Sony’s top end 1000X series of headphones and earphones are favourites the world over. In fact, the WF-1000XM5 have just been launched but are yet to release in India. For anyone who doesn’t believe in paying a lot for earphones though, there are plenty more options from Sony — and flooding the market, from other brands. The most recent from Sony in India is the WF-C700N, a set of affordable true wireless earphones for ₹8,990, available since 15th July. These sound good and are really comfortable.
The WF-C700N come in a neat little package complete with little cable and sets of ear-tips, as usual. The capsule or pill shaped case the buds sit in is impossibly light. So light, one wonders whether the buds are in there at all. They are, in fact, and the magnets in the case are so strong they all but snatch the buds away from your fingers and snap them back in place if you’re in the vicinity. You have to pull a bit to get them out. This is just as well as with such a light case you can’t have them falling out if dropped.
The device is in several colours -- black, white, green and lavender -- but we had a look at the egg-shell-white model. The weight and general styling of the case does tell you this is a budget device but it by no means looks cheap. The buds look regular and seem rather rounded, enough to make you wonder if they will fit well. But once you do wear them, any doubts are dispelled.
Many earbuds are very fiddly and need to be worn in specific ways to fit and be comfortable. But the C700N just need to be inserted and given a small twist and they sit firm. One doesn’t even have to experiment much with ear tips. The fit is definitely good enough for these buds to be used for working out — or walking out. They’re also IPX4 splash resistant.
As with all Sony’s audio products, you can use the Sony Headphones Connect app to access features and upgrade firmware. In the case of the C700N, a software upgrade was indeed waiting and turned out to be most important as it all but transformed the sound quality after installation.
For anyone who’s used a Sony audio product, there’s the familiar equaliser one has seen with other products. There aren’t as many options as with the top-end products, but there a lot that can be customised to your ear.
There’s Ambient Sound Control, which regulates noise cancellation based on what you’re doing, and there’s 360 Reality Audio, which will play spatial audio if one subscribes to compatible apps. There’s also controls for noise cancellation and several others for personalisation and usage such as enabling multi-point connection so you can use the earphones with more than one source device, switching between the two easily. You’ll also find Adaptive Sound Control, which sets the equaliser to your preferences depending on what you’re doing and your location.
The buds themselves have a rather nice press-button, which works very well without seeming to push the earbud into your ears at all or making much of a sound. These buttons switch the device on and off, navigate tracks, trigger assistant or take calls, and switch between noise cancellation and ambient sound.
The WF-C700N sound interestingly nice and clear and detailed. This means if there’s a track with distortion, you’ll hear the distortion quite clearly. There’s a proper present bass but not to the extent that bass-heads love. The equaliser will boost it for those who want bass-forward profiles. In actual fact, all three frequency segments get their place in the sun. The sound is rich, refined, and pleasant without being anything being overwhelming. No segment of frequencies seems to swamp the other.
These earbuds support SBC and AAC codecs, but no other high res standards. There’s Sony’s DSEE enhancement, enabled via the app. The buds use Bluetooth 5.2.
Noise cancellation is more like noise dampening or suppression, compared with Sony’s own higher-end products, some of which can send you to a noiseless world. Nevertheless the WF-C700N buds do a good job of removing the annoyance of noise, while still making it possible to pick up sounds that may be important even without going into ambient or transparent mode.
You can get about seven to seven and a half hours of play from the WF-C700N, but just one additional full charge from the case. There’s no wireless charging support.
If you were to look around online, you’ll find reviews from the US or Europe that are very appreciative of the WF-C700N buds. And they’re really quite decent. But in India the one difference is that the market is flooded with TWS headsets at every price bracket and some in the same price category as the WF-C700N or even cheaper are quite impressive. That makes one’s choice a little difficult. Ultimately, it depends on whether you choose the Sony brand above others, particularly look for comfort, are fine with balanced sound and not more consumer oriented profiles, and want not-too-powerful noise cancelling.