All major audio brands look to the Sony WH-1000XM5 as the gold standard when designing their flagship wireless headphones. (You can read our review of the Sony WH-1000XM5 here.) The JBL Tour One M2 sells for a $100 less than the XM5. Can it come close to the performance and design of the XM5? Or could it even be better?
Look and Feel
The our One M2 is a little heavier than the XM5, though both are equally sleek in their appearance. Since it seems to have fewer parts and more sturdy material, the XM5 appears to be the more durable of the two. I found the fit equally comfortable on both headphone models, and neither felt obtrusive or fatiguing after extended listening sessions.
Design and Functionality
Both, the XM5 and Tour One M2 have only 30 hours of playtime with the ANC on. But with the ANC turned off, The Tour One will give you 50 hours of charge. And charging the Tour One M2 for only ten minutes will provide a 5 hours of play. With the XM5’s ANC off, you can get 40 plus hours of battery usage.
The Tour One M2 offers Bluetooth 5.3 LE, which is the latest version, guaranteeing a reliable connection. Pairing both headphones is easy, and they connect almost immediately. The XM5 is equipped with Bluetooth version 5.2, which, while not the latest version, still provides a highly reliable connection. And during listening sessions, I never encountered any interruptions.
Neither headphone offers many hi-res codecs (AAC, SBC), though the XM5 also supports Sony’s LDAC.
ANC (Active Noise Cancellation)
I was surprised to find that the Tour One M2 had slightly more powerful ANC than the XM5. It just seemed to kill more office hum and drown out higher frequencies.
The Sony WH-1000XM5 had far superior call quality to the Tour One M2. The voice was brighter, crisper and more forward. But I experienced no dropouts or interruptions with either headphones.
Both headphones come with accompanying apps that give you complete control over your equalizer settings. In addition, both apps will allow you to adjust Ambient/ANC Modes. In fact, Sony’s app has so many adjustable controls, it may be too much to list here. But JBL also has some interesting features as well, including Person-Fi, which conducts a hearing test to optimize the sound specifically for your ears to customize the sound.
The sense of space is more expansive on the Tour One. It displays more dimension in terms of height, width and depth and because the separation is superior and the mids slightly more forwards, the instrument placement feels more precise. So, the Tour One’s soundstage is the more colorful of the two.
The low-end is a bit more aggressive on the XM5. But the bass on the Tour One is tighter and cleaner. The bass on the XM5 has a somewhat veiled quality and it bleeds a little in the higher frequencies. In contrast, the bass on the Tour One sounds clear and always stays in its lane, never overpowering the higher frequencies.
Generally, the mids feel cleaner on the Tour One than they do on the XM5. Again, the XM5 has a slightly veiled character in the mids. And given that the upper mids are brighter and more prominent on the Tour One, the whole profile feels more dynamic better delineated. In contrast the XM5 presents a softer, more lush mix. But, in terms of resolution, the Tour One M2 seems to have the upper hand in this range.
The Tour Oe M2 offers more sparkle in the highs, giving shine to percussion and a lightness and glow to vocals. The XM5, on the other had, has a darker profile with more rolled-off highs. So, the Tour One delivers more in this range. That being said, those who have a particular sensitivity to high frequencies may find the XM5 a more forgiving listen.
In terms of sound quality, the JBL Tour One M2 seems to offer better resolution. It has a cleaner sound with more revealings mids and highs. It also has slightly more powerful ANC. On the flip side, the sound signature on the XM5 is super warm and easy on the ears, while the build quality feels a little more solid. The Sony app also offers tons of features, and has superior call clarity. All that being said, if you’re looking for the best bang for you buck, the JBL Tour One M2 is hard to beat.