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Technology: We tested Sony’s XM5 headphones

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In the competitive jungle of the noise canceling headphones market, Sony has just added a fifth opus of your choice. The first impression of this new helmet, tested in its cream version, is its lightness: only 250 grams on the scale. The Japanese manufacturer’s intention to now build its helmets with recycled, automobile-made ABS plastic, such as packaging, has something to do with this: while it looks a little less “premium” in the materials used than some competitors, its design of great sobriety and its ecological virtues certainly bring an advantage. The lead comes naturally, with real comfort in the main frame, while the sound is, as is often the case with Sony, very rich. Depending on the tracks, the instruments or vocals stand out clearly, the bass is round without being too intrusive, even if the pure acoustic quality sometimes feels a little behind the previous version, the XM4.

In a bubble

On the other hand, where the headphones excel is in active noise reduction. The microphones, whose number has doubled, perfectly play their role of controsound and listening you really feel in a bubble, without particular oppression. Calls are also perfectly clear, while the “talk to chat” feature is an advantage: Ambient mode starts as soon as you speak. Another notable change: it doesn’t fold. The result is a little overweight for the reception. On the practical side, the autonomy is more than enough, with more than 30 hours on paper and a fast recharge capacity to avoid frustration: in three minutes you are back for three hours of listening. Alexa and Google Assistant allow for intuitive voice control, with the home app for the rest of the advanced features. Also available in an equally delicate black version. A good year despite a rising price.

Price: 419 euros.

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Creative Zen Hybrid headphones.  A foldable and lightweight model.

Creative Zen Hybrid headphones. A foldable and lightweight model.DR

Creative Zen Hybrid

Creativity comes out with nice surprises from time to time, like these ANC (Active Noise Reduction) headphones whose microphones filter out up to 95% of surrounding noise and make conversations crystal clear. Charging is ultra-fast, five minutes for five hours of music and 27 hours when fully charged. In addition to being foldable, it’s ready for immersive Super X-Fi technology, which should arrive shortly on select PCs and TVs. Extra light, with its 271 grams, it is guaranteed for two years. Price: € 109.99.

ATH-M20xBT from Audio-Technica.  Without active noise reduction but very low price.

ATH-M20xBT from Audio-Technica. Without active noise reduction but very low price.DR

Audio-Technica, ATH-M20xBT

Let’s not change a listening that wins. Audio-Technica therefore reiterates with the release of a wireless version, inspired by the professional headphones of the M series. We salute the record autonomy, with almost 60 hours of listening. Equipped with 40mm transducers with neodymium magnets and aluminum coils, it offers crystal clear acoustics. Two devices can pair with it, low latency for games. No noise reduction, however, for this very affordable model. Price: 89 euros.

Skullcandy's Inequality Crusher.  : a multicolored Evo to support the LGBTQIA + cause.

Skullcandy’s Inequality Crusher. : a multicolored Evo to support the LGBTQIA + cause.DR

Skullcandy, Crusher Inequality

Skullcandy’s flagship Evo model wears colors to support the LGBTQIA + cause (part of the profits will be donated). A limited edition for this helmet that is elegant, comfortable to wear and efficient at the same time. Wireless, the Inequality stands out with volume control keys, good bass management or even a 40-hour battery life and fast charging. Better still, it has the integrated “Tile” tracking system, so you can find it in case of loss. Price: 199 euros.

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