The Sony WH-CH710N comes after the huge success of one of the best noise cancellation headphones we’ve come across, its premium Sony WH-1000XM3 flagship headphones. The company announced these new and affordable headphones recently in India. They are meant to be the cheaper variant of the flagship product.
For starters, they’re priced at less than half of what the WH-1000XM3 costs and the India costs are kept way below those of the US and UK market. These are Sony's most affordable pair of over the ear headphones with noise cancelling. However, unlike other Sony noise-cancelling headphones, this model features something called AINC wherein the noise cancellation is achieved via Artificial Intelligence. More on that in subsequent paragraphs.
With most of us working from home at the moment and wanting to concentrate on what we are tasked with alongside our favourite tracks, these headphones might be your best bet for under Rs 10,000. They could also come in handy for those who are attending online classes or want to listen to some cool tracks while coding.
Price and availability
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, 3.5mm jack
- Drivers: 30mm dynamic
- Artificial Intelligence Noise Cancellation (AINC)
- Battery life: Up to 35 hours
- Mic: Yes, dual microphone
Design and fit
The design elements
Talking about the design, the Sony WH-CH710N headphones are made of a hard plastic shell to cut costs. The ear-cups, the headband are all made up of moulded plastic. These are over the ear style headphones with closed-back design. It weighs around 223 grams and can be carried around easily. However, that company has excluded the case from the box, nor is there a simple pouch to pack the headset — cost-cutting, again.
On both the ear-cups, you get Sony branding on the outside. Inside, you get a fair amount of padding which wraps around your ears when you wear them. Although the headphones themselves are not foldable, the ear-cups rotate 90-degree so that you can place them flat on the table. The headphone packs in dual microphones, located on either side of the device.
To control the headphones, you get a total of six buttons on the Sony WH-CH710N. On the right, you get volume controls, a play/pause button which can also be used to pick/reject calls. Long pressing this button will also activate Google Assistant on your device.
However, on iOS devices, we couldn’t access Siri. You also get a multi-function button on the right side which can enable/disable the ambient sound and activate noise cancellation. Towards the left, you have a Type-C port for charging, a 3.5mm headphone jack and a power button which can also be used to pair with a new device by long pressing. You also get NFC on the left ear-cup for faster pairing.
The Sony WH-CN710 harnesses Bluetooth 5.0 and there is no support for Hi-Res audio like the in-house LDAC codec or aptX. You only get SBC and AAC audio codec support. Pairing the device for the first time is as simple as long-pressing the power button and finding the “Sony WH-CN710” name on your smartphone/laptop. Also, this supports NFC, so you can use your Android smartphone switch NFC to tap and pair the device. I personally tried with my OnePlus 6T and the pairing process was smooth over NFC.
The headphones fits firmly over the ear. You can adjust the straps according to your head and ear size. With headphones on, I went out for my regular workout and short walking, and they were fine as long as I was not involved in running or workouts that involve too many head movements. I don’t suggest you take it for running as they tend to fall off easily. Casual workout, walking and cycling with the headphone on should be fine.
During my testing, I felt that the left ear cups were pushing too hard on a few occasions. I had to take it off for a couple of minutes and then put it back on every two hours. Often, it felt uncomfortable and itchy. But, once I took it off and put it back, they were back to normal and I could proceed. This might not be an issue with all the users, but, for people like me with large ears, this might be a minor drawback though not a deal-breaker. Apart from this minor issue, I was comfortable wearing headphones for long hours.
The USP of the headphones is the noise cancellation feature here. Instead of the conventional active noise cancellation, Sony has implemented a slightly different AINC to achieve the noise cancellation.
AINC stands for Artificial Intelligence Noise Cancellation. The headphone uses AI to eliminate the noise from the outside world. It constantly analyses environmental ambient sound components and automatically selects the most effective noise cancelling filter for your surroundings. For context, conventional Active noise cancellation works by recording external noise and creating an inverse waveform of the lower frequencies (aka the noise) and mixing it with the audio playback.
