- The Sony WH-CH720N are the latest in Sony’s CH700 series, which brings ANC at an affordable price point.
- What makes the WH-CH-720N remarkable is their ANC performance, which is streets ahead of anything under $150 / Rs 10,000.
- At $148 / Rs 9,990, the Sony WH-CH720N are perhaps the best value for money Bluetooth headphones in their price segment.
When it comes to active noise cancellation (ANC), performance generally tends to vary with price. The more you pay, the more your earbuds or headphones will keep those annoying external sounds at bay. As a result, you often have to shell out something in excess of Rs 10,000 for good ANC, and often even more than that when you are looking at over-the-ear headphones – something like the Sony WH 1000 XM5 or the Bose QC45 will deliver excellent ANC but will put you back by something in the range of Rs 25,000 – Rs 30,000.
You can get headphones with ANC for much lower prices (some even below Rs 5,000). With low prices comes low ANC, too, so much so that we suspect that ANC at some of the lower-priced options exists purely as a spec sheet padder.
Sony is looking to change that with the WH-CH720N. The over-ear headphones deliver surprisingly good ANC, and that too at a relatively affordable price tag of $148 / Rs 9,990.
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Sony WH-CH720N: Smart in design, light (almost too light) in weight
The first thing that struck us about the Sony WH-CH720N was just how light they were. At 192 grams, they are actually lighter than many smartphones out there and seem even more so because that weight is spread over a larger area. That does make them easier to carry around but also gives them an almost fragile feeling at times. The headphones are made almost totally of plastic, although there seems to be a hint of metal in the headband. The padding in the ear cups and on the headband is adequate, although we would not call it the most cushioned, we have seen in the segment. The earcups have hinges but can rotate only 90 degrees and cannot fold 360 degrees or even inwards toward the headband. So while they are light enough to carry, they will take up some space.
Their design is a little on the plain side, with the cups only marked by tiny microphone grilles on their outer parts. The right and left earcups are marked on the inside of the headband rather than on the earcups themselves. There is Sony branding on the headband area just above the cups. There are no touch controls on the headphones, with Sony opting for a button-driven interface. The left earcup has the power on/off button, while the right one has volume up and down buttons with a pause button in the middle, as well as a dedicated button for ANC. The buttons seem a little on the cheap side in terms of construction. They are a little shaky but work well enough. The left cup also has a USB Type C port for charging and a 3.5 mm audio jack.
The cups and band have a matte finish which does not pick up stains and fingerprints easily. Still, we would recommend getting a carrying case or a bag for them – there is none in the box. You get the headphones in three colors – black, white, and Sony’s very trademark blue. We got the black unit, and it is smart enough but will not really attract attention. We also do wish brands would go back to making cups that rotate inwards into the headband – they make them so much more portable and easier to pack into a case.
Sony WH-CH720N: Comfortable to wear, easy to pair (use the app!)
The Sony WH-CH720N were a comfortable fit for us, covering our ears easily and with the headband getting the pressure levels just right – tight enough to keep the cups stable even if you move your head, but not too tight to be downright uncomfortable.
Pairing the Sony WH-CH720N with a device is easy. The power button also doubles up as the Bluetooth pairing button. Long press it and choose the headphones from the list of Bluetooth devices. However, if you are planning to use headphones with iOS and/or Android devices, then we would recommend using Sony’s Headphone Connect app to connect the headphones. The app can seem a little intimidating at times, but it comes with a number of excellent options, such as noise-canceling controls as well as a graphic equalizer, and the option also to use 360-degree sound.
Sony WH-CH720N: Deliver good sound
We are going to say this upfront – you will not buy the Sony WH-CH720N for their audio quality. It is not, as the headphones do not have good sound. The 30 mm drivers in the Sony WH-CH720N deliver some very decent sound. It is not as bass-heavy as some other Sony headphones and actually is close to a slightly balanced output, although it can sound a little crowded at times. The Sony WH-CH720N are very good headphones for those who want to listen to mainstream music, watch shows, or use them while playing action-centric games. They are also impressively clear for podcast and audiobook followers. And the equalizer in the app gives you plenty of options to tweak settings as well as set your own if you so wish.
