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Sony's New Budget CH-520 On-Ear Headphones Are on Sale for $40

The CH-520 wireless headphones list for $60, but you can get them now for 33% off in black.

David Carnoy Executive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.
Expertise Mobile accessories and portable audio, including headphones, earbuds and speakers Credentials
  • Maggie Award for Best Regularly Featured Web Column/Consumer
David Carnoy
2 min read
The Sony CH-520 are budget on-ear headphones that sound surprisingly good
Enlarge Image
The Sony CH-520 are budget on-ear headphones that sound surprisingly good

Sony's CH-520 on-ear headphones sound surprisingly decent, considering their budget price.

David Carnoy/CNET

I recently reviewed Sony's entry-level CH-720N noise-canceling headphones. They're quite good, but if you can't afford them -- they list for $150 but are currently discounted to $128 -- the company's new budget on-ear CH-520 headphones are an intriguing option, as they're selling for as low as $40, or 33% less than their list price of $60. The only rub is that deal is for the black version of the headphones -- the blue and white versions remain at $48, the previous low price for the CH-520s that I highlighted in a post a couple of weeks ago.   

I initially had low expectations for the CH-520s. They look and feel a bit cheap, lack noise canceling and are pretty no-frills. However, it turns out they feature good sound for their price, are lightweight and pretty comfortable for on-ear headphones, and also have excellent battery life (they're rated for up to 50 hours at moderate volume levels). Additionally, they're equipped with multipoint Bluetooth pairing, so you can pair them with two devices simultaneously (such as a smartphone and computer) and easily switch audio between those devices. Voice-calling performance is decent, though not up to the level of what you get with the CH-720Ns. 

Note that there's no wired option -- this is a wireless Bluetooth-only headphone. The CH-520s offer overall balanced sound with decent clarity. The bass has some punch to it but doesn't pack a wallop, and you aren't going to get quite as wide a soundstage as you get from Sony's more expensive over-ear headphones. But these definitely sound better than Sony's previous entry-level on-ear headphones, and they sound better than I thought they would. 

I tried the white color but they also come in blue and black (alas, no protective carrying pouch is included). It's also worth noting that they link with Sony's Headphones Connect app for iOS and Android, which allows for upgrading the firmware and accessing an equalizer to tweak the sound, as well as activate multipoint Bluetooth pairing.

The Sony CH-520 are budget on-ear headphones that sound surprisingly good
Enlarge Image
The Sony CH-520 are budget on-ear headphones that sound surprisingly good

The CH-520 headphones are comfortable for on-ear 'phones.

Screenshot by David Carnoy/CNET

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