When it comes to the best headphones, Sony is a brand that you should be very familiar with. Their flagship Sony WH-1000MX5 headphones have been regarded as the best on the market for a while now, pairing top notch audio with a sleek design and feature set.
They're far from cheap though, retailing around £350. Sitting beneath them in the Sony range are the Sony WH-CH720N's which we're reviewing today. These look to offer a great pair of wireless headphones at a price that is easier for most people to justify.
But do they hit the mark? Let's dive in and find out more.
Sony WH-CH720N headphones: Price and release date
The Sony WH-CH720N headphones retail at £99 / $149. Check the widgets on this page for the best pricing where you are. Even at retail though, that's a really strong price for a pair of headphones from a well-regarded brand. The model was launched on the 21st of February 2023.
Sony WH-CH720N headphones: What's new
These headphones follow on from the WH-CH710's, which are still available on the Sony website at the time of writing. So, what's new? Well, not a whole lot.
Perhaps most noticeably, there's been a redesign. The new cans are different to look at – good or bad will depend on your preference – with a definite lineage of inspiration from those WF-1000XM5's. They're not copycat's, but there's a distinctiveness to the lines that gives the whole line-up a bit more of an intentional feel. Personally, I like the design. They're sleek, if a little cluttered looking, but hardly offensive.
Inside, the main difference is an increase to the sensitivity of the drivers. That should give an increased dynamic range and allow for more detail to shine through. They also get a boost to Bluetooth 5.2, up from 5.0 on the previous iteration. Most won't notice that difference, but it's always nice to get the most up-to-date version on a new device.
Sony WH-CH720N headphones: Design
As mentioned above, the new design is much more in keeping with other Sony headphones in the range. There's no cloning going on – you'd still be able to pick each model out of a line-up – but everything just feels a bit more put together. The design itself is good – sleek and nice to look at, if not the sleekest we've ever seen.
The back of the can is interrupted only by a small metal microphone plate on either side. Along the bottom of each headphone are buttons and inputs for USB-C and 3.5mm jack cables.
The headband and headphones are covered in a white leather-effect material on all of the contact points with your head. It's soft and comfortable enough for it to never cause an issue in use.
Sony WH-CH720N headphones: Performance
The most important thing for any pair of headphones is how good they sound, and I'm pleased to report that the Sony WH-CH720N's sound good. Okay, there's nothing you'll write home about, but there's not much to complain about either.
Bass response is strong, with no muddiness in the lower-mid range that can often be the undoing of cheaper units. There's a good amount of detail in the midrange and high's are crystal clear. If I'm being really picky, I'd say that there's not really any personality to these headphones. It's hard to put a finger on exactly why that is, but the result doesn't leave me yearning to listen to more, like other units have.
Within the Sony Headphones app, you have full control over the EQ too, allowing you to adjust for your perfect balance. Personally, I found a setting I liked and stuck with it, and it feels like a set-it-and-forget-it approach is likely to be the best option here.
The active noise cancellation is really powerful. When engaged, all external noise was blocked out – I couldn't even hear someone shouting my name from three-feet away in a quiet room, much to the annoyance of those around me.
The more transparent parts of the adaptive sound left something to be desired though. When I first had it engaged, I tested it by clicking my fingers and was pleased. The audio seemed to duck out of the way of the transient sounds in the room. Similar results came when typing, with each key press audible over the sound I was listening to.
However, it still struggled to pick up voices and relay those. Similarly, doorbells and other sounds that didn't happen in the direct vicinity of the unit stayed blocked out. I definitely wouldn't feel comfortable wearing these in settings where I needed the option of hearing what was going on around me – you won't catch me wandering across the street with these on, for example.
In use, these are comfortable to wear. I found myself able to sit and listen for a couple of hours without fatigue. After that, though, I found they got too hot – something that most over-ear headphones struggle with.
Battery life is impressive, too. I had to actively work to drain the battery in when testing them, and they'd easily get through a week of normal listening conditions. My usage suggests around 24 hours of ANC-enabled listening is possible.
You'll be glad of that too, because they take an age to charge. It took about three hours for me to get them back to 100% from dead, which feels extortionate in an age of fast charging. The included charging cable is also incredibly short – around six inches or so – so make sure you have a platform near your wall socket if you don't want to leave your headphones dangling against the wall.
Sony WH-CH720N headphones: Verdict
In short, if you want a good pair of over-ear headphones and don't want to spend a fortune, these are definitely worth your time. Sure, there's better stuff out there, but you'll pay for it.
For some, the extra features are worthwhile, but I'd wager that many more just want something stylish, reliable and long-lasting. If that sounds like you, I think the Sony WH-CH720N's will be a hit.