Are These Budget Noise Cancelling Headphones Good Enough?
With Sony being the king of the hill with their WH-1000XM3, it’s nice to see them offering up a mid-ranged budget ANC true wireless headphone for those who have less to spend on a pair of quality headphones.
There aren’t many quality budget noise cancelling headphones on the market, and Sony knows that.
So how does this mid-ranger compare to its more expensive counter-part?
Let’s find out in this Sony WH-CH700N Review…
At only 240grams, these headphones are comparatively lightweight when compared to other headphones in the same price range. And they come in two colors, namely blue and black.
The plastic feels durable and textured with a vinyl padded headband that helps with comfort. Extensions on the headband are stainless steel and feel like they won’t be breaking soon. The headband itself is nice and big and will fit most people comfortably.
The ear cushions are nice, big, and padded with vinyl as well. They are designed spaciously, which keeps your ears cool for quite a while, but some heat build-up is expected with prolonged use.
For these headphones, Sony is skipping on the touch controls and is using actual buttons on the side. And we actually prefer the physical buttons for ease of use. The touch gestures are nice but lack nuance, and it’s easy to mess up every now and then. With physical buttons skipping songs or changing volume is fast and easy.
The only complaint is that with a smaller budget, some extras were cut. And there is no carry case or pouch provided with the headphones so you will need to buy your own.
How Do They Sound?
Sony really steps up their game when it comes to sound quality for headphones at this price range. Providing their high-end DSEE HX, which gives will provide you with high-quality audio codecs; however, it won’t support Sony’s LDAC, which is unfortunate.
Listening to music on the headphones as an average consumer, you wouldn’t hear too much of a difference between the CH700N and their more expensive counter-part the 1000XM3. Sony provides a very neutral and authentic sounding mid-range with bright highs and clear vocals.
Although for fans of EDM and Hip-Hop, the bass lacks some depth and might leave you wanting more. However, the large 40 mm drivers sound better than most other headphones in this price range and are well suited for budget buyers.
The microphone is definitely one of the areas where Sony cut some corners. It’s not the best, and we would not advise anyone to buy these headphones as a headset for teaching online or doing business. The microphone isn’t very loud and is a little tinny, so you need to speak very loudly to get through.
It’s not that bad that, but if the quality of voice is important to you, we wouldn’t recommend the headphones.
As stated, these headphones do not support Sony’s LDAC, which is a bit of a let-down. However, Sony does offer AptX HD support, which vastly improves audio latency at higher streaming codecs.
These headphones use Bluetooth version 4.1 and can, unfortunately, only connect to one device at a time. So, for any hardcore headphone users who like to switch between devices at the speed of light, you will need to disconnect and reconnect to a different device every time they switch.
Noise Cancellation On A Budget?
This is where things get a little messy. Providing true ANC technology doesn’t come cheap and is, unfortunately, another thing that lets these headphones down.
It’s not really there. The headphones do well to cancel out some low hum and noises, but anything in the upper mid-range pierces through the headphones with no end in sight.
In a loud restaurant or coffee shop, people talking in the background will still be audible with the noise cancellation on. Using it on your morning commute, you’d still hear the passing of vehicles.
It’s still better than nothing and definitely when you consider the price. But it’s important to keep in mind when considering what you want out of these headphones, and where you will be using them.
It’s a pleasure that Sony is integrating these apps on most of its new Bluetooth devices. Nothing beats having Alexa read your messages to you or setting up calendar events by voice assist.
Plus, there is the option to remap your ANC key to be a dedicated Alexa or Google Assistant key, which is also very convenient.
Sony is bragging about their battery life, the CH700N, and for a good reason. With ANC on, you can expect at least 37 hours of battery life and over 45 hours with it off.
However, unfortunately, the Sony WH-CH700N is equipped with micro-USB, which means no fast charging. Therefore, you can expect 1 hour of playback time with a 10-minute charge, which isn’t bad, but not great either.
Sony WH-CH700N Pros & Cons
- Great build quality.
- Clear sound.
- AptX HD and assistant support.
- Comfortable and long battery life.
- Noise cancelling is almost non-existent.
- Slow to charge.
- No case or pouch included.
So, luckily, the pros still outweigh the cons for this budget mid-ranger, but only just.
If you’re not 100% sure if the WH-CH700N are the right fit for you, it’s well worth checking out our in-depth reviews of the Skullcandy Crusher Wireless, the AKG N60NC, the Sony WH 1000XM2, the Bose Quietcomfort 25, the Bowers and Wilkins PX5, and the Beats Studio3 Wireless.
Lightweight, sturdy, and packed with a long-lasting battery, these headphones are for anyone who is on the move and on a budget. Regardless of the negatives, at this price, you’d find it difficult to find any better noise cancelling headphones than what’s on offer here.
If you’d want anything better, you’d have to look at the Sony WH 1000XM3 or the Bose QuietComfort 35 II, which are both priced well above the Sony WH-CH700N.
Happy and enjayable listening.