Sony WF-XB700 earbuds review: Affordable fun
There are any number of words you could use to describe Sony’s newest earbuds, the WF-XB700. A few – like fun, bulky, powerful, or affordable – immediately come to mind.
One word resonates the most, however. Value.
They may not look like much, but at 130, the WF-XB700 come with a set of features that far exceed their cost. If you can come to terms with the fact that these buds aren’t a substitute for their bigger sibling, the WF-1000XM3, and learn to tolerate a few quirks, you’re in for a pleasant surprise with Sony’s latest true wireless offering.
Out of the box
The packaging for the WF-XB700 is as standard as can be, and the contents of the box are consistent with what we’ve come to expect from earbuds. There’s a charging case with the buds themselves inside, a USB-C charging cable, extra eartips, and documentation that includes an operating manual and warranty information.
If you’ve connected to a pair of wireless earbuds before, chances are you don’t need to check the manual before trying the WF-XB700 out. You may, however, need to switch out the eartips for one of the three pairs of replacement options. Conveniently, the tips included with the earbuds fit my ears well from the get-go.
Like most earbuds these days, the WF-XB700 support Bluetooth 5 technology. After more than a week of usage, I didn’t experience any connection issues. For the reasons you might expect, I couldn’t quite push the limits on how far the Bluetooth connection will hold up, but I didn’t have to deal with any noticeable issues when moving around my house or backyard.
I’m conflicted about the design of the WF-XB700. To be clear, it’s a functional construction, even if at first glance they don’t seem capable of such a feat. Once I found the right fit in my ears, the buds stayed secure thanks to what Sony calls a “tri-hold structure” that relies on making contact with three different points on the ear. They did create a good seal around my ear canals, which bodes well for sound quality.
At the same time, the structure of these buds is problematic. It’s an odd word to use for this kind of product, but the WF-XB700 are what I can only describe as “layered,” with a pronounced footprint that extends well outside of your ear. In other words, be careful with those hoodies. These massive buds are bound to get snagged, a quirk that only gets more irksome each time it happens.
There are two buttons built into the buds, one on each side, and they proved to be adequately responsive. In a similar fashion to the buds themselves, which are black with blue trim, the charging case isn’t flashy. Compared to other cases, it packs a considerable amount of depth in order to accommodate the size of the buds.
Function over form in earbuds is not a bad thing. I would have liked a slimmer profile overall, but for most people, it’s a worthwhile compromise given the capabilities of these buds.
An IPX4 water-resistance rating. Voice assistant integration. Nine hours of playback on a single charge, with a quick charging feature that gives you an extra hour of audio after just 10 minutes inside the case.
A year ago, those features could easily have been reserved for gear in a much higher tax bracket. Since then, they have quickly trickled down to a budget level of earbud that’s much more palatable for the masses, i.e., the WF-XB700.
In the time I spent with these bulky buds, each of these features worked remarkably well. The buds would easily take me through an entire workday before having to recharge. The earbuds’ case only has one additional charge, which is less than ideal, but if you can listen to them all day and charge them at night, I don’t see this as a huge issue for most.
A couple of sweat-inducing runs proved that IPX4 rating holds true. As for the voice assistant, while not as simple as wake-word-enabled products like the Amazon Echo Buds or Google Pixel Buds 2, it still worked well when I used the right earbud’s button to summon it.
The feature I wish these buds had, as seemingly simple as it is, would be the ability to automatically pause audio when taking an earbud out of your ear. It’s something I’ve gotten so used to with other earbuds, and because of that, I repeatedly missed portions of podcasts and music when I pulled a bud out to engage in a conversation.
If you take these buds for what they are, a 130 pair of true wireless earbuds that are meant to sound more fun than refined, then you’ll enjoy Sony’s new product. If instead you’re looking for superb sound to the tune of Sony’s flagship WF-1000XM3, the WF-XB700 may not be for you.
Sony slapped its Extra Bass brand on the WF-XB700, and to me that’s where the “fun” comes from. The low end has plenty of punch, but stops short of sounding bloated. If you’re someone who regularly streams top hits playlists on Spotify, the WF-XB700 will be a great complement to that listening experience.