Along with the noise cancellation, you also get ambient noise which lets you listen to the outside world with a single button click. It works pretty well and can be used to have a short conversation with the outside world while you still wear headphones. Long pressing the media button will open Google Assistant and it works without any hassle.
Although you don’t get any touch gestures to support on the Sony WH-CN710N, you get half a dozen buttons to play around. The headphones are packed with 30mm dynamic drivers and also dual microphones so that you can take calls. The Bluetooth 5.0 here doesn’t support any sort of Hi-Res audio like LDAC or aptX, which means you have to settle for SBC and AAC (HD) audio. This might be a deal-breaker if you tend to listen to a lot of Hi-Res audio. It is quite surprising that Sony didn’t include support for its own LDAC codec.
Sound and performance
The most crucial feature of any headphones is the sound quality and performance. So, how did the Sony WH-CH710N actually perform? In my one week of testing, the headphones sounded pretty great. The music was enjoyable and loud. The vocals were good too. You do get a good amount of bass but it might not be enough for Bollywood tracks with loads of thump. They are not bass-heavy headphones for sure, unlike the XB series.
After spending at least eight hours a day over the past one week of testing and watching a few movies and listening to multiple songs, I came away with the following results. The mids and lows are on the lower frequencies. Overall, I felt that they sounded flat more often than not. However, the loud music makes it up in many cases. Even at the max volume, I couldn’t feel any distortion or noise in the playback. The soundstage is not too wide on the spectrum. It is also worth mentioning that the audio gets leaked at 100% volume and can be heard by others in the room too.
Talking about the noise cancellation, the AINC does a pretty good job and eliminates the outside noise and offers you pure and clean music experience. I could easily ignore the noise of the ceiling fan, outside traffic and people around me. Even while the person next to me was watching a movie video with max volume on their smartphone, I couldn’t hear. All in all, the noise-cancelling works pretty well and for the price, there is nothing much to complain about. However, the noise cancellation is not as good as the flagship 1000XM3 or Bose NC series, but will suffice for lower environmental noise levels.
The microphones work pretty well too, the person on the other end could hear me properly without much of noise. Although not exactly as loud and clear, the headphones can be used for calls. The dual-microphone does a pretty decent job here.
Battery and charging
Lastly, let’s talk about my favourite feature of the headphones: the battery life. Sony claims a battery life of up to 35 hours. My testing primarily included using it while working and also for watching movies. In my one week of testing, I could get close to what Sony claims. For instance,with just 20% of juice left, I could watch two complete movies and stream an hour of music and still, the battery was at 20%.
I used to set my headphones in the noise-cancelling mode for most of the time during my testing with volume at 90-100% always. So, the bottom line is, if you are looking for a great battery run, these headphones won’t disappoint you.
For charging, you get a Type-C port. A full charge takes about seven hours and you also get a quick charge which can last up to an hour with 10 minutes charge. To fully charge the headphones, it is better to plug it for an overnight charge and pick up in the morning with 100% juice. The headphones can continue to function via an aux connection, even if the battery runs dry.
The Sony WH-CH710N is definitely worth considering since they’re priced under Rs 10,000. It is priced way cheaper than the WH-1000XM3. And also, they’re cheaper than the western market price. Instead of pure ANC, they use Artificial Intelligent Noise Cancellation (AINC), which does get the job done. But, the noise cancellation level doesn’t match the 1000XM3.
It takes most of the good things from the flagship model and puts it in a budget headphone with few compromises like plastic build and the lack of Hi-Res playback. But with its long-lasting battery life and noise cancellation at a price of under Rs 10,000, these can be the ideal solution for people who are working from home or just want to try out a noise cancellation headphone on a tight budget.
If you want something with ANC, you can take a look at Sennheiser HD 4.50 which is also available for the same price on Amazon.in, or any of the other best Noise cancellation headphones available, suggested by TechRadar India.
- These are the best Noise cancellation headphones available in India