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.
Those are great things, because when I had these earphones on, I really didn’t want to take them off.
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. Moreover, 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. Moreover, 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.
Pros and Cons
- Great battery life
- Excellent sound quality
- Build quality is impressive
- Comfortable to use
- Design looks a little bulky
- No aptX support
- No wear detection
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.
Moreover, 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.
Buy the Sony WF-XB700 (Rs. 9,990)