The great bass, however, comes with its share of drawbacks. The rest of the frequency range takes a back seat, and when you factor in lack of support for audio codecs like aptX, it will likely leave more experienced listeners searching for definition that isn’t fully there. But again, if you’re after reference-level audio, these simply aren’t the buds you’re looking for.
There’s no noise-cancellation technology with the WF-XB700, which outside of Amazon’s earbuds isn’t expected at this price (though I suspect that will change soon). Call quality is solid, adding to what I would consider above-average sound for what these buds cost.
For the money, Sony’s WF-XB700 are fun, quirky earbuds that are a lot more fun than quirky. In spite of their shortcomings, size chief among them, Sony’s new earbuds are every bit the value they positioned themselves to be on paper.
Are there better alternatives?
The 130 Amazon Echo Buds have active noise reduction, though it comes at the cost of battery life. And, if you’re heavily invested in either the Apple or Android ecosystem, the Apple Airpods or Google Pixel Buds 2 might be better, albeit costlier options.
How long will they last?
On top of Sony’s generally strong standing as a company that makes durable products, the WF-XB700 come with a one-year warranty. You shouldn’t have to worry about getting your money’s worth with these earbuds.
Should you buy them?
Yes. I’m still not sold on their design, but considering the affordable price tag, enjoyable sound, and plethora of features, the WF-XB700 are a bargain.
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Jabra is using CES 2022 to bring our attention to the newest member of its Elite family of true wireless earbuds: The 119 Elite 4 Active, a set of waterproof, active noise canceling (ANC) earbuds that fit between the 99 Elite 3 and the 180 Elite 7 Active. They’re available starting January 3, in navy, black and light mint.
Like the more expensive Elite 7 Active, Jabra says the Elite 4 Active offer a secure and comfortable fit without the need for hooks or wingtips, but don’t expect the 4 Active to be quite as secure as the 7.- they don’t have the 7’s ShakeGrip rubber coating. With an IP57 rating, however, the Elite 4 Active have the same level of protection from water and dust as the Elite 7 Active.
We were incredibly impressed with the Jabra Elite 7 Pro, the latest true wireless earbuds from Jabra and somehow an improvement on their excellent previous earbuds. That makes them an easy recommendation for anyone looking for new wireless audio … but there are a lot of true wireless choices today, so we know you may be wondering how the Elite 7 Pro stacks up against the competition.
Here, we’re taking a look how Jabra’s 200 earbuds compare to the 250 Sony WF-1000XM4, another pair of wireless earbuds with a FOCUS on sound quality and the latest features. Let’s take a look! Battery life
Anker’s Soundcore brand of personal audio devices just released the latest in its Liberty line of true wireless earbuds, and the company seems to be throwing everything it has at them. The 170 Liberty 3 Pro feature a 30% smaller shape than their predecessor, the Liberty 2 Pro, plus they come equipped with active noise cancellation (ANC) and hi-res Bluetooth codecs, things the original version of the older model lacked. The Liberty 3 Pro come in four colors.- black, white, gray, and purple. If you buy them between today and October 14, you can save 20 at Amazon and at other retailers.
We were blown away by how great the Liberty 2 Pro performed. We only noted a few drawbacks.- a bulky design, and some fiddly buttons. Soundcore was apparently taking careful note.- the Liberty 3 Pro are notably smaller (though they’ll likely still stick out from your ears a bit), and the tiny physical buttons have been ditched in favor of touch controls. They also look decidedly more high-end, with a mirrorlike finish and chrome accents. Soundcore says they’ll feel more comfortable thanks to the shape of the redesigned silicon earwings.
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A dynamite value if you like your earbuds with a healthy side of bass
In 2020 true wireless earbuds are more affordable than ever. Sony’s new WF-XB700 (available at Amazon for 129.99) true wireless earbuds certainly fit that mold at the outset, debuting this year for a comparably affordable 130. Apart from the price, their Smart design and clear, bass-forward soundscape make them a great choice for folks looking to grab a reliable pair of true wireless buds for a very friendly price.
