It’s a clean sweep for Sony’s wireless headphones at the What Hi-Fi? Awards 2023

Sony WH-CH720N resting on a desk
(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

It’s not often we see one brand boss a What Hi-Fi? Awards category in the way Sony has with wireless headphones in 2023.

Collecting just one of our Best Buy Awards is seen by many as a good year, but the Japanese giant has made it a clean sweep and picked up no fewer than five in this category. Talk about complete and utter domination…

From the budget in-ears to the flagship over-ears, Sony has a pair for everyone and every budget. During the course of the last twelve months, some rivals have come close, notably Bose and JBL, but Sony is at the top of its game at the moment and has seen off every competitor. It’s hard to look anywhere else when you’re getting such a potent blend of performance and features across multiple different price points.

Sony WF-C500 out of their charging case

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

We’ll start with Sony’s earbuds and, for the money, you can’t really ask for more than what the WF-C500 (above) deliver. If you want no-frills but excellent comfort and exceptional audio quality for minimal outlay, these headphones deliver and then some. Battery life is a whopping ten hours per charge, while their IPX4 rating means they’re also an inexpensive partner for anyone into their exercise.

Sony WF-C700N out of their charging case

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

Step up a level and you reach the Sony WF-C700N (above). These in-ears add impressive noise-cancelling to the equation but there’s also a jump in comfort levels and sound quality. Small and discrete, these Sonys look the part and you hardly know you’re wearing them thanks to the excellent fit. You can simply concentrate on enjoying their superb, musical sound.

Sony WF-1000XM5 earbuds by their charging case

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

If you have the budget for a premium pair of wireless earbuds, then Sony once again delivers with the WF-1000XM5 (above). These flagship buds deliver a truly stunning and spectacular sonic performance. They produce detail and dynamics that you won’t find anywhere else at this level, while also adding a slick design and excellent noise-cancelling to the equation.

Sony WH-CH720N resting on a desk

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

Switching over to over-ear models, it is the inexpensive Sony WH-CH720N (above) that get the nod of approval from our team of reviewers. They combine good noise-cancelling with pleasing build quality, an enthusiastic, punchy sound and a 35-hour battery life. For the money, you can’t help but be impressed by the package on offer.

Sony WH-1000XM5 on a rucksack

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

Last but by no means least are the current kings of noise-cancelling and sound quality at the top end of the market. The WH-1000XM5 (above) won this crown last year and the fact they’re still on the throne 12 months later just goes to show how highly our test team rates them. They perform sensationally well across the board, whether you’re talking about comfort levels, noise-cancelling or just pure sound quality. They’re such an engaging listen that we find them impossible to put down!

It's pretty clear which brand will win the category's Product of the Year accolade, but the model will at least be a surprise. Tune into on Wednesday 15th November to find out which Best Buy winner we find the best value. 


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Andy Madden

Andy is Deputy Editor of What Hi-Fi? and a consumer electronics journalist with nearly 20 years of experience writing news, reviews and features. Over the years he's also contributed to a number of other outlets, including The Sunday Times, the BBC, Stuff, and BA High Life Magazine. Premium wireless earbuds are his passion but he's also keen on car tech and in-car audio systems and can often be found cruising the countryside testing the latest set-ups. In his spare time Andy is a keen golfer and gamer.