I ditched my TWS for Sony's new on-ear wireless headphones, and I'm not going back

I ditched my TWS for Sony’s new on-ear wireless headphones, and I’m not going back

Many of you will hate me after reading this review, especially those who just bought a new pair of TWS. Your cheap pair of truly wireless headphones is trash. They move around when you move your head, experience lots of signal issues in the form of lost connections, and don’t come with proper app support. After a long relationship with my TWS, I’m ditching them in favor of the Sony WH-CH250 over-ear wireless headphones. The form factor differences are obvious, but I had my own reasons for giving up the true wireless headphones. Here are my thoughts on Sony’s latest budget on-ear wireless headphones.

Sony WH-CH250 price in India (as reviewed): Rs 5,990

Sony WH-CH250 on-ear wireless headphones (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/Indian Express)

Why I tried the Sony WH-CH250 in the first place

Last year I bought a pair of true wireless earbuds at an online Diwali sale. Although they’re small enough to throw in my pocket, I had trouble keeping them in my ears when moving around. The audio quality wasn’t great either. My only reason for buying them was that they cost me less than Rs 2,000 and nothing else. Then the unthinkable happened. During an official tour, they stopped working. These are the only headphones I had. It was a pretty miserable experience and I was without a helmet when I needed it most.

Headphones are an integral part of life. I spent a lot of my time outdoors. My headphones give me the freedom to enjoy my own company on the way to work and help me relax when I’m walking around at night. But at the same time, the headphones also help me focus on work when I’m transcribing an interview or answering calls.

Disappointed by the low-cost TWS (which was obviously a big mistake that I still regret), I had been looking for a new headset for many months. The Sony WH-CH520 has arrived at the right time. I don’t consider myself an audiophile and probably wouldn’t want absolute high end headphones. I wanted well-designed wireless headphones that can offer both comfort and performance, but not at a very high cost.

After using the WH-CH250 for a few days, I started to appreciate the on-ear headphones more than ever (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/Indian Express)

First off, what makes these new headphones so appealing?

Design and comfort: These headphones have a classic style. They have a clean and simple design that matches the aesthetic of Sony’s other headphones. The headphones (including the headband) have a matte plastic finish (y), and while the build isn’t premium, they appear to be designed as an everyday pair of headphones. The headphones come in beige, white, black and blue finishes, the color we tested.

Rather than opting for a fancier finish, I think Sony wanted these headphones to appeal to a younger demographic, especially kids. They have a toy feel to them. But that’s not a bad thing; sometimes you want to be carefree with a device. There shouldn’t be too much to worry about handling them on a day-to-day basis – and the headphones are pretty solid, anyway. In fact, they only weigh 147 grams, which is pretty light. The first time I put them on my head I couldn’t believe how comfortable they were. The headband balances the weight properly; I don’t really feel like the headphones sit in my ears after an hour of listening to my favorite music. After using the WH-CH250 for a few days, I started to appreciate the over-ear headphones more than ever. Some may prefer a larger over-ear design to over-ear headphones, and while that’s down to personal choice, I’ve always struggled to put them on since I’ve been wearing glasses. On the WH-CH250, the ear cups are more ventilated and do not exert pressure on the ears.

These headphones have a classic style (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/Indian Express)

While the over-ear design doesn’t block sound as effectively as over-ear headphones, headphones like the WH-CH250 are better suited for people with smaller ears.

One major change that may seem to have upset some users is that the WH-CH250 cannot be folded in on itself for portability, but yes, the cups do rotate. Play/pause and volume control buttons are placed in the cups, along with a power button and the USB Type-C port for charging the headphones. You’ll also find a built-in microphone and a small LED on the right earcup.

Listening experience: The sound of the WH-CH250 is fantastic. They look wonderful. Enrique Iglesias Hero (a track that instantly boosts your mood), sounded on point and well balanced. I could pick up all the instruments clearly and the sharpness of the music on the WH-CH250 is surprisingly good. I haven’t heard headphones as vibrant as these at this price, but that’s a personal thing. The bass is less punchy, but that can’t be traded off for the sheer quality these headphones deliver.

I currently don’t have any other over-ear headphones I can put them up with, but I have the JBL CLUB950NC, a pair of semi-premium over-ear headphones. Compared to the WH-CH250, they sounded flat. I tested Sony’s over-ear headphones with the iPhone 14 and they work great with no lag or loss of connection. They also have the ability to switch between two devices.

The Sony Headphones app (Android and iOS) is a great addition. The app can be used to adjust the equalizer so that the music sounds exactly the way you want. The Sony WH-CH520 supports SBC and AAC audio formats as well as 360 degree audio.

The app can be used to adjust the equalizer so music sounds exactly the way you want (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/Indian Express)

Battery life and call quality

The battery life of the Sony WH-CH250 is 50 hours. On the bright side, 50 hours is plenty of battery life, and a 3-minute quick charge provides around 1.5 hours of music playback. The headphones also work great for calls, both indoors and outdoors. I could attend Google Meet and Team calls directly from the phone with the headphones on. It succeeded in isolating distracting background noise.

Sony WH-CH250 battery life is 50 hours (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/Indian Express)

Where does the Sony WH-CH250 fall short?

While these headphones sound great, they lack active noise cancellation, which means they just won’t silence the world around me when you pass a bus or car. You’ll hear the neighbors’ dogs barking because the over-ear headphones don’t wrap around the ears to block out background noise. But I think that’s too much to ask for features like ANC on a headset that only costs Rs 6000.

The WH-CH250s aim squarely at capturing young people with their first pair of headphones (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/Indian Express)

Should you buy the Sony WH-CH250?

Overall, I enjoyed using the Sony WH-CH250. I think Sony has struck the perfect balance between price and performance. The WH-CH250s aim squarely at capturing young people with their first pair of headphones. The WH-CH250’s lower price, coupled with its lightweight design, makes it ideal for children. However, what is interesting about these headphones is that they not only appeal to a younger population with a lower price and simple design, but also offer great sound for anyone who wants headphones on-ear headphones at an entry-level price.

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First published on: 2023-07-05 11:38 AM HST

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