Slightly little bit of all the pieces

The Sony WF-C500 could not have large, splashy options however they provide a strong listening expertise and a rigorously chosen assortment of options — together with spatial audio — that ought to please everybody from commuters to fitness center buffs.

Sony has been pumping out headphones for years. It’s particularly identified for its big-ticket conventional headphones however the firm the earbuds market fairly properly cornered, too, with its premium WF-1000XM4 buds. The extra modestly priced Sony WF-C500 true wi-fi earbuds may not have the identify recognition of their siblings, however they nonetheless promise good sound high quality, lengthy battery life, and even options like spatial audio. We spent over every week with the WF-C500 to seek out out if they’ve what it takes to face out from the gang.

This review comes from the audio consultants at our sister website SoundGuys. Try their in-depth tackle the Sony WF-C500.

Who’s the Sony WF-C500 for?

  • Informal listeners on the lookout for a well-rounded pair of earbuds will discover the sound high quality, characteristic set, and cozy really feel of the Sony WF-C500 match properly into their each day lives.
  • Fitness center buffs received’t thoughts the shortage of energetic noise-cancelling (ANC) and can make good use of the earbuds’ IPX4 score.
  • Anybody on the lookout for new earbuds who need a pair which have a style of issues present in dearer fashions at an inexpensive value.

What’s it like to make use of the Sony WF-C500?

The Sony WF-C500 earbuds lying outside of their case next to a smartphone phone on a table.

Zak Khan / Android Authority

Upon first look, you’ll in all probability discover that the Sony WF-C500 don’t look too completely different from different true wi-fi earbuds available on the market. In any case, they’re manufactured from plastic, have a reasonably typical form, and fairly mundane look. However regardless of the unassuming look, they do have an IPX4 score that helps defend them from splashes, sweat, and drips. Because of this, a drizzly commute or a stint on the fitness center shouldn’t be an enormous concern.

Like most different pairs of earbuds on the market, you get three silicone ear tip sizes to select from: small, medium, and huge. These strike a contented medium between squishy sufficient to be comfy and agency sufficient to carry the earbuds in place. The buds are small and light-weight, too. The earbuds’ spherical ends relaxation contained in the cartilage of your ears, which helps additional anchor them in place without having ear stays or hooks. We discovered that whereas they might lose their seal barely after some time, they shouldn’t tumble out, which means you’ll be able to go away them in and go about your day.

The WF-C500 purpose to please numerous kinds of listeners without delay.

One space the place these earbuds betray their budget-friendly value is their case. The Sony WF-C500 earbuds are available a easy, utilitarian plastic charging case. It’s not essentially the most premium-feeling case round and the magnets holding the buds in place aren’t the strongest, nevertheless it will get the job carried out. The buds have “L” and “R” markings on them, and “R” is pink to additional assist distinguish the 2 buds. Nonetheless, the case isn’t marked. As an alternative, if you happen to attempt to insert the buds in a swapped orientation, they merely is not going to match.

How do you management the Sony WF-C500?

The Sony WF-C500 earbuds lying outside on concrete.

Zak Khan / Android Authority

There are not any surprises or new gimmicks on the subject of controlling the Sony WF-C500. You’ll discover clearly-delineated fingertip-shaped areas on every earbud the place you’ll purpose for faucet controls. By default, the appropriate bud handles media, and the left offers with quantity. If a name is available in, a few of these controls will change. Right here’s what the controls are out of the field:

Variety of presses Left earbud Proper earbud
Variety of presses


Left earbud

Elevate quantity or settle for/grasp up name (if ringing or in a name)

Proper earbud

Play/pause or settle for/grasp up name (if ringing or in a name)

Variety of presses


Left earbud Proper earbud

Subsequent monitor

Variety of presses


Left earbud Proper earbud

Earlier monitor

Variety of presses


Left earbud

Decrease quantity or reject a name (if ringing)

Proper earbud

Launch voice assistant/cancel voice assistant or reject a name (if ringing)

Sadly, in aiming for simplicity, the WF-C500 sacrifice customization. The Sony Headphones Join app (on each Android and iOS) accommodates a tutorial on the faucet controls however you’ll be able to’t change them in any manner. We weren’t anticipating a variety of choices on condition that these are primary buds, however not be capable to tweak something is lower than ultimate. That is particularly odd as a result of Sony typically enables you to tinker with numerous issues on its different earbuds and headphones.

