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Sony claims its new earbuds won’t suffer battery drain problems like the WF-1000XM4

Sony claims its new earbuds won’t suffer battery drain problems like the WF-1000XM4


The company has made tweaks to the charging algorithm in the $300 WF-1000XM5 earbuds that should help improve the longevity of their built-in batteries.

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A photo of Sony’s WF-1000XM5 earbuds.
Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge

An issue that has slowly reared its head over the lifespan of Sony’s otherwise excellent WF-1000XM4 earbuds is one centered around battery drain. As I mentioned in my review of the brand-new WF-1000XM5, a significant number of people who bought the company’s last flagship earbuds have encountered this problem — to the point that the Sony Headphones subreddit has done a painstaking job of documenting it.

Although there’s never been a recall or official replacement program, Sony seems well aware of the issue by now. And at least in the United States, customers often have a relatively easy time getting a replacement pair of 1000XM4 earbuds under warranty (or sometimes even out of warranty). Obtaining a new set in other countries can be more of a hassle, however, so ahead of the 1000XM5 announcement, I pressed Sony for answers about whether this model risks sharing any battery longevity concerns.

The answer seems to be no.

In a statement from Sony Electronics provided by spokesperson Chloe Canta, the company said that “similar issues won’t happen because we have optimized the charging algorithm.” No other details were provided — Sony can be a little terse when it comes to these things — so naturally, I’ve asked for more in the way of specifics.

A closeup photo of Sony’s WF-1000XM4 earbuds.
Some customers have encountered battery issues with the WF-1000XM4 earbuds released in 2021.
Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge

But based on that language, the WF-1000XM5 earbuds were apparently designed to resolve this problem from the start. Hopefully, the new buds are smarter about battery management and preventing wear over the course of many recharge cycles. It’s also feasible that Sony has quietly made other changes related to the batteries used in the 1000XM5.

Battery endurance seems to be a challenge shared by several of Sony’s different earbud models. The company has previously issued firmware updates aimed at reducing “the burden on the battery” and alleviating “the loss of battery capacity due to long-term use.” But 1000XM4 owners have observed the battery drain problem within a year of buying the expensive earbuds.

A screenshot of a Sony earbuds firmware update.
A February firmware update for Sony’s LinkBuds S was specifically targeted at battery issues.
andresga2 (Reddit)

Sony’s new flagship earbuds don’t begin shipping to customers until early August, but this is something I’ll be keeping an eye on over the coming months. Hopefully, the algorithm tweaks and any other improvements Sony has made will help buyers feel more confident about the 1000XM5 earbuds lasting longer into the future.

In a perfect world, these consumable batteries would be easier to replace ourselves once they start having a tougher time holding a charge. Wireless earbuds are tiny with a lot of delicate components, but hopefully, we’ll get there eventually.