When it comes to the best noise canceling headphones, Sony’s WH-1000XM4 is hard to beat. However, they also have a rather eye-watering price tag that prices them out of consideration for the majority of consumers.
With this in mind, Sony brings you the WH-CH700N. Coming in at a significantly lower price, they offer active noise-canceling technology and a host of other features for the more budget-conscious listener.
While they are never going to outperform their more expensive stablemate, they have a lot going for them. If you can’t justify splashing out on the top-of-the-range model, the WH-CH700N makes an excellent alternative.
Let’s find out why in our in-depth Sony WH-CH700N Review…
- 1 Sony WH-CH700N Overview
- 2 What’s in the Box
- 3 Design and Build Quality
- 4 Comfort
- 5 Controls
- 6 Battery life
- 7 Connectivity and Bluetooth
- 8 How good is the Active Noise Cancelling?
- 9 How does the Sony WH-CH700N Sound?
- 10 Sony WH-CH700N Review – Pros and Cons
- 11 Looking for Something Else?
- 12 Sony WH-CH700N Review – Final Thoughts
Sony WH-CH700N Overview
Style: Over-ear wireless
Noise Cancelling: ANC
Dynamic Frequency Response: 7Hz – 20,000Hz
What’s in the Box
You’ll find the Sony WH-CH700N well-packed and protected in a sturdy cardboard box. The headphones come with a micro-USB charging cable, a cable for wired listening, and the usual instruction manual.
It was a little disappointing to note the absence of any carrying case. Although this can be purchased separately, it’s generally par for the course for a case to be included as part of the package.
Design and Build Quality
The Sony WH-CH700N is completely constructed from plastic and not what you’d call the premium kind. This choice was made to keep the cost down. On the plus side, it makes them incredibly light.
Weighing just 218 grams, they are some of the best lightweight wireless headphones. This is about as light as a set of ANC headphones get. Despite the lack of a carrying case, the lack of weight makes them some of the best travel headphones as well.
On the downside…
The overall longevity of these headphones is questionable due to the nature of the materials. There’s a fair amount of creaking going on when taking them on and off.
As a result, we were overly cautious about putting the WH-CH700N through a serious stress test due to a genuine fear of breaking them.
On the upside…
Whilst not being the most attractive headphones out there, they aren’t the ugliest either. Understated is the word that springs to mind. You can choose between classic matte black or a slightly more jazzed-up blue version. And although the headband isn’t hinged, the ear cups swivel 90 degrees taking up slightly less space when in transit.
The large oval-shaped ear cups are big enough to accommodate the vast majority of ear sizes (Andre the Giant aside). They are decently padded with a plush memory foam that, whilst not very deep, provided ample levels of comfort, even after five to six hours of use.
The headband is covered with the same memory foam. It exerts the right amount of clamping force to keep them on your head without causing any undue distress. It’s also got a wide degree of adjustability that will house most heads, large or small. As a result, these are some of the best fitting headphones you can buy.
Trade-offs with a closed-back design…
Breathability isn’t the best, but that’s just the nature of the beast when it comes to closed-back, over-the-ear headphones. If you want the outside world kept out and your tunes kept in, then this is the price you have to pay.
As a result, there is a noticeable temperature rise after extended use, but it’s not high enough to cause any serious discomfort and certainly no worse than other similar designs.
That being said, you probably wouldn’t want to use these as work-out headphones as they would get too sweaty, and they don’t have any kind of IPX water resistance rating.
Sony kept the controls simple and functional on the WH-CH700N. Playback controls can be found on the bottom of the right ear cup. Sony has opted for tactile buttons rather than the more up-to-date touch/swipe controls you now see on newer models.
Some may see this as a technological step back, but not many companies have managed to master the touch control system. And it’s often prone to miscommunications that quickly become annoying. This isn’t a problem with the WH-CH700N, and the system is very easy to get used to.
Three buttons control most functions…
The center button is multi-functional, controlling pause/play and answering/ending phone calls. You can also summon your virtual assistant by holding down this button. The two buttons on either side control volume and track selection.
A fourth button allows you to turn the active noise cancellation feature on and off. The left ear cup is home to the input for wired listening, the micro-USB charging port, and the power button.
