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"Affordable blend of features and style"

Sony WH-CH520 Review

Discover the Sony WH-CH520 headphones: affordable, stylish, and packed with features for a versatile audio experience. Read on for a detailed review.

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Sony WH-CH520 front side
Sony WH-CH520 USB charge cable
Sony WH-CH520 front
Sony WH-CH520 boy sitting on stairs
Sony WH-CH520 laying on desk
Sony WH-CH520 front, cushions turned
Sony WH-CH520 detail cushion
Sony WH-CH520 taupe beige version
Sony WH-CH520 blue version
Sony WH-CH520 white version
Sony WH-CH520 side
Sony WH-CH520 side
Sony WH-CH520 front side
Sony WH-CH520 USB charge cable
Sony WH-CH520 front
Sony WH-CH520 boy sitting on stairs
Sony WH-CH520 laying on desk
Sony WH-CH520 front, cushions turned
Sony WH-CH520 detail cushion
Sony WH-CH520 taupe beige version
Sony WH-CH520 blue version
Sony WH-CH520 white version
Sony WH-CH520 side
Sony WH-CH520 side

Introduction

The Sony WH-CH520 headphones have quickly gained attention among audio enthusiasts for their impressive blend of features and affordability. These headphones are designed with modern consumers in mind, offering a versatile experience suitable for various activities, from commuting to casual listening sessions at home. As a new addition to Sony's lineup, the WH-CH520 aims to deliver a balanced performance across design, sound quality, and connectivity, while also providing excellent battery life. This review will explore various aspects of the WH-CH520, helping you decide if these headphones are the right choice for your audio needs.

If you like this review, you might also like our review on the Sony WF-C700N or Sony WH-CH720N or Sony WF-1000XM5.

Design and Comfort

The Sony WH-CH520 offers a sleek and modern aesthetic that is both stylish and functional. Crafted with a mix of matte and glossy finishes, these headphones strike a balance between elegance and durability. The headband is adjustable, ensuring a snug fit for various head sizes. Lightweight materials further contribute to their comfort, allowing for prolonged use without feeling burdensome. Padding on the ear cups is made of soft memory foam, providing a gentle cushion for your ears. This feature is especially useful during extended listening sessions. The ear cups themselves are rotatable, which means they can lie flat, making storage and portability a breeze. The control buttons are intuitively placed, allowing for easy access without needing to constantly remove the headphones. These buttons provide tactile feedback, making it easy to adjust settings on the go. The overall build quality feels robust, with no creaky parts that might raise durability concerns.

One minor downside is the lack of a folding mechanism, which could be a bit of an inconvenience for some users looking for ultra-portability. However, the compact design still makes them relatively easy to pack into bags or backpacks. Available in multiple colors, the Sony WH-CH520 caters to different style preferences. Whether you're wearing them on a commute or during a workout, these headphones are designed to stay in place without causing discomfort.

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Sound Quality

The Sony WH-CH520 headphones offer an impressive sound quality given their price point. Equipped with 30mm drivers, these headphones deliver a balanced sound profile that caters well to various genres of music. The audio output is clear, with a strong emphasis on mids and highs, making vocals and treble-rich instruments stand out. Bass Response: Although the bass is not overpowering, it is well-defined and punchy. This makes the WH-CH520 suitable for those who enjoy a moderate bass without it overwhelming other frequencies. Treble and Mids: The mids are where these headphones truly shine. Vocals come through crisp and clear, and there's a pleasant warmth to the sound. Highs are also well-represented without being overly sharp, making extended listening sessions comfortable. Soundstage and Imaging: The soundstage is decent for a pair of headphones in this category. While not extraordinarily wide, it offers a good sense of space. Instrument separation is impressive, allowing listeners to pick out individual elements in a track with relative ease.

Interestingly, the WH-CH520 also supports DSEE (Digital Sound Enhancement Engine), which helps to restore audio quality in compressed files. This feature can make a noticeable difference when streaming music, ensuring a richer listening experience even with lower-quality sources. Overall, the Sony WH-CH520 delivers a solid and enjoyable sound performance, making it a great option for everyday use and casual listening. Whether you're into pop, rock, classical, or podcasts, these headphones handle each with a level of proficiency that is sure to please most users.

Sony WH-CH520 front

Battery Life

The Sony WH-CH520 excels in battery life, making it a top contender for those who need long-lasting performance. These headphones offer an impressive 50 hours of continuous playback on a single charge. This is particularly beneficial for frequent travelers or those who do not want to charge their headphones every day. Charging is also quick and efficient. With just a 10-minute quick charge, you can get up to 1.5 hours of playback, which is perfect for those moments when you are in a hurry. The USB-C charging port ensures that charging is fast and straightforward, aligning with modern charging standards.

A noteworthy feature is the battery level indicator accessible via the Sony Headphones Connect app. This app allows users to check the exact battery percentage, giving better control over usage and charging routines. In summary, the Sony WH-CH520 not only offers an exceptionally long battery life but also supports fast charging to keep you going without interruption. Whether you are on a long-haul flight or just enjoying music at home, battery anxiety will be a thing of the past.

Sony WH-CH520 boy sitting on stairs

Connectivity

The Sony WH-CH520 boasts solid connectivity features, making it a versatile choice for various devices and scenarios. One of its standout features is the Bluetooth 5.0 capability. This ensures a more stable connection and efficient power usage, essential for those who value a seamless listening experience. Pairing these headphones with your smartphone, tablet, or laptop is quick and hassle-free. A notable highlight is the multipoint connection feature, which allows you to connect the WH-CH520 to two devices simultaneously. For instance, you can be connected to your laptop for work and your phone for calls without needing to disconnect and reconnect. This flexibility can be especially useful for multitaskers who switch between devices frequently.

