Sonos Ace vs Sony WH-1000XM5: What’s the difference?

Sonos has just announced its first-ever pair of over-ear headphones, Sonos Ace, marking the brand’s “long-awaited entry into the personal listening category”. 

How does the Sonos Ace compare to Sony’s WH-1000XM5 headphones? Although we haven’t reviewed the Sonos Ace yet, we have spent time with the Sony WH-1000XM5 and awarded them with a perfect five-star rating. 

With that in mind, we’ve compared the specs and features of the new Sonos Ace to the Sony WH-1000XM5 so you can get an idea of which headphones are better suited for you.

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Sonos Ace has 40mm dynamic drivers

The Sonos Ace has a custom-designed 40mm dynamic driver in each ear cup to deliver “superior precision and clarity.”  

In comparison, the Sony WH-1000XM5 has a specially designed 30mm driver unit which Sony explains improves high-frequency sensitivity for more natural sound quality and enhances noise cancelling too.

As we haven’t tested the Sonos Ace yet, it’s hard to say whether the 40mm drivers will result in a better sound to the Sony WH-1000XM5, especially as Kob Monney concluded the headphones “remain the best-sounding headphones at their price”.

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Both have Active Noise Cancellation (ANC)

As is now standard with most premium headphones, both the Sonos Ace and Sony WH-1000XM5 feature Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) technology. For ANC to work, microphones in headphones detect and actively counter external sounds to provide a more immersive listening experience. 

Both the Sonos Ace and Sony WH-1000XM5 use eight microphones to detect and counter external sounds. Again, while we haven’t tested the ANC of the Sonos Ace yet, we were impressed with the Sony WH-1000XM5’s capabilities with Kob noting that “when faced with sharp, screeching sounds the 1000XM5 dull the edges to make them less noticeable”.

Speaking of microphones, both the Sonos Ace and Sony WH-1000XM5 also feature beamforming microphones that target voice pickup and suppress background noise. In fact, the WH-1000XM5 has Sony’s Precise Voice Pickup Technology, which uses its four beamforming microphones alongside an AI-based noise reduction algorithm to isolate your voice, whether you’re indoors or outdoors, for industry-leading call quality.

Both have 30-hours of battery life

Both the Sonos Ace and Sony WH-1000XM5 boast impressive battery life with up to 30 hours of music playback with noise cancelling turned on. The Sony WH-1000XM5 promises a maximum of 40 hours when noise cancelling is switched off too.  

Both headphones also offer a convenient fast battery top-up, with just three minutes plugged in providing three hours of battery life.

Sony WH-1000XM5 is cheaper

The WH-1000XM5 currently has a cheaper RRP than the Sonos Ace, at just £299, and is also available to buy now. The Sonos Ace has an RRP of £449 / €499 / $449 and is currently available for pre-order, ready to ship from 5th June 2024.

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