That said, if you are looking for high-quality analytical-level audio or enjoy jazz and classical music, or even want headphones with a wide soundstage (for those vast landscape films and shows), these are not the headphones for you. Rather strangely, there is no support for Sony’s own high-quality LDAC codec, with only AAC and SBC formats supported. The ability to get 360-degree audio, too, is available only through paid services.
Sony WH-CH720N: Deliver stunning ANC
Where the Sony WH-CH720N totally shine is in the ANC department. We have become accustomed to ANC being basically a collection of initials rather than a feature at this price point, but the Sony WH-CH720N deliver ANC that is not just the best we have heard in the price segment but is actually comparable with that available on headphones that are price twice as much. We found the headphones were able to eliminate a lot of the sound of traffic and even reduced the slightly inconsistent clutter of a noisy cafe. They generate enough silence to be too dangerous to be worn while walking on the street.
Fortunately, the headphones also come with an excellent Ambient Sound mode, allowing external sounds to come in when one is outdoors. There is even a Voice Passthrough option that allows voices to come in when one is in Ambient Sound mode while suppressing other sounds.
What’s more, Sony has thrown in plenty of customization options with the ANC too. The app comes with Adaptive Sound Control. If switched, this adjusts the ANC and ambient sound depending on your activity. By default, it has four options – Staying, Walking, Running, and Riding a Vehicle. When the headphones detect you are Staying (being still, not moving much) or Riding a Vehicle, they turn on ANC, and when they detect you are Walking or Running, Ambient Sound is turned on. You can also tweak the settings to activate ANC and Ambient Sound depending on your location.
The important part is that all this is not marketing hype – it works. At this price point, getting features like these that actually deliver is unheard of.
Round that off with battery life that is 30-35 hours with ANC on and almost 50 hours without ANC, very good call quality (a pleasant surprise at this price point), and very good multipoint connectivity that lets you connect to two devices simultaneously and switch between them, and the Sony WH-CH720N emerge as one of the best ANC headphones for under Rs 10,000 for enterprise users. We think that the Sony WH-CH720N are better than the ANC on Sony’s own WH-1000 XM3 and is not too far behind the still-very-good WH-1000XM4. Just remember to be patient while charging them – they charge over USB Type C but take about three and a half hours to get fully charged. The battery life does ensure that you can get through close to a week on a single charge.
Sony WH-CH720N Review Verdict: Worth buying?
At $148 / Rs 9,990, the Sony WH-CH720N are hands-down the best ANC headphones you can get for $150 / Rs 10,000. Those who want better audio quality can perhaps consider the Sennheiser HD 450BT, which is often available for about Rs 9,000 and delivers much better audio but stumbles badly in the ANC department. Those who have headphones with ANC and a bit of thump can consider Sony’s own WH-XB910N, which is slightly more expensive at approximately Rs 11,000 but comes with impressive ANC and a very bass-driven sound (a review of that is coming up – stay tuned!). And well, if you are looking for near professional level audio, there’s the ATH-M20x BT, which was launched at a higher price but is now available at sub-Rs 10,000.
But if what you want is good sound, great ANC, good calling, and superb battery life, all for under $150/Rs 10,000, the Sony WH-CH720N are a no-brainer. We would go so far as to say that they are the best overall headphones you can get for under Rs 10,000.
- Very good ANC for the price
- Good sound quality (with just a touch of bass)
- Good battery life
- Very good for calls
- Button driven controls
- Multipoint connectivity
- Just too light (makes them appear fragile)
- No case
- Some users might expect touch controls
- Do not fold up conveniently
- 360-degree sound is only available with paid apps
ANC and Calls
Ease of Use
Sony WH-CH720N Review: At $148 / Rs 9,990, the Sony WH-CH720N are perhaps the best value for money Bluetooth headphones in their price segment.