPods can do). It also comes with Bluetooth 5.0 and works with all iOS devices running iOS 12 or later.

But, while the AirPods Max improves on the original model in many ways, there are still plenty of reasons why you might want to skip it in favor of a pair of Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones — especially if you already have an iPhone 7, 8, or 8 Plus, as well as an iPad Pro 10.5-inch or 12.9-inch.

Another great feature that makes Sony’s XM5 headphones stand out from Apple’s is its Adaptable Sound Control feature. Plus, it comes with a fantastic case that can adequately protect the headphones. But, if you are using an iPhone and are okay with shelling out some extra cash, then the AirPods Max is still a great pick.

Overall, the Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones are difficult to overlook because of its great pricing, case, and ease of charging. They also demonstrate that Apple still has a lot to learn about over-ear consumer headphones, which is more telling.

Up Next…

Frequently Asked Questions

Are the AirPods Max good for gaming?

The quality, audio range, directional sound, noise cancellation, and microphone of the AirPods Max make them ideal gaming headphones. It doesn’t, however, connect well with non-Apple goods.

Does sound leak from AirPods Max?

The Apple AirPods Max perform reasonably well in terms of leaking. Despite some sound leakage across the spectrum, much of it is below the typical office’s decibel limit. Even when you have the music turned up loud, it shouldn’t likely bother anyone nearby.

How does the Sony WH-1000xm5 handle calls?

To answer the call, quickly tap the touch sensor control panel twice (each tap should take no more than 0.4 seconds).

How many devices can the Sony WH-1000XM5 connect to?

The headset supports connections from up to 8 devices at once. After joining the eight devices, if you try connecting a new device, the registration data for the first device with the earliest connection date is replaced with that of the new device.

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