Slated to go on sale later this month, Sony’s latest Bluetooth headphones support your choice of onboard Alexa or Google Assistant, active noise cancellation, an ambient sound mode that lets you listen in on your surroundings, and (best of all) a reasonable price tag.
The $200 WH-CH710N headphones feature “smart” noise cancellation that automatically adjusts itself based on the ambient sound, which the headset detects using a pair of forward- and backward-feeding microphones.
If you actually do need to hear what’s going on around you, an ambient noise mode lets you mix nearby sounds (like honking horns) with your music.
Besides its noise cancelling abilities, the WH-CH710N works with the voice assistant on your phone, and (even better) gives you the option of installing either Alexa or Google Assistant on the headphones using the Sony Headphones Connect app.
The closed-back headphones feature 30mm drivers, Bluetooth 5 support, one-touch pairing with NFC-enabled devices, and support for the AAC and SBC codecs.
An open question is whether the WH-CH710N also supports Qualcomm’s near CD-quality aptX or lossless aptX HD codecs. An older version of these headphones (the $130 WH-CH700NRemove non-product link) does support aptX and aptX HD, so we’d be surprised if the newer WH-CH710N cans don’t. That said, we’ve reached out to Sony for clarification.
Design-wise, the WH-CH710N comes with an adjustable metal headband, oval-shaped earpads, and earcups that swivel flat for easy storage.
Sony promises up to 35 hours of music playback from the WH-CH710N’s integrated lithium-ion battery, and up to 200 hours of standby time. You can recharge the headset via its built-in USB-C port.
Besides the WH-CH710, Sony also announced a new pair of true wireless earbuds. The $130 WF-XB700 features Sony’s bass-boosting Extra Bass audio technology, along with Bluetooth 5 support and compatibility with smartphone voice assistants.
The earbuds also boast a “tri-hold” design that’s built to contact three different points on your ear for a more secure fit, plus an IPX4 rating for protection from sweat. One key missing feature: active noise cancellation, although you’ll generally have to pay extra for that functionality in a pair of true wireless earbuds.
As with the WH-CH710N headphones, the WF-XB700 earbuds are set to go on sale this month.
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Ben has been writing about technology and consumer electronics for more than 20 years. A PCWorld contributor since 2014, Ben joined TechHive in 2019, where he covers smart speakers, soundbars, and other smart and home-theater devices. You can follow Ben on Twitter.