Sony WH-CH520 is the latest addition to Sony's wallet-friendly range of wireless headphones. These Bluetooth on-ear headphones prioritize sound quality and offer some handy features, even though they don't include advanced functionalities like active noise cancellation or Hi-Res Audio support. Despite these limitations, their emphasis on audio performance, coupled with a few clever enhancements, makes them an exceptional bargain for the price-conscious consumer.
We have been trying our hands on the Sony WH-CH520 for a while and in this article, we are going to share a detailed hands-on review of the Sony WH-CH520 with all readers of Geeky Stuffs.
This review is divided into multiple sections covering the pros and cons of each of them.
Sony WH-CH520 Bluetooth Headphones : Detailed Hands-on Review
Design and Build Quality
These headphones offer a decent level of comfort. They apply minimal clamping force and rest lightly on the head. Both the headband and ear cups are generously padded and plush. However, given their on-ear design and comparatively modest ear cup size, some adjustment is necessary to find the optimal fit over your ears.
When it comes to portability, these headphones are acceptable. The ear cups possess the ability to rotate, allowing them to lay flat. Regrettably, they cannot be folded into a more compact form, which means they will occupy a noticeable amount of space within your bag. Furthermore, the absence of a protective case for storage is a drawback.
As for their controls, these headphones provide satisfactory functionality. The controls are intuitive and user-friendly, delivering tactile feedback upon interaction. Voice prompts are also integrated to notify you when you've reached the maximum or minimum volume, along with battery level indications upon powering on. Nevertheless, distinguishing between the buttons can be challenging, despite the presence of indicator protrusions.
Crafted from textured plastic, the shell of the headphones exudes a sense of quality craftsmanship. While they might not exude a premium aura, they certainly don't give off a cheap vibe either. Positioned on the lower part of the right earcup are buttons for play/pause, volume adjustment, and track skipping. Moreover, a double-press of the Play button triggers your phone's voice assistant seamlessly.
When comparing them to their predecessor, the Sony CH510, which the Sony CH520 has taken the reins from, there's a noticeable increase in cushioning. This enhanced padding is particularly valuable for on-ear headphones, as their design necessitates that their earpads rest directly on your ears – a feature not universally adored. In my personal experience, I tend to steer clear of this style due to the comfort disparity compared to over-ear headphones. However, I found the CH520 to be more enjoyable to wear than most models I've tested. The headband does exert a moderate clamping force on the sides of the head, which might not suit those with larger heads, but individuals with smaller head sizes are likely to find them a snug fit.
Despite the added cushioning, these headphones don't offer substantial noise isolation (and lack active noise cancellation altogether), so it's worth considering this aspect if you're seeking a pair for your daily commute.
The Sony WH-CH520 includes a single microphone, and its performance can best be described as "functional." The microphone operates at a lower volume and lacks exceptional clarity. Unfortunately, there's no provision for a 3.5mm jack here, which could be a concern if you're looking for a pair for flights or similar scenarios. However, for the majority of users considering these headphones, this omission is unlikely to pose a significant issue.
I genuinely appreciate it when manufacturers of affordable headphones prioritize audio quality above all else. While it's clear that the sound quality here won't astound anyone considering the price point, I find it quite enjoyable for extended listening sessions. Upon activating DSEE, I'm impressed by the well-balanced interplay between bass, mids, and treble. Each frequency range is distinctly presented and lucid, and the Sony WH-CH520 manages to convey an appreciable level of detail.
The bass element provides a solid foundation, lending depth without spiraling out of control. It offers an enjoyable experience, especially for electronic or dance genres. The midrange capabilities allow vocal performances to shine and intricate instrumental arrangements to find clarity, although, as expected, some finer intricacies do get sacrificed compared to higher-tier models. The trebles gracefully emerge from the midrange, offering a sense of spaciousness and freedom.
Premium options on our list of top wireless headphones not only provide heightened clarity, but they also create a more authentic and expansive soundscape, complete with deeper bass and crisper highs. Comparatively, the audio here feels somewhat confined and compacted when compared to superior headphones. Nevertheless, I find the sound quality at this price point quite satisfying. Moreover, the Sony Headphones app offers a fantastic feature – the ability to adjust the EQ. This feature is surprisingly more effective than what's found in most headphones, regardless of their cost.
The adjustments seem to fine-tune the balance seamlessly, avoiding the pitfall of merely hammering down on the bass or excessively boosting the treble (or any other alteration you might choose). The app includes presets, or you can tailor your own settings. Ultimately, I opted to slightly enhance the bass to align with my preferences using the Clear Bass option, even though the majority of my testing was carried out using the default settings.
Connectivity and App
Within the Headphones app, there's an additional feature worth mentioning – the option to activate DSEE. I highly recommend taking advantage of this feature. Essentially, DSEE functions as an 'upscaler' for music, aiming to reintroduce lost intricacies to Bluetooth-quality streaming. While I personally didn't discern a significant enhancement in music detail during my listening sessions, I did notice an immediate injection of warmth into the mid-range, constituting a subtle yet noticeable improvement.
The CH520 headphones also offer support for Bluetooth multi-point pairing, a convenience that proves quite handy. This functionality enables seamless switching between devices such as your phone and laptop, making transitions for activities like video calls effortless. In my experience, I encountered no issues regarding reliability or general connectivity while using this feature.
Battery LifeSony's assertion of a remarkable 50-hour battery life serves as the cherry on top, a claim I find to be fairly accurate in my personal experience. However, it's worth noting that they lack an auto-pause feature when removed, and they tend to remain active for extended periods when not in use. This aspect demands a degree of caution to prevent unintentional battery depletion.
Charging the headphones is a breeze with their USB-C compatibility, and a USB-C to USB-A cable is included in the package for added convenience.
The Sony WH-CH520 headphones unquestionably offer exceptional value. They deliver a clear and well-balanced sound profile that can be conveniently tailored via the accompanying app. The inclusion of DSEE support adds an extra layer of appeal. Notably, these headphones exhibit a well-crafted build and provide ample cushioning for comfort. While they might not boast an abundance of features, they excel precisely where it matters most.
So if you are looking for budget Bluetooth headphones with good sound quality, great battery life, and noise cancellation is not much of a concern for you then, Sony WH-CH520 is one of the best options for you for sure.