It is disappointing that you would be able to’t re-map any of the Sony WF-C500’s faucet controls.

Fortunately, the controls you do get are those most individuals will doubtless use each day. For those who favor to be extra hands-off, you should use a voice assistant, like Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. Your chosen assistant could be activated with a press-and-hold of the appropriate bud.

The controls are typically delicate sufficient to register faucets once you imply it, whereas avoiding triggering instructions if you happen to’re simply making an attempt to regulate the slot in your ear. Some unintended faucets would possibly happen, however not more than every other pair of first rate earbuds.

Must you obtain the Sony Headphones Join app?

As with many different units of buds, the most important purpose to obtain the WF-C500’s companion app is that it’s essential to put in firmware updates. As for all the pieces else, Sony’s Headphones Join app makes an attempt to strike the identical stability between ease-of-use and sufficient notable options because the buds’ bodily design and controls.

The app’s ear scanning perform is used each for spatial audio — dubbed 360 Actuality Audio — and to customise the WF-C500 to your ears. Not like another manufacturers, Sony’s spatial audio implementation works on any system, so long as you’ve appropriate content material from companies similar to Amazon Music Limitless (although notably not Spotify). Whereas the assist continues to be slim, having an open commonplace is a refreshing change from Apple or Samsung, for example, which lock down their spatial audio implementations to solely work with their respective units.

The Sony Headphones Join app accommodates a customized equalizer for the WF-C500, which is a good perk.

Maybe essentially the most notable factor concerning the app is you get each equalizer presets and a customizable EQ. That’s uncommon for earbuds within the Sony WF-C500’s value vary, and even some dearer flagship fashions don’t provide a customized EQ in any respect (taking a look at you, Samsung). The app may even present you the Bluetooth codec and battery standing proper up entrance, which is sweet if you happen to simply want a fast peek at how the buds are doing.

How do the Sony WF-C500 join?

The Sony WF-C500 earbuds lying outside of their case next to a smartphone phone on a table.

Zak Khan / Android Authority

The Sony WF-C500 solely helps Bluetooth 5.0 and the AAC and SBC Bluetooth codecs. Oddly for Sony earbuds, they don’t assist LDAC, though it’s Sony’s personal codec.

Meaning iPhone customers get a dependable choice, however some Android units could expertise latency. Within the app’s settings menu, you’ll discover an choice for modes that put “Precedence on Sound High quality” and “Precedence on Steady Connection,” however not one for low latency, sadly. Nonetheless, this isn’t uncommon for different earbuds priced equally to the WF-C500 — even the vanilla AirPods solely provide you with SBC and AAC, in spite of everything.

One other level for the buds’ total ease of use is the truth that the Sony WF-C500 will robotically enter pairing mode as soon as you’re taking them out of their case. They don’t have Bluetooth multipoint assist, so that they’ll solely join to 1 system. However if you wish to use one earbud at a time, both the left or proper bud enables you to try this. General, Sony doesn’t make it too difficult to get the WF-C500 figuring out of the field.

How lengthy does the battery final on the Sony WF-C500?

The Sony WF-C500 earbuds in their case sitting on concrete outdoors.

Zak Khan / Android Authority

Not being loaded with too many further options and omitting ANC has a optimistic knock-on impact for battery life. Certainly, in response to our testing, the Sony WF-C500 lasted 9 hours, 46 minutes. That’s simply wanting Sony’s declare of ten hours, nevertheless it’s nonetheless an awesome end result. A low battery warning will sound as soon as the earbuds dip under 50% battery, whereas one other warning comes simply earlier than a bud dies utterly. As a result of every bud has its personal battery, you would possibly hear these warnings greater than as soon as. Whereas that slight quirk is annoying, it’s not a deal breaker in our expertise, and it’s helpful to get an alert even if you happen to’ve solely obtained one bud in.

