Product: Sony WF-XB700 Wireless Earbuds
Release Date: April 2020
Sony’s WF-XB700 ($130) are the company’s newest and most affordable wireless earbuds, and you can think of them as a stripped-down version of the Sony WF-1000XM3 ($228) — some of the best wireless earbuds you can buy. They lack the premium design and many of the premium features of the Sony WF-1000XM3, such as noise-canceling and transparency modes, but what they lack in features, they make up for in sound and price — you can buy the Sony WF-XB700 right now for $130 and they sound great.
Sony makes some of the best and most popular wireless headphones and earbuds, but for some time they’ve lacked a truly affordable pair of wireless earbuds. The Sony WF-XB700 fill that void and undercut the price of Apple AirPods ($159) by almost $30. Sony designed the WF-XB700 to be a direct rival to AirPods. And they are.
It’s Sony’s sound, but not Sony’s best sound.
The Sony WF-XB700 are part of Sony’s “Extra Bass” family of products (that’s what the “XB” stands for), and are designed to have a similarly vibrant and punchy sound as many of the company’s wireless Bluetooth speakers and more affordable headphones. It’s a good sound, but you’re not going to hear the same level of detail (particularly in the midrange) you would in Sony’s higher-end products, like the Sony WF-1000XM3. Also, the Sony WF-XB700 aren’t compatible with any companion app like the Sony WF-1000XM3 are, so there’s no way of adjusting the EQ.
These wireless earbuds lack some thrills but nail the basics.
These really are excellent entry-level wireless earbuds, designed for people who just want to stick them in their ears and have them work. There’s no setup process (aside from going into your smartphone’s Bluetooth settings) and there’s no need to download a companion app. There’s also really nothing on the earbuds to make it (potentially) confusing, like capacitive touch or optical sensors; there’s a single button on each earbud to adjust volume, play/pause and summon your smartphone’s virtual assistant. The Sony WF-XB700’s killer feature (other than sound and price) is probably its battery life; the earbuds and the charging case give you a total of 18 hours of playtime, which is better than AirPods.
They’re not the prettiest, but they fit great.
The Sony WF-XB700 definitely have a unique look and fit. Each earbud is a rather large oval shape and when you’re wearing them, the bulk of the earbud is actually on the outside of your ear. Bose and Sony’s wireless earbuds both have had this similar design, as it allows their earbuds to have bigger chambers, drivers and battery, but it does look a little odd. Despite this bulky style, the ergonomically-designed earbuds did fit excellently in my ear. They are water- and sweat-resistant (IPX4), which is exactly the same ruggedness as Apple’s AirPods Pro, so if you wanted to run with them or wear them to the gym, you can.
Sony provided this product for review.
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