New for 2020, the Sony WF-XB700 true wireless earbuds are a more entry-level option within Sony’s headphone lineup, similar to the WH-CH710N: they offer a taste of Sony’s sought-after sound design and quality construction, but at a much more affordable price.
So what’s the catch? Basically, you’re not getting high tech like noise-canceling, adjustable EQ, or any of the fancier features you’ll find on the much pricier WF-1000XM3. What you are getting is a workout-friendly pair of true wireless earbuds with an accessible sound profile at a great price. In fact, these are my new favorite pair of affordable earbuds, earning Reviewed’s coveted Editor’s Choice award—and they’ll only become more attractive once their already low price inevitably falls.
About the Sony WF-XB700
The WF-XB700 are some of the most affordable true wireless earbuds from a major brand, and certainly from a brand like Sony that often charges a premium. They’re not as feature-packed as the premium WF-1000XM3 buds, but you’re still getting a pretty good spread of features and pros to balance the cons. Here’s a quick look at the specs:
- Cost: 130 MSRP, 99 street price
- Battery: 9-hours per charge, 18 hours with charging case
- Connection: Wireless/Bluetooth enabled
- Colors: Black, Blue
- Charging: Quick charging (USB C)
- Water resistance: IPX4
- Fit: Four sizes of ear tips
In the box, you’re getting the true wireless earbuds, charging case, and charging cable. There are also three extra silicone tips (not pictured).
So, what are you not getting here that you might get from the pricier WF-1000XM3? Chiefly, the answer is noise canceling.
They are, fortunately, workout friendly thanks to their IPX4 water resistance rating, provide good battery life (including nearly double the playback time of the much pricier Airpods Pro) and—as Sony’s trademarked branding refuses to let us forget—have “EXTRA BASS” for booming power down low.
What We Like
Clean, bass-forward sound
If you just want the cheapest possible true wireless earbuds, you can find them for less. The most obvious reason to invest a little more for the WF-XB700 is the sound quality, and you’ll be glad to know that these sound a heck of a lot better than the average entry-level buds.
First and foremost, remember the EXTRA BASS: it’s here, and it’s extra. No matter what I listened to, there was ample, at times extraneous bass and sub-bass presence. On a lark, I gave the famously bass-light Metallica album. And Justice For All a spin, and may have actually heard Jason Newsted’s bass guitar on that album for the first time in 25 years.
In all seriousness, these earbuds sound plenty good, especially if you like a heavier sound. If you’re more of an audio purist hunting for the supremely balanced sound of the WF-1000XM3, you’re not going to find that here. But as long as you aren’t planning to use these for audio mixing or any “serious” listening, you’ll enjoy the warm, round, bassy sound quality. I know I did, anyway.
Compared to a lot of true wireless earbuds, the WF-XB700‘s are a bit bulky, but their “three point” contact system with the ear gives them great stability.
That said, audio is a balancing act, and the additional bass means a moderate reduction in the clarity of elements in the midrange and treble frequencies pretty much across the board. It doesn’t sound bad, nor overly bloated with bass, but there’s not much crispness or sparkle here either. It’s the audio equivalent of an overstuffed wingback chair that you sink right into: cushy and warm, but lacking in support.
A good workout pick that’s plenty comfortable
One of our chief complaints about the posh, highly polished WF-1000XM3 last year was that they didn’t have any kind of sweat- or water-proofing, making them a risky (and expensive) choice for bringing along for a jog or workout.
The XB700 remedy this issue by adding IPX4 water resistance. Technically, IPX4 “protects from splashing water in any direction.” That means even if you’re working out in an anti-gravity vacuum or just sweat in a very strange way, these buds can take the punishment. That said, they’re not waterproof by any stretch, so don’t get too aquatic with them—they shouldn’t be rinsed in the sink, and definitely not submerged.
The XB700 give you mild splash-proofing and stay nice and snug during impacts, making them a great choice for working out.
The other thing that makes these a solid companion for exercising is the overall fit. There’s no doubt these are bulbous earbuds, but the fit is surprisingly stable.
Using the stock tips, I put the WF-XB700 in and dropped down to the floor to do some push-ups: the XB700 held up, even if my arms didn’t. Next, I jumped around about as hard as I could, essentially doing my damnedest to get the XB700 to fall out of my ears, and they just wouldn’t quit.