That can assist you see how a lot juice the buds have left, a small orange LED on every earbud will illuminate after they’re within the charging case. In the meantime, the case has an orange LED to point its remaining battery life. In response to Sony, the case gives 20 hours of whole battery life. Plus, quick USB-C charging nets you as much as an hour of battery life after solely ten minutes within the case. For those who’re an on-the-go sort of individual, this needs to be loads of battery and backup energy to get you thru the day.

How properly do the Sony WF-C500 block noise?

A chart depicts the Sony WF-C500 isolation performance which is quite good for the price. The WF-C500 does a pretty good job of blocking out low and high-frequency sounds, especially given how it lacks noise cancelling.

Zak Khan / Android Authority

As talked about, you don’t get energetic noise-cancellation (ANC) with the Sony WF-C500, so that you’ll want a great seal from the ear tricks to block out undesirable sounds. We discovered the ear ideas made that fairly simple, as their not-too-soft but not-too-stiff silicone materials struck an awesome stability, which is on-brand for these buds. As anticipated, passive isolation blocks out excessive notes higher than low notes, as seen within the chart above.

Low-frequency noises will nonetheless be louder than highs with out ANC, however the WF-C500 do an honest job of blocking out noise total. The truth is, they do higher than many different non-ANC earbuds, additional emphasizing that whereas these will not be Sony’s flagship true wi-fi earbuds, they’re not an afterthought for the legendary audio model both. In our expertise, low and mid-range noises will nonetheless be round one-quarter to half as loud as they’d be in any other case, which is an honest end result.

How do the Sony WF-C500 sound?

A chart depicts the Sony WF-C500 (cyan) frequency response relative to the SoundGuys Consumer Curve V2.0 (pink), revealing the Sony earbuds' generally pleasing sound with slightly amplified upper-midrange notes. The WF-C500 (cyan) generally follows our house curve (pink) very closely, though the treble rolls off close to 10kHz

Zak Khan / Android Authority

Low cost earbuds are inclined to ratchet up bass notes in failed makes an attempt to sound extra spectacular, however fortunately the Sony WF-C500 don’t do that. The truth is, the Sony WF-C500 principally keep on with our sister website SoundGuys’ home curve, as proven above. Meaning the vast majority of individuals will like the best way they sound. Chances are you’ll discover that center notes sound barely quieter than the bass and highs, however doubtless provided that you cease and listen. The drop-off within the excessive notes seen on the far proper of the chart means there’s extra to the story.

As we’ve come to count on for these crowd-pleasing earbuds, the pleasant frequency response curve of the WF-C500 makes pop and nation jams like Summertime by Orville Peck sound fairly good, with the strings simple to tell apart from the vocals.

The WF-C500 ship crowd-pleasing audio.

Concerning that drop-off within the excessive notes seen within the chart above, the Headphones Join app contains one thing Sony calls the Digital Sound Enhancement Engine (DSEE). In response to Sony, this restores “high-frequency sound and high quality fade-out sound … to the monitor for a extra genuine listening expertise.” Mainly, it bumps up excessive notes just a little if you happen to select to allow it. The impact is refined however noticeable in Summertime when it makes the cymbals originally barely louder. As a result of it’s such a minor distinction, you could not even detect this in noisy conditions or when simply casually listening. And since the Sony Headphones Join app has a customized EQ, you could possibly at all times nudge up the highs barely there and get an analogous end result.

On the entire, the Sony WF-C500 will sound good to on a regular basis music listeners, commuters, and fitness center buffs alike. They do a great job touchdown in a center floor the place we’ve no main complaints, plus you’ll be able to EQ them if you happen to occur to note one thing you don’t like.

Can you employ the Sony WF-C500 for cellphone calls?

An omnidirectional mic on every earbud enables you to use the Sony WF-C500 for cellphone calls. As soon as a name is available in, the appropriate earbud will allow you to reply it by tapping as soon as. Throughout the name, you’ll be able to faucet once more to hold up. There isn’t any contact command to put a name straight, however you’ll be able to ask your voice assistant to do it, leaving you with little must fish your cellphone out of your pocket.

