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Sony WH-CH710N headphone assessment: A wi-fi worth

“Sony’s WH-CH710N wireless headphones are great at being good.”

Excellent battery life

Comfortable design

Integration of the stellar voice assistant

Inconspicuous noise cancellation

The Sony WH-CH710N is the middle ground in the extensive selection of wireless headphones from Sony. They have more premium features than Sony’s entry-level models, without the premium price of flagship models like the WH-1000XM3.

Without question, some corners had to be cut to achieve this. However, the $ 200 Sony WH-CH710N, which will be available for pre-sale this month, has more than enough features to make it fascinating – and an important addition to the Sony roster.

Out of the box

Corner No. 1: The box in which the WH-CH710N is delivered is just a box. I won’t hold that against Sony, of course. If you save price, you will lose some pomp and that is understandable.

Sony WH-CH710N headphonesNick Woodard / Digital Trends

Likewise, the WH-CH710N does not include a carrying case. A USB-C charging cable and a headphone cable are also included, as is a picture book that is displayed as a user guide. I found Sony’s online help much more useful.

Bluetooth setup was routine and simple. The WH-CH710N also supports Near Field Communication (NFC), where compatible devices can be paired with the headphones by touching the left ear cup. It was also a breeze. After a week of intensive listening with these headphones paired with a Google Pixel 2, I had no noteworthy connection problems. In addition, I found the range of these Bluetooth 5-supported headphones to be exceptional.

design

I was surprised at the smaller footprint of the WH-CH710N, at least compared to other headphones I’ve tested recently. They are not exactly light, but for me they were of a good size and weight for longer listening times.

Sony WH-CH710N headphonesNick Woodard / Digital Trends

The oval ear pads were soft, but not as soft as you would expect from higher quality products. The headband also felt a little stiffer than I would have liked it to be. These are mostly minor annoyances that have not affected my overall experience.

A total of five buttons are integrated in the WH-CH710N. There is an on / off switch on the left auricle, three buttons for volume and action commands aligned in a row on the right auricle, and a button to toggle between noise canceling and ambient sounds on the same right auricle. It took a little learning curve to get used to the different buttons, but I was able to use each functionally in no time.

properties

On paper, there seems to be a lot to like about the features of the Sony WH-CH710N. These include the battery life and the compatibility of the voice assistant.

Sony WH-CH710N headphonesNick Woodard / Digital Trends

The WH-CH710N offers an estimated playback time of 35 hours with noise reduction activated and 45 hours without noise reduction. This is better than the WH-1000XM3’s 30-hour battery life and is enough to be able to commute for a whole week without having to recharge.

For obvious reasons, I didn’t commute when I used these headphones. But they have been in pretty constant use all week, so I can vouch for the longevity of these headphones. It takes approximately seven hours to fully charge the WH-CH710N. However, after 10 minutes of charging, you can play for an hour. It’s not quite as fast as the WH-1000XM3, but it’s still decent.

My beef mentioned above with the physical instruction manual is about activating voice assistants with the headphones. Based on the physical guidance, it is difficult to set up your preferred voice assistant. However, the online guide contains detailed instructions and quickly guided me through choosing my preferred assistant from the settings on my phone.

I chose Amazon Alexa as my assistant and by long pressing this action button I was able to do everything I normally do with my Alexa devices, from setting the timer when cooking to controlling light bulbs and other smart home products . It may not be a big deal for everyone, but for a person who often uses smart assistants, flawless integration was a solid benefit.

Audio quality

I’m just going to get this out of the way now: The WH-CH710N won’t sound as good as the WH-1000XM3 or other high-end alternatives. You just can’t keep up with the clarity and audio quality of these premium wireless headphones.

Sony WH-CH710N headphonesNick Woodard / Digital Trends

This is frankly not a big deal. They shouldn’t be able to compete with high quality products in terms of sound, and they had no price for it. What the Sony WH-CH710N had to do sounded good because if they weren’t, they’d be a waste of great features.

I have good news. Equipped with 30 mm drivers and a frequency range from 20 to 20,000 Hz, the WH-CH710N offers what I can best describe as reliable audio quality. Even though I couldn’t find a track that blew me away musically, it was difficult for me to come across a song that was misrepresented by the criminal.

If you’re looking for high-fidelity sound for a fraction of the price, you’ll be disappointed with the WH-CH710N, especially the limited codec support that includes SBC and AAC. But with realistic expectations, I think that most people would enjoy how they sound.

Noise cancellation

The WH-CH710N is advertised as noise canceling headphones, but does not have active noise canceling technology (ANC) like the WH-1000XM3. Instead, Sony implemented the essentially second-class, cheaper technology called AINC (Artificial Intelligence Noise Cancellation), which is said to constantly adapt to the environment to create the most effective mode for noise cancellation.

To support this, the headphones have a pair of microphones in each ear cup, one forward and one rear, to pick up as much of the surrounding noise as possible. They also have an ambient sound mode to turn on outside noise without having to remove the headphones, and an option to turn off noise cancellation and overall ambient mode.

In my experience, the AINC included in the WH-CH710N works … to a certain extent. At normal listening volume, some lower frequencies are filtered out well. But some annoying noises still found their way into my listening experience. Such as the neighbors’ power tools during a weekend project. The noise canceling has muffled that noise to some extent, but it was nothing more than what I’m used to with more premium headphones.

Our opinion

For the right person, the Sony WH-CH710N is of great value. It has a number of features for its cost if you are ok with sacrificing sound quality and noise canceling ability to meet budget.

Are there any better alternatives?

It depends on what concessions you want to make. The WH-1000XM3 has dropped significantly in price, but regularly costs almost $ 80 more than the WH-CH710N for $ 199. The previous model in the range, the Sony WH-CH700N, has dropped to $ 129 and has similar features, namely an identical battery life. However, the latest model has new components and technologies, which may make the additional costs worthwhile.

How long will they last?

The Sony WH-CH710N headband is rigid, but feels durable just like the rest of the product. As long as they are not misused, they should be your daily doses for the foreseeable future.

Should you buy it

Yes. They are not their more expensive, popular older siblings. Ultimately, the WH-CH710N offers excellent battery life and adequate sound at a manageable price. They’re not the best, but they’re great at being good.

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