Sony WF-XB700 review
The Sony WF-XB700 true wireless earphones have a focus on extra bass, as well as a big and bold design with a long battery life. They’re not quite as well known as the likes of Apple’s AirPods, but they’re still a contender in the true wireless in-ear headphone space.
I’ve spent some time with these buds to see how they perform in everyday life, examining their design, features, audio quality and value for money. Read on for my full review.
Design & Build Quality
You can get the Sony WF-XB700 in a choice of either black or dark blue – the latter of which I tested. The exterior of the headphones are made from plastic and are an oval shape that’s designed to mimic the shape of your ear.
These in-ear buds are quite comfortable all things considered, but they aren’t exactly subtle in their design. The exterior is rather large and a little harder to conceal – something to keep in mind if you prefer a more minimalist look. At 8g per bud, they’re also heavier than some rivals, but nothing that is uncomfortable to wear.
Despite being bulky, the earphones fit securely within your ear. I was able to move about without having the buds come loose – with the right fitting eartips of course. They also come with an IPX4 rating, which means splashproof. You can go for a jog when it’s lightly raining with the Sony WF-XB700 earbuds, but you won’t be able to take them in the pool with you.
You get a choice of four different pairs of silicone eartips in alternating sizes, which makes the earbuds more secure for your ears and does also help with the sound quality that you get from a good seal of a better fitting bud.
On the rim of each bud, you get manual button controls which can be used to pair the headphones, adjust the volume, skip tracks and pause/play your audio. There’s no touch pads, but fortunately the buttons don’t cause any discomfort to your ear when you press them.
The Sony WF-XB700 come in an accompanying case, which is translucent and matches the colour of the buds. On the bottom you get a USB-C slot for charging, and a short USB cable is included in the box. However, you can charge from any other standard USB cable if you want something a bit longer.
When it comes to audio quality – the bass really shines on the Sony WF-XB700 earphones. If you’re listening to heavier tunes such as dubstep, rock or electronic music, you’ll really notice the effects that these in-ear buds boast. The combination of this and the secure fit make them an ideal choice for using during exercise.
The audio is bright and detailed when turned up louder on these types of tracks – but doesn’t quite match up when listening at lower volumes, or listening to things such as YouTube videos and podcasts. The audio is still clear, but you can’t turn down the bass if that doesn’t suit what you’re listening to.
If, of course, you’re looking for something that’s richer on the mids and highs – or generally more balanced – then you may be better off looking at a pair of earphones that have adjustable settings such as the Samsung Galaxy Buds+.
The Sony WF-XB700 boast a 12mm driver unit and a frequency range of 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz. There’s no support for the aptX codec on these buds – only SBC and AAC – which is a bit of a downside, however, audio quality is still good without it.
Specs & Features
As well as using the Sony WF-XB700 earbuds for music, you can also take calls with them and pair them with either Google Assistant or Siri, using the headphone mic to control your phone rather than the handset. I had occasional issues when initially pairing over a standard Bluetooth connection, but nothing majorly noticeable.
Battery longevity on these buds is pretty good. Outside of the case you get around nine hours of playtime, and when in the case that doubles to around eighteen. I used these earphones comfortably for a full day and a half without dropping below 20%.
Charging time for the case takes roughly around two and half hours from flat to full – which considering how long you get on them is decent. If you’ve not got a lot of time, a ten minute charge will give you around an hour’s worth of playback.
There’s no ANC (active noise cancelling) on the Sony WF-XB700 earbuds. However, this feature is only really featured on true wireless buds of a higher price point, so this is to be expected. Nonetheless, the sound quality you get is still good enough to block out outside noise, especially with more thumping and bass-heavy music.
The buds do not come with an accompanying app, which is a little disappointing considering that quite a few rivals do. This also means that you have no manual controls over the sound output on these – short of configuring all your volume controls on your PC.
Price & Availability
Though Sony currently sells the WF-XB700 earphones for £130 (the RRP when they first went on sale), Amazon UK, Currys and John Lewis sell them for as little as £99. Meanwhile in the US, the earphones cost even less at US$78 (down from an RRP of US$129.99), and are available from Amazon US, Best Buy and Target.
At these prices, the earphones are extremely good value. Nonetheless, there are still other compelling options available. For more than double the battery life (and around the same price in the UK), you can go for the Cambridge Audio Melomania, which boasts the top spot in our true wireless earphones chart. Of course – this does mean moving away from a big name brand.
If you still want that big name security, along with a more subtle design and customisation options via an app, then you could fork out a little more for some Samsung Galaxy Buds+, which gives you access to an equaliser, ambient sound controls and more on both Android and iOS.
You can find other options in our list of the best in-ear true wireless headphones.
If you’re on the search for true wireless earbuds that fit well, produce crisp bass levels and have an excellent battery life, then the Sony WF-XB700 earphones are certainly a compelling choice.
They’re also a great option if you’re on the search for headphones to accompany your workouts – especially thanks to the IP rating that allows you to use them outdoors no matter the weather conditions.
They are on the bulky side when it comes to design, and the lack of an app to further customise the sound is a bit of a shame. However, for the price they’re going for now, compromises like this are acceptable.
Sony WF-XB700: Specs
- Wireless earbuds
- IPX4 rating
- Manual button controls
- Extra bass
- 9hr long battery life, total 18hr with charging case
- Ergonomic design
- Bluetooth 5.0
- 2.4 GHz band frequency range
- 8.0g per bud
- Charging case with USB-C
- Black and blue
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