If you’re not a fan of having to charge your headphones every day, then you’ll appreciate the outstanding battery life of the Sony WH-CH700N. Under our testing conditions of a constant 75dB output, they lasted an impressive 42.5 hours of continuous playback. And this was with the ANC on.
You can rest assured that with the ANC turned off, you’re looking at something in the region of 50 plus hours. Those are outstanding numbers and a real feather in the cap for these headphones. No doubt, they are among the best battery life ANC headphones on the market today.
Excellent quick charging…
Micro-USB charging ensures that they aren’t the fastest of chargers. They took a full five hours to fully recharge. On the bright side, a quick 15-minute charge will give you almost three hours of playback if you’re in a hurry. A wired playback is also an option if things come to that. Although, 42 hours should cover most listener’s needs.
Connectivity and Bluetooth
The Sony WH-NH700N can be paired in two ways. Hold down the power button to enter pairing mode and locate your device in the Bluetooth settings of your phone. Alternatively, they can be paired via NFC if you have an Android phone. Just hold your phone next to the NFC logo, and your phone will do the rest.
The WH-CH700nN comes equipped with 4.1 Bluetooth technology, and the connection remains solid up to 10-12 meters. Stray nearer 20 meters, and things start to break up. Anything over that, forget it.
Sony has included a decent range of codec support, including AAC, SBC, aptX, and aptX HD. Meaning high-quality audio files are well-supported, and there is very little in the way of latency when using the headphones to watch a video.
How good is the Active Noise Cancelling?
In all honesty, the WH-CH700N isn’t quite as efficient at blocking the outside world as its more expensive cousins, but it still does a reasonably effective job. Whereas the WH-1000XM4 will virtually eliminate environmental intrusion across the frequency range, the WH-CH700N struggles at the lower end.
This means that engine, train, or plane noises will seep through, albeit at a lower volume. On a positive note, it deals with upper frequencies very effectively. If ANC ability is top of your priority list, then you should probably look into spending a little more on a higher-end model.
On a side note, the WH-CH700N can also be switched over to ambient mode, using the built-in microphones to pipe in environmental noises. This is particularly useful if you need to hear a train or plane announcement and don’t want to pause your listening.
How does the Sony WH-CH700N Sound?
Headphones can have all the latest tech available, but if they fall down in the sound department, what’s the point? Fortunately, the WH-CH700N has a rather pleasing sound profile.
Sony has a reputation for bass-centric sound reproduction, but that isn’t the case here. That’s not to say that a punchy and energetic bass isn’t present. It certainly is, it’s just not the primary focus.
The mid-range is the star here…
If you’re a fan of vocal or instrumentally lead music, then these headphones are an ideal fit for you. They reproduce voices and instrumentation engagingly and excitingly.
But, if you generally listen to pumping bass tracks, then we’d advise you to steer clear. For everyone else, the Sony WH-CH700N has a nicely balanced sound profile that will not disappoint.
Sony WH-CH700N Review – Pros and Cons
- Exceptional value.
- Simple/tactile controls.
- High comfort levels.
- Long-lasting battery.
- Top codec support.
- A neutral sound profile.
- Average ANC.
- Questionable durability.
Looking for Something Else?
Our expanding selection of audio gear has something for everyone. So, check out our in-depth Sennheiser PXC 550-II Review, our Skullcandy Indy True Wireless Review, our Sony MDR-7506 Review, our AKG K240 Studio Review, and our Monolith M1060 Headphone Review for amazing items you can buy in 2021.
And don’t miss our comprehensive reviews of the Best Wireless Workout Headphones, the Best Wireless TV Speakers, the Best Waterproof Headphones for Swimming, the Best Karaoke Microphones, and the Best In-Ceiling Speakers currently on the market.
Sony WH-CH700N Review – Final Thoughts
In the current year, you’ll find it very hard to find a better performing set of noise-canceling headphones at this price. The lightweight build, exceptionally long battery life, and pleasing sound profile make the Sony WH-CH700N a remarkably nice set of cans with great value.
If, on the other hand, you want a top-of-the-range ANC to go with all that, these headphones don’t quite make the cut. You’d also be expecting far too much for such a meager outlay. For most listeners, the Sony WH-CH700N does more than enough to make the grade, and only the truly fussy buyer could pick holes in such a bargain.
So, until next time, happy listening.