A few months ago I reviewed the entry level Sony CH-720N noise canceling headphones. They’re pretty good, but if you can’t afford them — they retail for $150, but are currently marked down to $128 — the company’s new budget CH-520 in-ear headphones are an intriguing option as they sell for low prices from $38, or 37% off their list price of $60. Before the deal was only the black version, but now the blue and white versions are $38 as well. This is the lowest price on the CH-520 to date.
I initially had low expectations for the CH-520. They look and feel a bit cheap, lack noise cancellation and are pretty no frills. However, it turns out that they offer good sound for the price, are light and quite comfortable for in-ear headphones, and also have excellent battery life (they’re rated for up to 50 hours at moderate volume levels). In addition, they are equipped with multi-point Bluetooth pairing, so you can pair them with two devices at the same time (such as a smartphone and a computer) and easily switch audio between those devices. Voice call performance is decent, though not up to the level of what you get with the CH-720N.
Note that there’s no cable option – these are Bluetooth-only wireless headphones. The CH-520 offers an overall balanced sound with decent clarity. The bass has some punch but isn’t punchy, and you won’t get as wide a soundstage as you get from Sony’s more expensive on-ear headphones. But these definitely sound better than Sony’s previous basic in-ear headphones, and they sound better than I thought they would.
I tried the white color, but they also come in blue and black (sorry, no protective bag included). It’s also worth noting that they connect to Sony’s Headphones Connect app for iOS and Android, which allows for firmware upgrades and access to an equalizer to adjust the sound, as well as enabling multipoint Bluetooth pairing.
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