Is it possible for headphones that cost less than half the price of Sony’s WH-1000XM5 to still provide high quality Active Noise Cancellation (ANC)? Sony hopes you’ll think so about their new over-ear WH-CH720N headphones (available in Black, White & Blue) which incorporate Dual Noise Sensor technology and Sony’s Integrated Processor V1 chip.

At 192 grams the WH-CH720N are Sony’s lightest over head wireless headphones with ANC.

Unboxing and Setup

Inside the box, you get the headphones, USB-C charging cable, headphone cable and quick start guide.

Looking at the mini manual, as with the premium XM series there is no waterproofing. These are not meant to be used in the rain, very humid weather or where you will be getting sweaty such as exercising at the gym/jogging.

It’s an interesting design choice that the controls are physical buttons; no swipe sensors and there’s no wear sensor to pause automatically when you take the headphones off. On the right earcup buttons are Volume up, Pause/Play, Volume down and a switch between noise cancelling/Ambient sound/Off.

On the left earcup, there is a headphone port, USB-C port and Power button.

If you pair the WH-CH720N with your phone and open the Sony Headphones app you’ll see there are many customisable settings you can’t change without the app including an Equalizer. While you can use them without it, if you don’t use the app, you don’t get any firmware updates. eg. Our review unit WH-CH720N upgraded from 1.05 to 1.08, which fixed bugs and improved audio quality during calls.

Strong points

Good noise cancelling – perfectly fine for ordinary daily commuting on diesel buses and trains. Cuts out a lot of the noise, enough to make your journey much more comfortable.

Battery life test – advertised as 35hrs with ANC. I listened to a combination of audiobooks, podcasts and streaming music for 23 days, for 1-2 hours a day during my commute before I got a low battery 10% warning. This is a pretty good result and, you could listen for even longer with the ANC off.

Headphone Jack – inclusion of this and a headphone cable allows unlimited listening with ANC off without the battery being depleted or if the battery is flat. If your device doesn’t have a headphone jack, just buy a USB-C adaptor, they’re not expensive and it will give you more flexibility.

Multipoint Bluetooth 5.2 – Can connect to 2 devices at the same time which introduces further flexibility to the device for use in combination with your tablet or laptop, as well as a mobile phone.

Voice assistants – for those who use them, either Alexa or Google Assistant can be turned on with all of the expected features associated with smart assistant use becoming available.

Weak Points

One way the WH-CH720N price is reduced is by not including a case, so you’ll probably need to carry it around in something to avoid damage. I used a spare soft cloth drawstring bag, it’s worth noting that the WH-CH720N don’t fold up they will take up space in your bag.

There is o LDAC, they use the SBC codec by default, if you change to HD in your phone Bluetooth settings for the WH-CH720N it uses AAC.

Comfort and ANC – both of these factors are good rather than great like the XM5 series. The WH-CH720N are fine to wear for a few hours each day. If you need the better ANC for longer periods, or noisier environments — like flying — then we’d recommend you get an XM series headphone.

Adaptive sound is an interesting feature that automatically engages and disengages the ANC to suit your environment. I tried it for a while and then turned it off because it was unpredictable. To be fair I found the same feature unreliable in the XM series as well, because of this, I prefer to manually turn ANC on/off or switch to Ambient Sound when needed.

Should you buy the Sony WH-CH720N?

The WH-CH720N are available for $259.95 AUD, which is $290 less than Sony’s top of the line WH-1000XM5 noise cancelling headphones and $140 less than the previous generation WH-1000XM4.

Sure you don’t get all the features and performance of these two high end head phones but the WH-CH720N does have the advantage of being substantially lighter than both. So while WH-CH720N ANC isn’t quite as good as the XM series, it’s still a good optione for daily commuting on noisy buses and trains, just be careful to store them in a pouch or case as they’ll be damaged pretty fast if loose in a backpack.

Disclosure Statement

Sony has allowed Ausdroid to keep these headphones for hygiene reasons

1 Comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

These sounded perfect. Multipoint check, battery life check.
Then no LDAC, this is Sony’s thing, but then also no aptx.
Starts to look a lot less appealing.