Sony WF-XB700 Review: Distinctive Design & Good Bass on Offer

The Sony WF-XB700 wireless earphones come with IPX4 water-resistance certification.

Published28 Jul 2020, 09:12 AM IST
Tech Reviews
5 min read

Audiophiles today are looking to do away with wires without compromising on the sound quality and they are in the hunt for true wireless earphones that not only fit the bill in terms of quality but also fit in the pocket.

When we say ‘true wireless’, it means absolutely no wires. Other wireless headphones need wires to connect the left channel with the right one. That’s not the case with true wireless earphones.

We got to review the Sony WF-XB700 true wireless earphones that retail at Rs 9,999 online and as per the company offer “Extra Bass”.

So does this entrant in the audio lineup from Sony give you that extra thump you are looking for in your wireless audio gear? Let’s find out.

Snapshot

Pros

  • Great battery life
  • Rugged design
  • Good overall audio quality
  • IPX4 water resistant

Cons

  • No noise cancellation
  • No app support
  • Bulky
  • No auto cut off for music

What’s Good

Sony has nailed it when it comes to sound quality with the WF-XB700. Complimented with rich bass, these true wireless headphones take care of all your audio needs and cater to all genres of music.

The vocals are clear and the 12mm drivers inside do a decent job suppressing the instruments, which we experienced while listening to some hip-hop.

The Sony WF-XB700 comes with a dedicated wireless charging pod.
The Sony WF-XB700 comes with a dedicated wireless charging pod.
(Photo: The Quint)

It manages to hit good lows but if you really want to experience the richness in the bass that these earphones offer, you’ll have to turn the volume up a bit. It offers the best bass audio you’ll get in this price segment.

I admit it might not reach the absolute pinnacle of sound quality but you will enjoy every kind of music on these.

I couldn’t test these earphones outside in noisy, crowded places as most of the crowd is sitting at home due to the pandemic.

However, I did simulate a noisy environment by playing the sounds on my speakers at a high volume and there was very little noise seeping through to my ears when I had the XB700 on.

Would you be okay with something like this hanging out of your ear?
Would you be okay with something like this hanging out of your ear?
(Photo: The Quint)

However, it was the battery life that blew my mind. The company claims to give you 9 hours of battery life and the XB700 passed the test with flying colours. These earphones are only second to the Galaxy Buds Plus, which come with 11 hours of playtime on a single charge. The Jabra Elite 65T that cost Rs 8,999 offer 5 hours.

The translucent charging dongle gives you an additional 9 hours, which puts the overall battery life of the XB700 at 18 hours. That’s your one non-stop flight from Delhi to Toronto.

There is an indicator that shows the charging status of the earphones. 
There is an indicator that shows the charging status of the earphones. 
(Photo: The Quint)

These can be a great companion for people who have Bluetooth-enabled content viewing devices as you can connect them and watch your favourite shows.

Thanks to the long battery life and the fact that they are comfortable in the ear, they work as a great option for people who want an immersive audio experience for their movies or shows.

The Sony WF-XB700 earphones come with IPX4 water-resistance, so a little splash is not going to be a problem.

The earphones charge via USB type-C.
The earphones charge via USB type-C.
(Photo: The Quint)

What’s Bad

Sony has gone with a three-level design for the XB700. Not exactly a space-efficient design that you’d want to have for your wireless earphones. Although, to be fair, there is a lot of logic that’s gone into this.

Where the outer disc-shaped module houses the battery, the middle section has the driver inside while the tip fits in the ear. Very polarising design philosophy.

These earphones come with IPX4 water-resistance certification. 
These earphones come with IPX4 water-resistance certification. 
(Photo: The Quint)

Not only does this make the entire real estate look bulky but they also tend to slip when you are running (this happened with me).

Let me be clear, they are not as slippery as the first-gen Apple AirPods. The silicon tips and the overall design give the XB700 a snug fit in the ear but while running the earphone get covered with sweat and comes off easily.

The snug fit design also helps seal off most of the external sounds but it’s not as good as what active noise cancellation (ANC) can offer. Yes, there is no ANC in the XB700, which is a big miss.

9 hours of battery life! Enough for you?
9 hours of battery life! Enough for you?
(Photo: The Quint)

I’m also not down with the physical button layout. Earphones in the sub-4k category offer touch-sensitive controls and I feel Sony should have considered that.

The buttons do cover all basic functions like pause/play, music shuffle and voice assistant activation but you’re at the mercy of pressing them multiple times and have to remember the exact button combination.

You also don’t get auto music cut off option with this pair and there is no native app support to play around with the equaliser. If you’re spending almost Rs 10,000 on a pair of wireless earphone, you should at least get basic features like these.

Verdict

As a part of the ‘Extra Bass’ series, the Sony WF-XB700 sets a new benchmark in audio. The added thump is a compelling addition for people who listen to a lot of hip-hop and EDM and I can guarantee that you’ll be impressed with the bass that the XB700 has to offer.

I know it’s easy to focus on the negatives like the polarising design and the absence of noise cancellation in wireless earphones that cost Rs 9,999 (Rs 11,990 on the box). But do they really overshadow the positives like a stellar battery performance and audio quality? I’ll let you be the judge of that.

In this price range, you also have the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 and the Jabra Elite 65T and if you feel Sony doesn’t have a compelling case for itself, you can also try these.

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