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If you're looking to buy a pair of true wireless headphones, you'll see an overwhelming number of recommendations for the Sony WF-1000XM4. In the five years since they launched, they have become a go-to for anyone looking for some of the best noise-cancelling in-ears you can buy.

However, not everyone wants to spend their $200/£200 asking price, and if you have been looking for something cheaper, Sony has just launched a pair of headphones that may be of interest. They are the WF-C700N and replace 2021's WF-C500N, aiming to deliver a lot of what we love in the flagship buds for half the price.

Can they bring the sort of quality we expect from Sony's earbuds to a lower price bracket without too many compromises? We've been testing them to find out.

Sony WF-C700N
Sony/Pocket lint
Sony WF-C700N

For their price, the WF-C700N offer up an appealing balance of attractive design, good features and a well-judged sound, but miss out on build quality.

  • Nice simple looks
  • Comfortable and light
  • Good ANC and sound
  • Plasticky case and build
  • Middling battery life
  • Competition is moving fast


  • 4.5 g per earbud
  • Available in black, white, lavender and sage green

The WF-C700N aren't dissimilar in design to the pricier siblings they look up to, with a similar shape that sits entirely within the ear. Sony apparently designed them with comfort and stability in mind and, in fairness, they're pretty lovely to wear, even for long periods - the hugely lightweight nature of the materials Sony has chosen helps on that front.

As always, there are a few ear tips to choose from in the box, and we found it really simple to get a great fit, one that isn't quite as pressurising on your ear as some other more expensive options.

Sony WF-C700N 3

The number of available colours is a nice touch, but there's no getting around the fact that this lightweight build is a result of almost entirely plastic materials, and that does mean that the earbuds can't masquerade as any more premium than they are.

This is particularly evident when you handle the case, which is super light and feels like something you could break with almost no effort if you tried (not that you would). This has upsides, since it's a light enough package in total as to be no burden at all, but does make you feel like you've opted for the budget buds instead of a set that punch above their weight.

Sony WF-C700N 6

The earbuds do magnetise into the case really nicely, though, and in the ear they're nice and anonymous, so there's still a lot to like in how the WF-C700N are built.


  • IPX4 waterproofing
  • 15 hours battery life (7.5 hours per wear), with noise cancelling on
  • Adaptive noise cancellation

Considering the chosen price point, the Sony WF-C700N don't go big on features outside of their main noise-cancelling feature set, but there are still some nice touches here

For example, you'll get IPX4 waterproofing making the earbuds fine for use at the gym, an essential feature to ensure that these are actually useful in real-life situations. There's support for Bluetooth Multipoint connection too, so they can be paired with two devices at the same time.

Sony WF-C700N 2

Battery life is a little so-so compared with flagship headphones, at just 15 hours in total, but 7.5 hours of playback on a single charge with another full charge in the case is nothing to sniff at. If you don't need noise cancelling on, you will be able to squeeze a little more out of them, at 20 hours total, with 10 hours of playback at a time.

Speaking of noise cancelling, Sony's Adaptive Sound Control is on board here, and can be controlled within the Sony Headphones Connect app. This sees your headphones understanding your environment - whether you're travelling, at home or in the gym, for example - and adjusting their level of noise cancelling to suit.

Sony WF-C700N 1

This is a feature that divides opinion a little - while it works with a decent degree of reliability, we still lean towards manual control (which is very easy to set up in the app) so that we're never taken by surprise. It's nice to have the option if you do prefer it, of course.

There's a straightforward transparency mode too, called Ambient Sound Mode, plus a Focus on Voice feature, that will enable you to clearly hear anyone speaking to you, so you don't need to remove your headphones to have a chat. Like most of these features we've tested down the years, we can't imagine relying on either - the echoing and magnification of sound is just too weird, and we soon removed the ambient mode from the controls entirely. Again, it's very much appreciated that you can customise things to that depth, but whether you use it or note is a whole other matter. We'd probably prefer auto-pause and wear detection here instead, but it's sadly not included.

The noise cancellation itself has to be taken in its context - if you line it up against the top hitters like Bose's QuietComfort Earbuds II or indeed the Sony WF-1000XM4, you'll come away sorely disappointed. You'll hear more rumbles and more will get through to you.

Sony WF-C700N 4

However, compare these to the likes of the Nothing Ear 2 and things are a lot closer, so Sony has unsurprisingly done fairly well for itself. Of course, over-ears always have the advantage, so its recent budget CH720Ns are a worthy option if you're wanting more isolation at a similar price.


Slip the WF-C700N into your ears and start listening, and you're likely to be pleasantly surprised by the lively sound you're greeted with.

Despite their lightweight build, these earbuds offer plenty of volume to play with, and they remain stable and controlled even when we nudge them towards their upper limits.

Sony WF-C700N 9

We've been testing Spotify's AI DJ this week, which has made for a rewardingly genre-hopping process that has paired very nicely with the WF-C700N, from retro classics to heavier modern mixes.

They might not be the most expansive when it comes to soundstage, but the sound didn't feel hemmed in or restricted either. It's a fair balance at this price and one Sony has struck well.

That's the case elsewhere here. Overall, these in-ears edge towards neutrality, with a focus on clarity above all. The midrange is ever so slightly forward, so vocals shine, and there's a nice amount of bite in the treble that gives them energy and excitement. We're impressed with the amount of detail at play here too, revealing a good amount of texture and subtlety to instruments and vocals that we weren't expecting at this price.

Sony WF-C700N 5

The low end isn't perhaps as rumbly or powerful as you might expect in a pair of cheaper headphones - often to their detriment -but it's far from lightweight. It is plenty rich and weighty enough to give the C700N solidity and authority, and always well controlled, but if you'd rather hear more, there's an EQ in the Headphones Connect app that allows you to tweak some levels to your preference.


Overall the WF-C700N strike us as pretty well-judged headphones for the price ($119.99/£99.99). There's a good amount of detail and insight, a decent handle on timing and level-headed approach to sound quality that you don't uniformly hear in headphones at this level.

Add to that some good features and an attractive design, and they're a pretty enticing package. It's only that plastic build quality that holds them back from being truly eye-catching - headphones don't just feel nice to use because of sound alone, and Sony has room for improvement on this front.