Of course, a good secure fit like that also depends on your ears. While the default tips fit my ears well, they also come with three other sets of tips, in subtly varying sizes. This means virtually everyone should find tips that fit them snugly.
Stable (if chunky) design
Sony takes a somewhat odd approach to true wireless earbud design. For a product category that seems to be aiming to be as small and innocuous as possible—ditching wires and hiding in your ears—Sony seems to almost enjoy making heftier-than-average buds.
Like the WF-1000XM3 and the sportier WF-SP800N, the WF-XB700 are definitely not going out of their way to be sleek and slender. Let me put it this way: I wouldn’t call them “bulbous,” but if somebody else did, I would understand their rationale.
While they fit great, the XB700’s don’t exactly hide well in your ear. They’re a bit bulbous, though you could hide them under your hair if it’s long enough.
That said, the design of the XB700 is definitely intentional. Sony claims the earbuds use “three points of contact” with the ear for a stable fit, and it really does seem to work. As I noted in the previous section, with the proper ear tips, these fellas stay put in your ears nicely, even if you’re jumping around or working out. In addition, the extra space leaves more room for an antenna, which may be why Sony earbuds tend to have fewer Bluetooth stability issues than competitors like Google’s Pixel Buds.
The included charging case is fine, too. It’s certainly not the nicest true wireless case I’ve handled, but it’s round, compact design makes it quite “able.” The case’s lightweight plastic doesn’t feel like it would stand up to real crushing force but all in all it gets the job done.
The XB700’s rounded case is compact and able, as every true wireless case should be.
My only real complaint from a design perspective—one that’s common with a lot of headphones these days—is that the included USB-C charging cable is very short, around six or seven inches.
Great playback time, good enough overall battery for most
Battery life is one of the most important considerations when you’re shopping for true wireless earbuds. Sony’s XB700 deliver 9 hours of battery life per charge, which trumps the vast majority of true wireless earbuds on the market—including the much pricier WF-1000XM3. On the downside, the charging case gives you just one full charge per cycle (so another 9 hours), for a total of around 18 hours which checked out in our testing.
That means you can essentially get two full workdays out of them (or multiple commutes) before you need to plug the case in. While this isn’t the best overall battery life on the market (the WF-1000XM3 and Sony’s Airpods give you around 24 hours with the case, for example), it’s certainly good enough for what you’re paying here.
As a bonus, they also charge up quickly, just like Sony claims. That means if you wake up needing to run out the door and forgot to charge them, you can pop the buds in the case while you take a shower and have enough use out of them to get you through a couple hours of listening.
What We Don’t Like
Pretty basic feature set
In terms of the basics of operation—sound quality, battery life, and form factor—the XB700 are pretty great. However, while I think they’re a good value for what Sony’s asking, there aren’t a lot of features here.
Noise canceling is one of those features that Sony does really well, so it’s a shame you’re not getting it here, though for what you’re paying that’s also totally expected. What I would have really liked to see is the ability to adjust the XB700’s EQ settings—or at least turn off the enhanced bass—in Sony’s handy Headphones Connect app. It’s a shame Sony didn’t add compatibility there, though it could potentially be added in a firmware update.
Do I enjoy the extra bass on a lot of music? Sure, definitely—it’s fun. But a way to disable it and get a slightly flatter, more balanced EQ would have been nice too.
While cramming buttons onto true wireless earbuds for pause/play, adjusting volume, and song skipping can be tricky, the XB700 have plenty of room for extra controls. There are just two buttons on them—essentially separate power buttons—but they’re really only necessary if you’re planning to stow the buds loose somewhere and will need to manually power them on or off.
The XB700’s only feature a single on-set button for power/pairing. It’s fine, but at this size we think Sony could have done a bit more.
At the size these earbuds are, Sony could have worked a bit of design magic on the button layout to make them more controllable without having to reach for your phone. It may seem minor, but it can definitely affect the convenience, and that’s really what true wireless buds are all about.
