- Sony’s WH-CH720N comes with an integrated V1 processor for effective noise cancellation.
- Sony claims that the headphones offer up to 50-hour use on a single charge.
- The headphones support multi-point connectivity.
Sony is widely known as an industry leader when it comes to offering active noise cancellation (ANC) on headphones. And while most OEMs are focusing on the TWS segment, Sony continues to focus on both TWS earbuds and over-the-ear headphones. Last year, we tested the Sony WH-1000XM5 (review), which are premium headphones priced at around $425. We were impressed with their ANC, ambient noise and sound quality.
This year, Sony released the more affordable WH-CH720N, which is available for around $125. In terms of positioning, it is beneath the flagship 1000X line and alongside the XB extra-bass series.
A key highlight of the WH-CH720N is that it is powered by the same integrated V1 processor for noise cancellation as on the XM5. The headphones also come with multipoint connectivity to seamlessly switch between two devices. We have been using the headphones for a little over two months now and below is our analysis.
WATCH: Sony WH-CH720N Unboxing and First Look
Lightweight design, good comfort
At just 192 gm, the WH-CH720N is Sony’s lightest wireless noise-canceling headphone set. The weight is well-balanced and you hardly feel it, even when using them for a long time. The headband is faux-leather and offers the right amount of padding needed to hold them comfortably.
The outer side of the earcups is made from plastic and has a matte finish. The inner side has faux leather padding which is soft and comfortable, and stays that way for hours of wearing them, even in hot and humid conditions.
The 720N does not fold inwards. Instead, the earcups swivel at a 110-120-degree angle to allow them to lie flat on the table. However, as they do not fold inwards, the headphones will take up more space inside your bag. Also, Sony doesn’t include a carrying case as a standard offering.
The WH-CH720N is lightweight and has a comfortable design for long listening hours.
Talking about buttons and ports, the left earcup has a physical 3.5 mm audio jack, a USB Type-C port for charging, and a power button. The right earcup has the play/pause and volume buttons and the noise cancellation/ambient noise button.
Just like other Sony devices, the 720N also focuses on sustainability and is made from recycled plastic. The packaging is plastic free and made from recycled paper.
ALSO READ: Sony WH-1000XM5 Review: Raising the bar for ANC, ambient noise & sound quality
Features, audio quality and performance
The headphones pair with your smartphones and laptops over Bluetooth 5.2, and support SBC and AAC codecs. The 30 mm dynamic drivers support a frequency range of 7Hz–20,000Hz. Unlike the flagship headphones, the 720N lacks Google’s Fast Pair support. Though it is not a big deal, having Fast Pair would have been a nice addition.
The WH-CH720N supports the Sony Headphones Connect app which is available for both Android and iOS platforms. Sony’s app lets you control different aspects such as the 5-band equalizer and presets, multipoint connectivity, and configure button settings.
There is an ambient sound mode (transparency) that lets you adjust the strength up to 20 levels. It works well, helping you stay aware of the surroundings depending on your preferences. The feature can come in handy when you are traveling in a metro or on a flight where you want to listen to music but at the same time do not want to miss out on key announcements. We tried it both on a flight and in a metro and were impressed with how well the ambient mode feature worked.
The ambient sound mode lets in enough sound to stay aware of the surroundings while also listening to music.
Talking about noise cancellation, the integrated V1 processor works well in cutting out background noises such as fans and traffic noise to a good level. On a flight, even when sitting closer to the engine, the 720N was quite effective in cutting out the jet noise, while the music volume was at 60%. However, it does not completely cut off all the noise, and the moment you stop music playback, there is some sound intrusion.
The ANC works well in cutting off unwanted noise and offering a good music-listening experience.
Just like the 1000XM5, the CH720N also comes with adaptive sound control, a smart function that can automatically switch between ANC and transparency modes depending on your location. It uses the phone’s motion to detect when you are sitting, walking, running, or commuting. According to the situation, it activates the ANC or increases the transparency level so you can clearly hear your surroundings. Again, it worked well in our tests.
We tested the WH-CH720N’s sound quality using different audio sources, including primarily an Apple iPhone 14 Pro, a MacBook Pro 16 and a Galaxy Z Fold4. The sound quality was consistent across devices. With a balanced tuning, the headphones sound pleasant, though the bass is slightly punchy. The big drivers do help in offering a spacious sound to enjoy listening to different music genres. The wide sound staging also makes the headphones great for watching OTT content like TV shows and movies.
Lastly, there are two more things to talk about – mic and battery life. The beamforming mics are good enough for making and receiving phone calls, and even video calls on conferencing platforms like Zoom and Teams. We made a few calls in noisy environments like airports and metro stations, and the recipients were able to hear us clearly.
In terms of battery life, Sony claims to offer up to 50 hours of non-stop listening with ANC off, and about 35 hours with ANC on. During our test, we kept ANC on all the time, with a volume between 50% and 70%, and would listen in parts for about four hours a day. With such usage, even after eight days, the headphones still had about 10% of battery left, totaling around 32 hours of usage. That is about one charge in a week, and if you turn off ANC, it may reach close to two weeks.
Key Takeaways and Wishlist for WH-CH720N Successor
- The WH-CH720N is a value-for-money over-the-ear Bluetooth headphone set.
- It has a well-built design and offers a comfortable fit.
- Multipoint connectivity works flawlessly to switch between devices.
- The WH-CH720N delivers a great battery life so you can go without charge for a week depending on your usage.
- ANC and ambient sound modes work as expected.
- The headphones offer good sound quality in their segment.
- A wear detection feature could have been a great addition to pause/resume music playback.
- On the design front, an inward folding one could have been even better, considering most of us also carry them while traveling.
- Premium features like Hi-Res audio could be a good addition to the CH720N’s successor.