Another advantage is the NFC (Near Field Communication) pairing. If your device supports NFC, connecting is as simple as bringing it near the designated spot on the headphones. This reduces the time and effort usually associated with manual pairing. For those who prefer wired connections, the WH-CH520 also includes a 3.5mm audio jack. This provides an alternative for situations where Bluetooth isn't an option, such as during flights or when connecting to a non-Bluetooth device. Moreover, the Sony Headphones Connect app offers additional connectivity options and customization. You can adjust sound settings, update firmware, and control other features directly from your smartphone. The app is available for both iOS and Android devices, increasing its accessibility.

In summary, the Sony WH-CH520 delivers robust and flexible connectivity options, catering to a wide range of user preferences and scenarios. Whether you're a tech enthusiast or someone who values convenience, these headphones have you covered.

Noise Cancellation

The Sony WH-CH520, while a budget-friendly option, does not feature active noise cancellation (ANC). This might be a disappointment for those looking for complete isolation from ambient sounds. However, the ear cups do offer a decent level of passive noise isolation due to their snug fit. This can effectively muffle everyday background noises such as chatter or the hum of an air conditioner. For users who primarily use headphones in quieter environments, the lack of ANC might not be a deal-breaker. The passive isolation can still create an immersive listening experience by reducing some external disturbances. But for those in noisy environments like public transport or bustling cafes, the absence of ANC could be more noticeable.

In summary, while the WH-CH520 lacks the advanced ANC feature found in higher-end models, its passive noise isolation is competent enough for less noisy settings. It’s essential to weigh this aspect when considering if these headphones meet your specific needs.

Sony WH-CH520 laying on desk

Call Quality

The Sony WH-CH520 headphones deliver a decent calling experience. The built-in microphone captures your voice clearly, making sure the person on the other end hears you without much distortion. However, it’s important to note that these headphones don't come with advanced noise cancellation features for calls, which means background noises can sometimes seep through. In quieter environments, the call quality tends to be much better. Voices sound natural and there's minimal lag or delay. The headphones do a reasonable job of isolating your voice from ambient sounds, but they won't perform miracles in very noisy places like busy streets or crowded cafes. One notable aspect is the ease of use. The control buttons on the earcups allow you to answer, end, and mute calls conveniently. There's no need to fumble around with your phone while you're on a call, which makes the whole process seamless.

For video calls or virtual meetings, the Sony WH-CH520 performs adequately. The mic isn’t professional-grade, but it gets the job done for casual and work-related calls. It’s worth mentioning that some users reported a slight drop in clarity when using the headphones over Bluetooth for extended calls. Switching to a wired connection can sometimes help improve this. Overall, for everyday phone calls and occasional video meetings, these headphones are more than capable. They might not match the high-end models with dedicated call features, but they provide a reliable and user-friendly experience.

What's in the Box

To get started with your new Sony WH-CH520 headphones, you'll find the essential items neatly packaged in the box. Let's take a closer look at what is included:

  • Sony WH-CH520 Headphones: The star of the show, these over-ear headphones come with a sleek design and are ready to deliver quality sound.
  • USB-C Charging Cable: A short yet efficient USB-C cable to recharge your headphones. Ensure you have a USB port available for charging.
  • Quick Start Guide: This guide provides fundamental setup instructions, helping you get up and running quickly and easily.
  • Warranty Card: Details on your warranty coverage and support services from Sony, ensuring peace of mind with your purchase.
There's no carrying case or pouch included, which some users might find disappointing. However, the headphones' sturdy build means they can withstand the rigors of daily use without requiring additional protection. In summary, Sony provides the necessary basics to get you started with the WH-CH520. While it may not include a vast array of extras, the focus remains on delivering a quality listening experience right out of the box.
Sony WH-CH520 front, cushions turned

Conclusion

The Sony WH-CH520 strikes a balance between affordability and quality. These headphones offer a strong combination of features, making them a solid choice for many users. The design is sleek and comfortable, ensuring hours of wear without discomfort. They deliver impressive sound quality, particularly in the mid and high ranges, which is crucial for music enthusiasts and casual listeners alike. One of the standout features is the battery life, easily lasting up to 50 hours on a single charge. This makes them ideal for long trips or extended use without frequent recharging.

 

Connectivity is seamless, thanks to Bluetooth 5.0, ensuring a stable and robust connection with minimal dropouts. Though the WH-CH520 lacks advanced noise cancellation, its passive isolation is decent enough for most environments. Call quality is satisfactory, handling voice clarity well during phone conversations. The included accessories in the box, like the charging cable, add convenience right out of the package.
Overall, if you're in the market for a budget-friendly pair of headphones that don't compromise on essential features and performance, the Sony WH-CH520 is worth considering. Whether for commuting, casual listening, or extended use, these headphones offer reliable quality at an accessible price point.

 

 

 

Video by: Sony Europe

Pros & cons

Pros

  • Impressive sound quality
  • Long battery life
  • Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity
  • Comfortable design
  • Supports DSEE for audio enhancement

Cons

  • No active noise cancellation
  • Lacks folding mechanism
  • No carrying case included

Technical specifications

Brand Sony
Model WH-CH520
Headphone Type Over-ear
Driver Unit 30mm
Frequency Response 20Hz - 20,000Hz
Impedance 32 ohms
Sensitivity 98 dB/mW
Bluetooth Version 4.2
Wireless Range Up to 30 feet
Battery Life Up to 20 hours
Charging Time Approx. 4.5 hours