No interfacing with the Sony app
As referenced above, one thing you definitely lose by buying into these very affordable true wireless ‘buds is access to Sony’s Headphones Connect and Music Player apps, both of which interface with many of Sony’s top wireless headphones in a very useful way.
This means that unlike Sony’s other EXTRA BASS options, you can’t adjust the added bass in the frequency range, nor can you do any EQ at all. If you’re a Sony fan because of the usual slate of customizability, you might want to step up to the WF-SP800N true wireless ‘buds instead.
Should You Buy Them?
Yes—if you want a darn valuable pair of true wireless buds at a great price
For what you’re paying (99 or less), the Sony WF-XB700 definitely get the job done. Their bass-forward sound profile is fun and “consumer friendly” (meaning it should appeal to anyone who’s not an audio engineer or the like), and they’re especially great for getting pumped for a workout. Speaking of workouts, the IPX4 rating here and snug fit make them an even better choice for getting sweaty.
As it stands, there are lots of competitive true wireless earbuds on the more affordable side—Samsung’s 150 Galaxy Buds come to mind—but the XB700 are at a notably low price point. In fact, they may just be the best you can buy at their price point right now.
The WF-XB700 aren’t perfect, but no product is. If you’ve been wanting to dip your toes into true wireless earbuds but don’t want to risk buying something that might sound terrible or break after a couple of months, Sony’s WF-XB700 should be on your radar.
Meet the tester
Lee was Reviewed’s point person for most television and home theater products from 2012 until early 2022. Lee received Level II certification in TV calibration from the Imaging Science Foundation in 2013. As Editor of the Home Theater vertical, Lee oversaw reviews of TVs, monitors, soundbars, and Bluetooth speakers. He also reviewed headphones, and has a background in music performance.
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Sony WF-XB700 Review: Great Sound, Weird Design
Sony has today launched its brand new truly wireless offering, the WF-XB700, in India. The new earphones look like a pretty nice deal for truly wireless earbuds of this quality. However, are they worth the Rs. 9,990 price tag? Should you pick something from the competition instead? Well, I’ve been using the Sony WF-XB700 for over a week now, and here’s what I think about these earphones.
Design and Build
When it comes to most Sony products, I have little doubt that the build quality is going to be excellent. That’s also the case for the XB700. These earphones feel premium to the touch, although I think they could have done a slightly better job with the charging case. Between the transparency and the size of the thing, it does look a little weaker than it is. To clarify, it’s not weak. The charging case is sturdy and solid, and it feels great to the touch as well.
The earbuds also come with IPX4 splash-proof rating, which means you can easily use them while working out, or even in light rains.
I’m not completely sold on the design here, however. Sure, maybe this helps the earphones fit more securely in your ears, but it didn’t help me much. Plus, the design just looks very, incredibly bulky because of this. The good thing is that once you put these earphones in, they don’t show most of that bulk to the world. However, if you’ve been using sleeker looking earphones all your life, this could feel like a pretty big (pun intended) change.
All that is not to say that I’m unhappy with the XB700’s design and build. I actually really like these earphones. However, I feel like maybe Sony could have done a slightly better job in some aspects of the design.
On the other hand, the bulkier design does have its advantages; at least for me. I normally use my Airpods Pro for everyday music and calls. The Airpods Pro are extremely lightweight, and you can forget they are in your ears. Which means I’ve left my house countless times without remembering I had my Airpods on. You must be thinking, “that’s good”, and it is. However, it’s all fun and games until one of the Airpods drops out of your ear and you don’t even realise.
Somehow, I don’t see that being an issue with the Sony XB700. Their design might make them feel slightly more obvious in the ears, but it also means you’ll always know if they are in your ears or not.
Comfort and Fit
When I first took the XB700 out of their case I did have reservations about how well they’d fit in my ear, and how comfortable they might be. Fortunately, it turns out they are pretty great at both those things.
Looking at this design you’d not expect it to feel comfy in your ear. Having weight at the very edges isn’t usually a good idea for earphones. However, the XB700 manage it somehow. They don’t feel heavy on the ear, and they definitely don’t feel uncomfortable even after a couple hours of wearing them.
