Design & Construction
With wireless audio market is gaining traction in today's market, Sony has decided to acknowledge those who are on a budget with their new true wireless earbuds, the WF-XB700. Dive straight into the design, the WF-XB700 look a bit unconventional and eccentric but the goal was to achieve Sony's tri-hold structure for a more stable and better fit. And I am glad to report that it was true to its intent. You do face a little problem of your ears eventually getting fatigued after about 3 hours of use. It definitely does well as for sports use but I wouldn't recommend it to for longer commutes or even flights. Back to the exterior. the earbuds itself have 2 different complementary hues with a stronger main colour as the front face of the buds while the less striking colour at the rear angled in the other way. It sticks out more than I would like it too but the sound duct was just right, I didn't find that it too uncomfortable in my ear canal. While wearing them, you will always be aware that they are in your ears. The earbuds do come with different size silicone ear tips to ensure a tight seal and secure fit. All controls for music playback and calls are controlled via both buttons underside the earbuds themselves. Since they still use trusty physical old school buttons, button presses are tactile and responsive. And of course, the best thing is that you have the ability to customise the controls. Now for the controls, a single press on the left earbud will gradually increase your volume and holding it down will decrease the volume. Moving to the right earbud, a single press will play/pause your music, a double press will skip forward and a triple press will skip backwards. You can hold down both earbuds for a few seconds to enable Bluetooth pairing to connect the earbuds to your device. The earbuds also do a great job at resisting fingerprints smudges. However, when you remove either earbud from your ears, the music does not auto-pause. Lastly, the earbuds are IPX4 water-resistant so you can work out and sweat with them on but you cannot submerge them fully in water. Moving on to the case, it is sloped and rounded to fit right into my palm, it isn’t the smallest true wireless case when compared to the competition but it will still fit in tight jeans pockets with a bulge. A USB Type-C port can be found at the back of the case. The hinges holding the cover and body of the case is strong and is likely to survive a couple of accidental drops. The top cover is a translucent plastic cover so you could see the red LED of the earbuds when it is charging. It was a smart and intentional feature for Sony to reduce cost as the case itself lacks any form of LED indicator. The earbuds do magnetically click into place when they are docked into the case. Throughout my use, I dropped the earbuds couple of times and no signs of damages and scratches can be found on the exterior of the finish and also no compromises on the sound quality itself. Like all true wireless earbuds, they do dock in very easily and will not fall out when the case is flipped since there are magnets inside to keep them secure.
The WF-XB700 is categorised as part of the Sony Extra Bass series of earbuds, so you can expect a bass-heavy sound signature out of the box. So let's start off with the bass response. It sounds deep and punchy. However, unlike the rest of Sony's more expensive earbuds, these do distort at loud volume and bleed into the mids. It resonates a little too much and comes off a little boomy and uncontrolled especially in face-paced EDM songs where the bass drop is continuous. The highs sound reasonable but definitely not the best. The mids do get muffled down by the bass being in the forefront. The soundstage definitely not as wide as compared to those of the WF-SP800N or h.ear in 3. The instrument separation is excellent with distinct left and right channels could be heard. However, the soundstage is near non-existent. Don't get me wrong though. it may sound like the bass is overpowering and affecting the rest of the frequency range but if you seriously like bass and are on a tight budget, the WF-X700 is the way to go. Now, if you could stretch that budget a little more, I think the WF-SP800N is a better option. In all case, when compared to its slightly more expensive option, the WF-SP800N has a cleaner sound signature with a much more well-balanced bass thump. The only advantage I can find to the WF-XB700 is the much louder volume it could produce compared to the WF-SP800N. Next, another disappointment is the WF-XB700 is not compatible with the Sony Headphones Connect App. So essentially, you cannot customise the equaliser of the sound signature unless you use a third-party equaliser or your phone's built-in one. You also cannot customise the controls of the earbuds itself. Lastly, without the app, it means that the WF-XB700 is not 360 Reality Audio enabled and do not come with software updates. Call quality is decent, the caller manages to hear me on the other end but my voice sounds robotic to the other party. It is important to note that there is no active noise-cancelling on the WF-XB700, only passive noise isolation. However, passive noise isolation is still done very well with a good seal from the outside noise.
Connectivity & Portability
The earbuds support the basic AAC and SBC codecs together with Bluetooth Version 5.0. The earbuds also automatically power on/off when docked or taken out from the case. The battery life peaks at 9 hours per use and up to a total of 18 hours. They also feature quick charge. With a 10 minutes charge, you will get 60 minutes of playback and a full charge from a fully dead battery will require 3 hours. The package also comes with a USB Type-C cable for charging. If you are planning to watch videos or movies with these, I am glad to report that they do not suffer from any latency. Should you also wish to only use one earbud at one time, only the left earbuds allow for that since they use a master and slave connection.
Next Generation Wishlist
In the next generation, I would like to see Sony reduce the case and earbuds together with wireless charging. Secondly, Sony should at least included support for the WF-XB700 so that it could make it more of an appealing sell.
Controls For Music Play & Calls
Long Battery Life
Two Colours Available
No Wireless Charging
No App Support
No High-Quality Codecs
The Bottom Line
In all, the Sony WF-XB700 could be your choice of true wireless earbuds if you are a bass head on a tight budget. With the bass-heavy sound, stable fit and easy to use controls, it trims down to the essential needs and keeps the user experience fuss-free and straightforward.
WE RATE IT!
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