As you all know Sony is known for its excellence in the audio department. Especially with flagship headphones such as the WH1000XM3, the XB900N and etc. A couple of weeks ago, we received the Sony WH-CH710N for review and we used it extensively and I guess its time to let you guys know if it joins the bandwagon of Sony flagships.
Design and Build Quality :
Design-wise Sony has been doing very well and it hasn’t changed here much, the WH-CH710N, weird naming, does feel very good in the hand thanks to the rough matte finish on it. We have the black color variant with us here and it is available in blue as well. The entire exterior is made out of plastic which I personally am not a fan of, it does not feel that the material used is of very good quality but since it is plastic, the headphones do feel very lightweight on your head.
One thing that bugged me about the headphones is the locked swivel movements. You cannot fold it inwards like the WH1000XM3 and also, you do not get a carry case. So, I’m not sure how to travel with these headphones because when I rest them down on my chest after a couple of hours of editing or watching movies, they kinda get uncomfortable. I know, I know I’m doing wrong by them for comparing it with the WH1000XM3 but with this price tag as well, these little things matter when it comes to the end consumer who will be using it on a daily basis. Sony should ameliorate the build quality of a device with such an asking price. Overall, the design and build quality are decent and I wouldn’t be too rough on them while traveling.
Comfort and Fit :
The most important aspect of an earphone or headphone is its comfortability and Sony has been acing it for the past few years until today. The WH-CH710N for me was a painful experience. Because the left cup’s driver kept fidgeting with my earlobe because of which I had to adjust the cup every hour or so. Don’t get me wrong, these are very very comfortable once you are able to fit it right. The cushions are very soft and do not cusp on ear so as to make your ears warm or sweaty. They did not fight tight and for me, they felt perfect once I was able to set it according to my comfort zone.
The headband cushioning is also mediocre at best and it is not that deep so your head does connect with the frame of the band. Overall, in the comfort department, they were ostensible. Sony should have ruminated about the materials used for the cups and the headband since they are charging around Rs. 9,000 in the Indian market, which we know is very price sensitive.
Sound Quality :
Sony is very well known for its sound quality. And, as you know, sound quality is the main highlight of any headphone. So how did they perform? Well, I used the CH710n for about a month extensively and the sound quality is very assuring. The vocals are clear, the mids and lows are kind of on the lower side and hence the bass is not that punchy. Well, in their defense, this pair does not belong to the XB (Xtra-Bass) series of headphones from Sony. The biggest downside on the WH-CH710n is the lack of high-quality audio codecs. The headphones come with a 15mm driver for each cup but they do not support Hi-Res audio codecs such as LDAC or AptX and only have support for SBC and AAC. I mean, come on, Sony could’ve used their in-house LDAC codec in the WH-CH710n and it would’ve been a sweet deal. This also might be a deal-breaker for many audio enthusiasts out there.
I enjoyed watching movies and TV shows on the CH710n. I also did some editing wearing these and I faced no issues whatsoever. Well, this might be quite unethical but I also played some PUBG while wearing these. Forgive me. But yes, as expected, there were latency issues. However, to cancel that out, Sony does provide you with an AUX cable so as to use it when and if your device runs out of juice which brings me to the next segment of this review.
Battery Life and Charging :
All hail the Type-C port. So happy to see the Type-C port on the device so you won’t have to carry two cables with you every time you go somewhere out, unless, you are using a phone which uses micro USB port which is very unlikely considering even budget devices nowadays come with a Type-C port. Well, Sony markets the WH-CH710n with 35hours of playback on a single charge and trust me when I say this, I’ve been using it for almost 2 weeks straight out of the box and haven’t charged it once. The battery life on this is nuts. However, what got to me is the charging speed. Unfortunately, it does not support fast charging. But if you are in a hurry and need to catch a flight or a train and have to take the headphones with you, you can charge them for 10mins and they’ll serve you 1 hour of playback without any issues. But for a full charge, you’ll have to keep it plugged in overnight. Also, if you are wondering, yes they do provide you with a Type-C cable inside the box, just the cable not the brick.
Even with Noise Cancellation(ANC) turned on I was able to get a very good battery backup. So for battery life, I would definitely suggest these ones. If you are someone who travels quite often and does not need that much bass in a headphone then I’d suggest the CH710n is one of the pairs to go for. These are quite lightweight and handy. However, as mentioned in the aforementioned paras, it does not come with a carrying case and it does not swivel inwards which might be a deal-breaker for many people.
As mentioned earlier, the WH-CH710n comes with ANC and Ambient sound settings which I really loved using. The ANC tech they are using on this one is slightly different than the traditional ones. I suppose they are calling it AINC which means Artificial Intelligence Noise Cancellation. This adapts to your surrounding sounds and sets a profile by itself and eliminates the noise. Even though it was enabled I was able to hear some noises but it was very low. For example, the washing machine was on while I was watching a movie and I could hear it but it was so low that I hardly recognized the sound. But when I removed the headphones I could hear the washing machine blasting nonstop.
So the ANC feature will definitely help you when you are traveling and the ambient noise feature will be useful when you are on a platform and you hear the announcement of your next train coming you can just hit the ambient sounds button and you’ll be able to hear the announcement just fine without actually, removing the headphone entirely and wearing it back. However, when you switch between noise canceling and ambient sound profile, the voice inside the headphone is triggered and it says which profile you are on currently. For example, Noise Cancelling Mode On. Also, if you hit the power button once it tells you the amount of battery left in the device which is always appreciated.
With such an asking price in the Indian market, it will be a challenge for Sony to sell many units of the WH-CH710n. However, considering the device comes with Active Noise Cancelling, Ambient Sound profiles, decent build quality, and very, very good battery life, people might still consider the WH-CH710n. They tried their best to get everything from the flagship WH-1000XM3 and shove it in the CH710n but they had to cut some costs somewhere in order to price it this low. As you know, the flagship headphones mentioned above will cost you around Rs. 26,000 in the Indian markets.
The next best headphone with ANC in this price range would be the Sennheiser 4.50 SE BT which is also priced around this segment. Don’t get me wrong, the CH710n is good by all means. But, for some, the aforementioned points can be an issue. The Sony WH-CH710N comes with a price tag of Rs.9,990 and can be found on Headphones Zone and/or Amazon.