Sony WH-CH510 vs Sony WH-CH500 Review

Sony recently released the WH-CH510 on-ear wireless headphones. At first glance, they look like an updated model of the WH-CH500. So, I thought it was strange that the newer CH510 was selling for $20 less than the CH500, which has been on the market for a while. Why is the CH510 cheaper? And which headphone wins in terms of sound, fit and design? Let’s find out in this Sony WH-CH510 vs Sony WH-CH500 Review. 

Sony WH-CH510 vs Sony WH-CH500 Review

FIT

The CH500 provides better sound isolation, mostly because it sits much tighter on the ears. The downside is that The CH500 is far less comfortable than the looser and softer fitting earpads of the CH510. And as someone who wears glasses, I have to say that I was in pain after wearing the CH500 for 20 minutes. 

(Sony WH-CH510 on the left next to Sony WH-CH500 on the right)

DESIGN

Controls and Functionality

The buttons on the CH510 not only feel more solid but are also easier to navigate when the cans are on your head. This is because the buttons are elevated on the CH510 and more spaced apart. That being said, these two models offer the same functionality. Both headphones allow you to play/pause, skip tracks and adjust volume. And both models also give you the option of activating your voice assistant. 

Battery Life and Charging

The WH-CH510 wins hands down in this department, delivering 35 hours of battery life compared to the 20 hours of playtime offered by the WH-CH500. The CH510 also charges faster. In fact, you’ll get 90 minutes of juice after only 10 minutes of charging. This is probably due to the fact that the CH510 employs a USB-C connection for charging, while the CH500 is stuck in the old micro-USB world. Not only does a USB-C connection mean faster charging, but the connection is also sturdier, and you can flip the cable either way to connect. Micro-USB cables, on the other hand, often require a little fiddling.

Call Clarity

The WH-CH500 offers far better call clarity than the WH-CH510. Not only did the caller’s voice on the WH-CH500 sound cleaner, but the microphone was also more sensitive.

Portability

Both headphones fold flat, but neither fold into a bundle.

SOUND

Lows

You’ll get a little more bass kick and energy from the WH-CH500. And perhaps the snugger fit played a role. But in terms of detail, they’re about equal in their performance. String instruments in this range had a similar amount of texture and substance. And listening to rock and pop-rock tracks, both headphones deliver a pleasing amount of warmth. However, with respect to separation, the bass on the CH-500 feels a little cleaner and more delineated.

Mids

You’ll hear a similar balance in this range. There’s decent presence in the lower midrange, so both headphones lend some nice fullness to rock and pop-rock tracks. At the same time, vocals on both headphones are slightly pronounced, giving a dynamic flavor to pop tracks especially. Still, the WH-CH500 offers a touch more weight and substance. Listening to acoustic guitars in this range, for instance, the strums have a little more body on the WH-CH500, though the difference was slight.

Highs

The main difference to note here is that the CH500 presents more crisp and sparkly highs. This is especially apparent when listening to percussion instruments in this range. As a result, pop and funk tracks sound snappier on the CH500. And in comparison, the high peaks on the WH-CH510 sound relatively blunted or rolled-off. The upside to this is that the CH510 will tend to be a less fatiguing listen, especially if you tend to play music for long periods of time.

Finally, if you’re doing serious critical listening in the high frequencies, you’ll notice that vocals have a touch more richness and color on the WH-CH500. On the other hand, the WH-CH510 presents a slightly lighter and more airy performance. But again, the difference is small, and I wouldn’t base your final purchasing decision on this contrast.

SUMMARY

If you’re looking for the biggest bass response, then stick with Sony’s older WH-CH500. The WH-CH500 will also give you a little more snap in the highs, as well as more overall richness. Otherwise, the balance is similar. But if you’re planning on using your cans for calls, the CH500 will also deliver much better clarity. The only problem I have with CH500 is the tightness of the fit. And especially if you wear glasses, you may want to consider opting for the CH510 for this reason. Furthermore, considering that the CH510 offers 15 hour more battery life, the choice between these two becomes more difficult. At the end of the day, if calls aren’t your main priority, I would go with the more comfortable and longer lasting CH510. It’s 20 bucks cheaper too.

You can find both of these headphones for the best price here:

Sony WH-CH500 Wireless On-Ear Headphones at Audio 46

Sony WH-CH500 Wireless On-Ear Headphones on Amazon

Sony WH-CH510 Wireless On-Ear Headphones at Audio 46

Sony WH-CH510 Wireless On-Ear Headphones on Amazon

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