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Leak confirms Sony flagship headphone design, casts doubt on improved battery life

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Pictures of the WH-1000XM5’s retail packaging have emerged

Apparent retail packaging for the Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones.
Image: u/Chez5160

Pictures of the apparent retail packaging for Sony’s upcoming flagship headphones, the WH-1000XM5, have leaked on Reddit, suggesting the successor to the excellent WH-1000XM4 could be just around the corner. The images appear to confirm the previously rumored design for the new headphones, which includes a thinner headband and redesigned connector with the left and right earcups.

Unfortunately, the new leak calls into question a previous report from TechnikNews, which claimed that the headphones would see improved battery life when used with active noise cancellation (ANC). The retail packaging says the headphones will have a battery life of 30 hours, 10 hours less than the 40 hours that was previously reported, and the same as what the current model, the XM4, offers.

The Walkman Blog speculates that the 40-hour figure could still be accurate, but represents battery life when the headphones are used with a more power-efficient audio codec (such as with AAC rather than LDAC). For reference, the XM4’s battery life could be extended up to 38 hours when listening using the SBC codec, and with most of its other features like ANC turned off.

Other listed features on the packaging include support for Sony’s 360 Reality Audio format (which was also supported by the XM4 headphones), and built-in support for voice assistants.

It’s currently unclear when the headphones might be officially announced, or what their price might be. For reference, Sony’s WH-1000XM4 cost $349.99 when they were released in August 2020. MacRumors notes that the confidentiality date on FCC filings relating to the headphones will be up on August 8th, but given retail packaging is already appearing, we’d expect the headphones to be released a lot sooner than that.