The last Sony headphones I reviewed here on MySmartPrice was the WH XB700 from the company’s ‘Extra Bass’ lineup. The XB 700 impressed me with its great sound quality and long 30-hour battery life. However, it also made me think whether Sony’s cheaper wireless headphones models priced below the INR 5,000 mark would ever be able to match the performance and battery life offered by the company’s more expensive products.
Turns out, they do.
Say hello to the Sony WH-CH510. Launched at IFA 2019, at first glance, the CH 510 seems to be a direct successor to the WH-CH500 from 2018. However, there are a couple of important differences between the two. Primarily, the CH510 gets supra-aural ear cups (on-ear design) while the CH500 came with circumaural cups (over the ear design). The 510, at least in this regard, seems to be somewhat of a downgrade since circumaural headphones tend to be pricier than supra-aural ones. Another key difference between the two comes in the form of the claimed battery life. The CH510 now matches the more expensive XB 700 in terms of battery life. Yes, this tiny wireless headphones from Sony now claims 35 hours of battery life on a single charge! It delivers all these features with a launch price of Rs 4,990.
Over the past two weeks, I used the Sony WH-CH500 as my primary source for consuming audio and thought it was about time I penned my thoughts on this (relatively inexpensive) piece of technology.
[P_REVIEW post_id=169122 visual=’full’]
Table of Contents
Sony WH-CH510: Design, Build Quality and Ergonomics
The first thing I noticed about the WH-CH 510 was its size. Coming from the XB 700, that weighed a tad over 190g, the CH 510 felt very light thanks to its 130g heft. Even with the earcups open and the headbands stretched, the CH510 has a very small footprint. The cups are foldable/swivel in nature and will appeal to folks who travel a lot. However, as the case was with the XB 700, you do not get a carrying case with the CH 510 and will be required to buy one separately.
Another aspect of the WH CH-510 that came to my immediate attention was its build quality. The product felt very well put together for something that is positioned at the lower end of the wireless headphones price spectrum. If I had one gripe, it would have to be about the overall plastics, which felt a bit rough. But that is not really a complaint considering the price at which you get this decent pair of earcups.
The right ear cup is where you will find the volume up/down buttons, the power button, and the USB Type-C port. This is also where you will see the microphone for making calls. There is also a small LED light here to indicate the charging and wireless connectivity status. Once you get the hang of the button positions, it is a breeze to use the controls. Our review unit was the blue version, which I quite liked. You also get the headphones in white and black color options.
Sony WH-CH510: Audio Quality, Performance
The Sony WH-CH510 is an entry-level wireless headphone targeted at folks who need both wireless capability and good audio quality on a relatively small budget. As the case always is with my playlist, the CH510 was fed a lot of mellow tracks (mostly Malayalam and Hindi numbers) with emphasis on the mids. The CH510 found itself in its comfort zone with most of these tracks. Even though the mids seem to be its forte, it was adept at handling the occasional high notes with clarity and without sounding too shrill. Even though it gets 30mm drivers – which is also what I saw on the XB700 – the CH510 isn’t going to deliver earth-shattering lows that some of Sony’s more expensive models are famous for.
Overall, I felt the CH510 offers a balanced performance, which in itself is creditworthy considering the price at which it retails. While the general perception would be that most audiophiles might stay clear of products like the CH510, I could see many of them buy these (relatively) cheap headphones as a secondary option. Thanks to support for Bluetooth 5.0, not only does the CH510 more stable connections, but it also helps with the overall battery life aspect. I also found myself using the CH510 for Skype and video calls that lasted for more than 30 minutes at a stretch. Unlike the case with the XB700, which caused my ears to hurt, when using it for extended periods, the CH510 felt much more comfortable as it put less pressure on the ears (probably because they weigh much less). But I have read reviews of people who felt some discomfort after using the CH510 for more than 30 minutes.
Sony WH-CH510: Battery Life
The CH-510 claims 35 hours of battery life, and after my experience with the XB700, I was confident of the headphones actually delivering on it. Right out of the box, the CH-510 had over 90% battery, and it took me almost a week to completely drain the battery out during the testing phase. During playback, you can hit the power button once to check on the battery status quickly. You can also check the battery status of the headphones using your connected phone. Once I finally managed to exhaust the battery, it took me a short 10-minute charge to ensure continuous playback for 90 more minutes. I was able to charge the CH-510 fully in an hour and a half and could forget about charging it for the rest of the week. Sony provides a USB Type-C charging cable with the CH-510 inside the box, which could have been slightly longer. I saw the CH-510 consistently deliver the claimed 30-plus hours of battery life, which makes it a great product for long haul flights.
Sony WH-CH510: Verdict
The Sony WH-CH510 is a great buy for people on the lookout for a versatile wireless headphone with excellent battery life. There are no issues on the performance front, and it actually sounds quite good for something that is priced under Rs 5,000 and has excellent wireless capabilities. It does miss out on features like noise cancellation, and water resistance, which I don’t really think are cons considering its price. The only issue that some people could face with it is of comfort. While it did not cause my ears to hurt, there are reviews on Amazon with people complaining about this aspect. If you do plan to get yourselves the CH510, it is advisable that you get to a Sony store closeby and try them on for a few minutes before buying.
Design and Build Quality7.0/10
Value for Money8.0/10
What Is Good?
- Wireless audio on a budget
- Great battery life
- Excellent audio quality
- Bluetooth 5.0 support
What Is Bad?
- On ear design not comfortable for many
- Sound leakage at high volume