We love Sony’s WH-1000XM5, which is arguably the best pair of noise-canceling travel headphones available today. Like many products on the high-end of the quality scale, though, they’re priced accordingly, requiring you to fork out over $400 for the privilege. Yeah, we know more than a few people not willing to buy headphones at that price. However, those folks might be more amenable to the more affordable Sony WH-CH720N.
One of the biggest selling points of the 1000XM5 is its stellar noise cancellation, which simply beats out the competition as far as muting those distracting sounds from your environment. Well, that same noise-cancelling algorithm makes its way here, albeit with a little less support on the hardware end.
The Sony WH-CH720N is equipped with the same V1 processor used in the outfit’s flagship headphones and earbuds, allowing it to run the same noise-canceling algorithms that put both products at the top of their category. Granted, it doesn’t have the second noise-cancelling processor and eight microphones of the 1000XM5, so it won’t quite deliver the same potent ANC, but it should perform well enough to probably blow everything in its price range straight out of the game. The headphones pair that processor with four microphones and the outfit’s Dual Noise Sensor technology to pick up all environmental sounds, which it then craftily filters out, so you hear nothing but the music playing.
There’s an Ambient Sound mode that you can switch on when you want more of the outside sounds to come through, as well as 20 levels of ANC adjustments from the companion app, if you want to more closely dial in how strict or permissive it gets as far as allowing environmental sounds to creep in. Don’t like fiddling with the settings too much? Just switch on Adaptive Sound Control and let the headphones adjust the ANC on its own based on your location and the prevailing environmental sounds. It also offers a Focus on Voice setting for those times you want to have a conversation with someone without taking off the headphones.
The Sony WH-CH720N is equipped with 30mm dynamic drivers that should deliver a loud enough sound to let you drown out some noise even with ANC turned off, as well as the outfit’s DSEE technology to improve the sound of highly-compressed digital files. A beamforming mic paired with a structure that reduces wind noise ensures you’re heard clearly and audibly during voice calls, while a multipoint connection lets you pair with two Bluetooth devices at once. It comes with physical buttons on the earcups for convenient tactile control.
The built-in battery is rated to last for 35 hours of playback with ANC running and 60 hours with ANC turned off. In case you need to charge it in a pinch, a three-minute quick charge should be enough to give it 60 minutes of extra playtime (with no ANC). Other features include Bluetooth 5.2, a detachable cord (if you want to listen in wired mode), Dolby Atmos support and 360 Reality Audio certification.
The Sony WH-CH720N is available now, priced at $149.99.