I spend a lot of time listening to music. Whether it’s during my commute on the way to work and back every day, or while I’m working, grooving to tunes to concentrate and drown out the office chatter, I pretty much always have music playing in the background. Most of the time, I use the standard headphones that came with my smartphone. You know, the little bud-type things you stick in your ears and have about two feet of cable? They’re pretty acoustically sound, so I’ve never upgraded from them. However, I do have the problem where I snag the cord on things while walking around, and since trying out a friend’s expensive over-the-ear headphones, I know there are better sound options out there, as well. So, I’ve pretty much been ruined by the new Sony MDR-XB650BT Wireless Headphones (available soon at Best Buy) I was sent to review, and I’ll tell you why.
Out of the Box
If I had one negative thing to say about the MDR-XB650BT Wireless Headphones, is that they don’t come with a case, or pouch or anything. I’ve seen similar phones, and they came with a silk pouch, so you could protect the things. And, I think if I owned a pair of MDR-XB650BT phones, I’d want to protect them. They are pretty lightweight, and the metallic blue pair I tested (they also come in black or red) had a nice finish and solid construction. The ear pieces were nicely cushioned with spongy foam, and they felt very comfortable on my head and ears. While the headphones do not fold at the middle for portability, the ear pieces do swivel, making the accessory easier to put in a briefcase or bag. On the right ear piece you’ll find controls for your music—volume, play/pause, fast-forward and replay—as well as the charging port, on/off switch and a pin-hole mic. The only other thing in the box with the headphones (other than the manual) was the USB charging cable.
Setting It Up
“Easy,” “hassle-free,” however you want to say it, the MDR-XB650BT Wireless Headphones is exactly that. It honestly took me about five seconds to pair it with my iPhone and start listening to music. After you charge it, you basically turn on the Bluetooth on your device, then hold the on/off button down on the phones for about seven seconds and voila! you can see it on your device’s Bluetooth list. I had no problems whatsoever pairing the headphones with different devices.
How Do They Sound?
First let me say, I never really considered wireless headphones in the past, because it was such a turn off to have to stop and recharge them all the time. The MDR-XB650BT Wireless Headphones however, apparently get 30 hours of play out of a mere four-hour charge. That’s better battery life than my iPhone currently gets, so I am assuming these phones will certainly have enough juice to survive the kind of playtime I will put them through in a day. Now, these headphones incorporate Bass Booster technology, meaning that when you have tunes with some thumping and bone-shaking bass, they pump it up so you don’t miss a single beat. So, these were designed for dance music, and excel at delivering exceptional fidelity for the price.
Okay, I don’t own any dance music per se, but I have a 13-year-old daughter, so I got her to share some of the stuff she listens to for me to sample, plus I listened to some CeeLo Green and my old bass-heavy 70s funk collection. What I noticed was that where there was a bass-centric tune, the MDR-XB650BT Wireless Headphones kicked it all up a notch, making the bass sounds more present, and pretty booming. You don’t have to worry about sound distortion or cracking at all, either, as these headphones can take it if you crank the volume. Again, this is pretty exceptional sound for the price, which right now is well below what you would expect for wireless headphones of this calibre. However, all that bass power does come at a bit of a price. The higher and mid –range sounds are not as true as I would like, and some of the sharp and crisp highs do get muted slightly by the bass booster tech. But, that’s not to take away from the clear and solid sound the MDR-XB650BT Wireless Headphones deliver. They certainly live up to what I expect from Sony as a name in audio.
What Else Is Good?
While these are not touted as noise-cancelling headphones, I can certainly say they do a really great job of drowning out the outside world. While wearing my bud earphones, I can usually hear everything happening around me, but not with the MDR-XB650BT Wireless Headphones. With these on, it`s like being in a cone of silence. Also, I really like that you can answer calls from the headphones as well. When a call comes in, all you do is click the play button on your right ear piece and you`re connected. Ending the call is just as simple. The other thing I noticed is how far the Bluetooth can stay connected. I had my iPhone in my bedroom while testing today, and I was in the kitchen cooking supper, and the connection was perfect. And both my wife and daughter have also tried them out and said they each want a pair for when they go to the gym.
So, the Sony MDR-XB650BT Wireless Headphones (available soon at Best Buy) offer a comfortable build, good battery life, solid sound, and all at a pretty decent price. Unless you`re looking for something with a super true audio mix, and are willing to pay for it, these could be the next thing sitting on your head.