We weren’t shocked or impressed with the standard of the mic. Usually, calls will likely be intelligible in quiet settings. However in an workplace or in windy circumstances, the opposite celebration will hear keyboards “clacking” and different types of noise. You’ll be able to hearken to pattern recordings from the Sony WF-C500 under and inform us the way you assume it sounds.

Sony WF-C500 microphone demo (Excellent):

Sony WF-C500 microphone demo (Workplace):

Sony WF-C500 microphone demo (Wind):

How does the microphone sound to you?

44 votes

1 (Terrible)


2 (Dangerous)


3 (Okay)


4 (Good)


5 (Good)


Our sister website SoundGuys’ ballot discovered that 79% of respondents rated the WF-C500 between “okay” and “good”. That’s about common for true wi-fi earbuds like this.

Sony WF-C500 review: The decision

Sony WF-C500

Sony WF-C500

10-hour battery life • Reasonably priced earbuds • Good sound

Crowd-pleasing earbuds for a great value.

This set of Sony WF-C500 earbuds has an ordinary IPX4 waterproof construct. With a 10-hour standalone battery life and additional cost from the USB-C case, you’re properly outfitted to make use of this for a few weeks with out the necessity to recharge it.

The Sony WF-C500 are a great match for individuals who need inexpensive, easy-to-use earbuds that don’t have too many frustrations. Whereas they might not have the whiz-bang options or the marquee sights of flagship fashions, they nonetheless sound good and stay comfy even after prolonged use. These just-so earbuds match the invoice in order for you a pair that may do a little bit of all the pieces and with loads of battery life. And if you happen to’re the sort of individual that simply can’t appear to determine what sort of earbuds would be just right for you, the WF-C500 lie in a pleasant Goldilocks zone.

There are drawbacks, although. The WF-C500 solely assist the SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs, which may imply latency points on some Android units. That is an particularly odd omission on condition that LDAC is Sony’s invention. We want they allow you to customise their contact controls extra, too. Lastly, they don’t have ANC, however their isolation continues to be strong.

What are the most effective Sony WF-C500 alternate options?

The Jabra Elite 3 earbuds sitting in their case next to a smartphone outdoors on a wooden bench.

Zak Khan / Android Authority

There are various opponents to the Sony WF-C500, although few that provide as a lot for the worth. For instance, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 ($149) have roughly equal options however they solely have an IPX2 score and price a just a little further. Additionally they provide you with ANC, although you’ll miss out on spatial audio except you employ them with a Samsung cellphone.

The Jabra Elite 3 ($79) boast a extra rugged IP55 score for wetter climate or harder exercises together with aptX Bluetooth codec assist. Nonetheless, in order for you ANC, multipoint, and different bells and whistles the WF-C500 don’t have, be ready to pay extra for one thing just like the Jabra Elite Energetic 75t ($165).

In order for you a pair of rugged earbuds that sustain together with your fitness center routine, you’ll be able to strive the Bose Sport Earbuds ($179). Their app isn’t fairly as detailed because the WF-C500’s Sony Headphones Join app, however the Bose buds’ comfy and safe design will likely be helpful throughout even essentially the most grueling exercises.

The Beats Studio Buds ($149) are nice for customers which may wish to regularly swap between Apple and Android platforms. You get ANC, a cross-platform app, and an IPX4 score. The workout-minded can strive the Beats Match Professional ($179).

Steadily requested questions concerning the Sony WF-C500

Are the Sony WF-C500 waterproof?

The Sony WF-C500 are IPX4 rated for defense towards water sprays.

Do the Sony WF-C500 have ANC?

No, noise-cancelling isn’t accessible on the Sony WF-C500 apart from passive isolation. If you will get a great seal from the included ear ideas, these earbuds do alright blocking out exterior noises, however after all, it received’t be the identical as ANC.

Are you able to remap the Sony WF-C500’s contact controls?

Sadly, no you can not change the Sony WF-C500’s controls. You’re caught with what Sony provides you.

Is LDAC accessible on the Sony WF-C500?

No. Though Sony is the champion behind LDAC, the Sony WF-C500 don’t assist the codec.

How do I do know when the Sony WF-C500 battery is charged?

You’ll know that the WF-C500 have been absolutely recharged within the charging case after the orange LED indicators flip off.


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