Sony WF-C500

Affordable True Wireless in-ears with Bluetooth 5.0

With the WF-C500, Sony offers True Wireless in-ears that, with a recommended price of 79 euros, see themselves as a classic consumer device and are available in several fashionable colours. The sound quality meets the requirements for everyday mobile use with a high level of wearing comfort.

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Available in matte plastic, the Sony WF-C500 come in black, white, green and orange. These closed headphones are IPX4 certified against sweat and water, use dynamic drivers and replace the usual touch control with a smooth-action button on the outside of both earpieces. In addition, the proven free Sony app, Headphones (iOS and Android), is available to enable configuration. The electronics support Bluetooth 5.0 and the audio codecs SBC and AAC. Sound optimisation DSEE technology is also on board.

In practice

I have to admit that the mint green colour and slightly transparent plastic casing of the Sony WF-C500’s charging case created reservations in my mind about quality. All the better that these feather-light, pleasantly rounded in-ears really did fit perfectly in my ears. During our test, the WF-C500 completed several train journeys and were always secure, comfortable and pressure-free. That’s how it should be.

This device also earns praise for its fast pairing and support for Fast Pair (Android) and Swift Pair (Win 10). Likewise, the wireless link with my iPhone 8 proved to be pleasingly stable and extended across several rooms.

Sony specifies a maximum runtime of ten hours for music playback. The full charging time is 2.5 hours, or three hours for the charging case with a USB-C connection, which increases the total playtime to 20 hours. These are not top values, but they are certainly practical. A quick-charge function (10 minutes for another 60 minutes of music) is also available, as is the option for inductive charging.

The buttons on the outside can be used for the usual functions: Start/stop music playback, skip tracks, adjust volume, make phone calls and call a smartphone voice assistant. However, I was not completely satisfied because, in everyday use, the buttons regularly triggered when the earpiece was inserted into the ear. It also made sense to use only one earpiece to make phone calls, for example. There are no automatic functions. But the earpieces are switched off as soon as they are placed in the charging case.

The tried-and-tested app supports operation with status information, switchable help functions such as voice messages in several languages, an equaliser (see below) and the option of firmware updates.

Sound

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The Sony WF-C500s have a surprisingly rich performance. The dynamic 5.5mm drivers deliver punch and powerful levels when needed. There is a modern and quite conducive slight bass emphasis for mobile use. In general, these headphones needed a bit of volume to really get going. However, they then provided a pleasing listening experience.

Of course, the sound performance of the Sony WF-C500 should be evaluated within the true-wireless category and their price range. They exhibited full-body in the bass while being accentuated, tonally trackable and reaching down into the low bass. In the midrange, voices were reproduced with the necessary fullness (Jerry Cantrell “Brighten”) and transparency (Sophie Zelmani “Precious Burden”). Acoustic instruments also have a natural character.

I also liked the WF-C500 for dense arrangements, such as drum ‘n bass. Rock and metal with pronounced mids sounded pleasantly rich depending on the mix, such as “Check My Brain” by Alice in Chains. On the other hand, the aggressive mix of Meshuggah’s “Bleed” sounded rather too tinny. Finally, the unit we tested avoided harshness in the highs but did not sound at all dull. However, audiophile airiness was not to be expected.

Their detail resolution corresponds to the price range, and this also applies to the good, but not especially broadly illuminated stereo stage. Rooms are not staggered very much in depth.

According to the manufacturer, the DSEE function (Digital Sound Enhancement Engine) serves to refresh compressed audio files. I have yet to be convinced by this function because I do not hear any significant differences with a wide variety of MP3 files and therefore simply left the function switched on.

A more convincing feature is the graphic 5-band equaliser with additional clear-bass control, which means that the sound can be adjusted to suit your taste. This was effective, but it did not make the WF-C500 completely neutral or analytical.

The unit we tested also had an optimisation for 360 Reality Audio. In principle, however, any headphone can reproduce appropriately encoded content, for example from Tidal or Deezer, with a three-dimensional sound impression. With appropriate sound material, this is quite impressive. Nevertheless, the special features of the technical optimisation in these Sony headphones remained hidden to me in terms of content. Finally, the WF-C500 shines with a surprisingly good voice quality during telephone calls.

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Ulf Kaiser
3 months ago by Ulf Kaiser
  • Rating: 3.38
  • Sound
  • Handling
  • Price/Quality
  • Function

Favourable price, powerful sound and comfortable wearing. The WF-C500 are True Wireless in-ears for everyday use. These headphones neither see themselves as audiophile specialists nor do they score points as technological behemoths in terms of noise cancelling. Rather, they are an accessory for everyday use, with which pop and club sounds, in particular, can be enjoyed. In addition, there are comfort functions such as an app connection and, finally, telephone calls can also be made with good voice quality.

Technical specifications

  • Ear couplingIn-ear
  • Typeclosed
  • Transducer principledynamic
  • Frequency response (headphones)20 - 20.000 Hz
  • Weight without cable5,4 g each, Case: 35 g

What's in the box

  • 3 pairs of ear tips (S, M, L)
  • USB-C charging cable
  • Charging case

Special features

  • Available in black, white, green and orange
  • BT codecs: SBC, AAC
  • BT version: 5.0
  • BT profiles: A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, HSP

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