The Sony WF-C700N are a new set of noise-cancelling headphones that the company has announced. They’re a lot more compact, lighter, and cheaper than the market-leading Sony WF-1000XM4 wireless earbuds, which we still consider to be the best wireless earbuds on the world years after their initial release.
The Sony WF-C700N will retail for £99 / AU$199.95 (about $120) when it launches in April 2023; however, a specific release date has not been announced by the company.
In spite of a feature set (which we’ll get to in a moment) that competes on paper with high-end headphones like Apple’s AirPods Pro 2, the Sony C700N places a premium on wearability and aesthetics.
Compared to, say, the Sony WF-1000XM4, these earbuds are 38% smaller in size and 37% lighter, so they won’t seem as bulky, will fit smaller ears better, and will probably feel more secure because of how light they are. Moreover, Sony claims that the buds’ new covering will help them to cling to your ear more securely.
Sony claims there is a new sort of mesh on the external mics to further reduce wind interference, and the lower size should also aid in wind noise reduction in the active noise cancellation.
In terms of aesthetics, you can choose between a black, white, lavender, or sage green case with your option of four different colours. We have the green variety, which Senior Radio Writer Becky Scarrott likens to mint ice cream.
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There is also adaptive active noise cancellation, Bluetooth multi-point pairing for connecting two devices at once, Sony’s DSEE upscaling technology to improve the sound of low-quality music, support for 360 Realty Audio music with spatial sound, and compatibility with the Sony Headphones app for adjusting the equalisation and noise cancellation.
Sony’s app allows you to easily set different ANC levels for different circumstances (such as “at work” and “on the train”), and it can automatically switch between them and you can even establish your own, which is unusual for devices of this price range.
Each ear has a 5mm driver, which is smaller than the Sony WF-1000XM4 but comparable to the size of the excellent Sony LinkBuds S.
The duration of the battery’s power is less interesting than other features. Sony claims you only receive one charge from the case, bringing the total battery life to 15 hours, which is on par with the finest noise-cancelling earphones. That’s not great, though you can get up to 20 hours if you turn off ANC.
The IPX4 waterproof rating means the earbuds are safe to use during moderate sweat sessions.
If the battery life holds up, they might be a great success. The newly inexpensive Sony WH-CH520 headphones and the fantastic Sony WF-C500 earbuds are just two examples of how consistently reliable Sony is when it comes to providing high-quality music at a reasonable price (which these sit above in the range).
Our only gripe with this announcement is that it isn’t the Sony WF-1000XM5, which we are anticipating to be released shortly. But, for those on a tighter budget, we can’t wait to give these a thorough assessment.