Sony WF-C700N Review: Is mid-range noise cancellation earphones worth it?

It is no secret that we are massive fans of Sony’s wireless active noise cancellation (ANC) headphones (I’m using the Sony WH-1000XM3 while writing this review). Their flagship wireless ANC earbuds, the WF-1000’s might be out of reach for many people, which is where these mid-range ANC earphones come in. In our Sony WF-C700N review, we find out if active noise cancellation makes sense at a more sensical price point.

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Design & Build

The Sony WF-C700N closely resemble the cheaper WF-C500 from 2021, with color variations (black, white, sage green, and lavender for WF-C700N; black, white, green, and orange for WF-C500) and metallic grilles for added ANC microphones being the main distinctions. Unlike AirPods, the WF-C700N lack a stem and adopt a button design, sitting entirely in the ear cup without protrusions. However, individuals with small ears may find fit issues as these headphones are bulkier compared to AirPods.

Control-wise, Sony maintains a button interface instead of touch controls, with the buttons on the WF-C700N offering soft presses and tactile feedback. There’s a drawback of accidentally pressing them while inserting or securing the earbuds. These mid-range earbuds lack automatic play/pause sensors when removing or re-inserting, a feature expected to trickle down into this price range eventually, like ANC.

Impressively, Sony retains a battery life of up to 10 hours without ANC and 7.5 hours with ANC, while reducing the earbuds’ weight by 15%, from 5.4g to 4.6g. In the realm of true-wireless headphones, the WF-C700N are lightweight, ensuring comfort for prolonged wear. A full charge cycle takes about 1.5 hours, while a 10-minute charge offers an hour of playback.

The case, resembling an oversized pill, is lightweight and tactually pleasing. It offers a full earphone charge, yielding up to 15 hours with ANC and 20 hours without. The magnetic cover adds a premium feel with its textured surface, snapping satisfyingly in place. The back houses a USB-C port for charging, alongside a button for pairing or factory reset purposes.


The Sony WF-C700N headphones kind of bridge the gap between the cheaper WF-C500 and the fancier WF-1000XM4. When it comes to sound, they’re more like the WF-C500, which is actually a good thing. Sony’s budget headphones sound pretty darn good, even if they tend to have a bit more bass.

The mids and highs are clear and balanced, but the real star of the show with the Sony WF-C700N is the bass. Even if you set the Clear Boost to level 4, bass tracks in genres like rock and metal, which usually aren’t very bass-heavy, become more prominent without going overboard. They step forward a bit and sound surprisingly warm, not overpowering.

Things might get a bit too much for genres that aren’t used to a big bass presence beyond level 4, but if you’re into modern hip-hop or electronic music, that’s where the fun starts. The deep synth bass in “Run the Jewels” songs gets even dirtier, and those punchy bass drums in drum’n’bass tracks gain extra richness and warmth. Of course, how much you enjoy this depends on your personal taste.

The Sony WF-C700N really excel with these kinds of music, but that doesn’t mean they’re not good for other genres too. You can actually tweak the sound with a 5-band equalizer. There are preset options for different styles like pop, rock, and speech, and you can even create your own settings.

Having five frequency bands in the equalizer is just right in our opinion. After all, the Sony WF-C700N aren’t trying to be super high-end hi-fi headphones; otherwise, we might have had a bone to pick with just three bands.

Active Noise Cancellation

One of the main technical distinctions between the budget WF-C500 and the WF-C700N is the inclusion of active noise cancellation. Previously found in pricier models, this feature is now available at a relatively modest cost.

In the companion app, users can customize which modes to toggle between with a touch: all three or just two out of three. The default setup is On/Transparency, likely the most common scenario. Incorporating the option to deactivate noise cancellation in the cycle helps conserve battery life when necessary.

While the ANC performs decently overall, it doesn’t reach the caliber of the Sony WF-1000XM4. With ANC enabled, not all frequencies are equally filtered, and transparency mode exhibits frequency-related issues. While consistent machine sounds (like engines or compressors) are effectively heard – a boon in traffic – certain frequencies, especially voices, can occasionally be muffled to the point of needing to remove the earbuds to converse at a checkout.

This disparity in quality likely results from the Sony WF-C700N possessing fewer microphones compared to the premium model, affecting ambient noise capture.

For those seeking some automation, the Sony app can be granted permissions to enable noise cancellation or transparency mode based on location and actions, providing a semi-automatic switch-on/off experience.


Looking for budget-friendly wireless in-ear headphones with noise-cancelling? The Sony WF-C700N’s could be your ideal choice. They deliver impressive sound, especially for electronic and hip-hop music enthusiasts, or those seeking a deeper bass in metal playlists.

These headphones stand out by offering a host of features at an affordable price. Even the discontinued AirPods 2 fall short in comparison, lacking ANC and sealing in-ear design. Furthermore, Sony WF-C700N is available in a variety of colours, although our testing was limited to the white variant.

While compared to pricier models like Sony WF-1000XM4 or AirPods Pro 2, some compromises need to be considered, such as slightly less effective active noise cancellation and the absence of certain smart features like automatic pause/play upon headphone removal/insertion. Overall, Sony WF-C700N serves as an intriguing and solid alternative, offering great value.