The fit has some very tiny issues. While these earphones will definitely not fall out of your ears in regular usage, if you’re doing something like a dance workout, you may have to push them back in every now and then. That’s a little annoying, but it’s also an issue I face with the much more expensive Airpods Pro, so I can’t really dock them points for this.
Everything that I refuse to dock points off for is mostly because of the sound quality. I’ve always been a Sony fan when it comes to headphones, earphones, and speakers. Somehow, their sound signature just feels better to me. That is why I have been using the Sony MDR-XB950BT headphones since 2017.
I was happy to see the XB700 live up to my expectations in terms of sound quality as well. As the ‘XB’ in the name suggests, these are a pair of ‘extra bass’ earphones. That means you’ll enjoy them best with bass heavy music. However, I tried listening to classics like Frank Sinatra, and some old rock songs from Bob Seger, and Kenny Rogers on these earphones, and they sound amazing.
The earphones do a solid job of instrument separation, and even at the highest volumes they keep the bass nice and heavy, while maintaining the highs and mids really well.
Music Control and Interactions
Looking at the earbuds, it might seem as though the big blue part of the design is meant for controlling music, and otherwise interacting with the earbuds. However, that’s not the case here. Instead, there are small buttons, one each, on the underside of the earbud.
These buttons control everything you can do on the earphones, and there is quite a lot.
- Play/Pause: a single press on the right earbud plays and pauses music.
- Next Track: a double press on the right earbud skips to the next track.
- Previous track: a triple press on the right earbud skips back to the previous track.
- Invoke assistant: press and hold on the right earbud.
- Volume up: a single press on the left earbud button increases the volume
- Volume down: press and hold on the left earbud button to reduce volume
This control system works well, but it presents an issue if you’re planning on using just one earbud. Personally, I barely ever use earphones that way, but some people do, and if you’re one of those people, you will have to sacrifice on some functionality.
There’s also no wear detection here, which is a little sad because earbuds well under this price come with wear detection these days. over, it’s a handy feature to have. I would have loved it if the XB700 packed in wear detection, but alas, what can you do.
Moving on, the Sony XB700 truly wireless earbuds come with Bluetooth 5.0, which is pretty much expected at this price point. Also, as I mentioned before, the earbuds can be used individually, and pairing them is pretty easy as well. You can just take the earbuds out of the case and look for them in the Bluetooth settings of your phone. A simple tap then connects both the earphones to your smartphone and you can start listening straight away.
The XB700 only support the SBC and AAC codecs, however, which is a bit of a bummer. I would have liked aptX support here for sure, but that’s missing. It’s not a deal breaker for me, and the sound quality here is exceptional anyway. However, if you really want Qualcomm aptX on your earbuds, the XB700 may not be for you.
Sony has always offered great battery life on its earphones and headphones, and the XB700 are no different. The earbuds offer 9 hours of battery life on a single charge, which is pretty great. over, the charging case offers an additional full charge to bring the battery life up to 18 hours.
In my time using these earphones, the claim holds true completely. Listening to music at around 70% volume, the earphones only lost about 30% charge in 3 hours of music listening (and some calls in between). That’s pretty impressive. I have no complaints with the battery life of the earbuds. Plus, the charging case uses USB-C for charging, which I really appreciate having.
Sony WF-XB700 Review: A Worthy Pair of Truly Wireless Earbuds
All things considered, the Sony WF-XB700 truly wireless earbuds are definitely well worth their price point of Rs. 9,990. They come with a solid build and are very comfortable to wear. The sound quality is impressive, which is what one would expect from Sony. The design could have been better, but it doesn’t feel like a deal breaker to me in any way.
over, at this point, there isn’t really much in the way of competition. There’s the first generation Galaxy Buds (Rs. 9,987) that you can get at around the same price that offer touch controls as well, along with good sound quality. However, I’ve used the Galaxy Buds as well, and Sony’s sound signature just feels better to me, personally. It’s a close call though, and if you really want something that’s more compact, and offers wear detection and touch sensors, you should definitely check out the Galaxy Buds as well.
Sony WF-XB700 review
The bass on the Sony WF-XB700 is thumping, but the design isn’t the most refined.
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.
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.
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 US78 (down from an RRP of US129.99), 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