A couple of years ago, I had the chance to review a pair of Sony’s “Extra Bass” wireless headphones. I liked them so much, that after I returned the review set, I went straight out and bought a pair for myself. The Sony WH-XB700 is the latest set of headphones in that same bass-centric line, and guess who recently had a chance to put these new wireless headphones to the test? If you answered, “You did! You got to try out those headphones!” then you’re really, really good at guessing! So, sit back and let me fill you in on the new Sony WH-XB700 Extra Bass Wireless Headphones.
Why choose wireless headphones?
Before I tell you about the WH-XB700 headphones, let me explain the advantages of going wireless. We all have multiple sets of those wired headphones clogging up our drawers and coat pockets, don’t we? Your phone likely came with a set. Maybe you have multiple sets from different phones, plus the old ones you had for running, and don’t forget all the wired headphones you bought for your PC. The thing is, those wires are so restrictive. How many times have you got snagged on your phone cord and had the buds ripped out of your ears? Or, is it just me? Or, in the office listening to tunes and you forget you’re wired to a computer, stand up and watch as theY rubberband embarrassingly back to your chair? Again, just me?
Either way, wireless headphones just offer that extra ease of movement and freedom. You can walk around your house listening to music without having to actually carry your phone around with you.
You can do things without risking snagging that darn cord on anything. You can get up from your desk, walk to the water cooler and grab a drink, and return to your desk without missing a word of that work efficiency podcast. Trust me. You want to go wireless.
And, I really do prefer these “over ear” type of headphones, rather than the “in-ear” earbud type. I don’t find the majority of in-ear buds are comfortable enough for wearing them for longer periods. Also, my ears must be shaped strangely because the little suckers always seem to have a hard time staying put.
Sony WH-XB700: What’s in the box?
As these are pretty basic wireless headphones, you will find the box is pretty no-frills, as well. Inside, you’ll find a lovely set of headphones, plus a ridiculously short charging cable, AUX cable for those who do prefer a wired connection, and the usual warranty and quick start guide. I know these aren’t travel or super high-end headphones, but is some sort of pouch or carrying case too much to ask? You won’t be wearing these around your neck all the time, so are you just shoving them into a bag, briefcase or suitcase unprotected? I think that was my complaint the last time I reviewed the other pair in the line. I still bought them, though.
Sony WH-XB700 headphone design
Made of black plastic (but also available in blue, as well) the WH-XB700 headphones are lightweight, with a matte finish that gives a bit more of a premium look to them. The earbuds swivel, so they can lay flat on your chest when you wear them around your neck (when you’re not shoving them in a bag).
Sony WH-XB700: controls
The right earbud features the volume control and multi-function button in the middle (for controlling your music). The left earcup gets the power button, plus a custom button you can use to perform various functions, such as activating your Alexa or Google assistant (pretty much a standard these days to be able to use your personal digital assistant through your headphones). The left earbud is also where you can find the USB-C charging port and the 3.5mm input jack (again, for you wired people).
Sony did a really nice job with the ear cushioning, offering a very nice and satisfyingly squishy soft pleather feel that is also found on the headphone band. These are on-ear more than over-ear headphones, so they sit over, rather than completely around your ears. That being said, they do provide a little bit of noise isolation, which is always nice. They were lightweight and comfortable with extended use, although if you are running or doing anything strenuous with them, they will make your ears feel a little sweaty after a while. Overall, these are pretty comfortable headphones.
Setting up the Sony WH-XB700 headphones
The pairing process between your iPhone, iPad or Android device and the headphones is pretty straightforward. You can either press and hold down the power button to enter pairing mode or use NFC to pair your Android phone.
The XB700 also works with the same Sony Headphones Connect app that Sony’s other wireless headphones use. With the app, you can see your remaining battery life, update the firmware, and adjust a wack of audio features, including bass levels and sound profiles and effects such as arena, club, outdoor stage and concert hall.
How does Sony WH-XB700 sound?
I have an eclectic taste in music, which is just a fancy word for, “I listen to a lot of stuff.” So, my favourite Spotify playlist is usually a great way to test out headphones, speakers and other audio gadgets. I’ve got a healthy selection of classic rock (digitally remastered, of course), hip-hop, folks, alt-country, jazz, pop and a smattering of classical to fully experience the range offered by any product.
These are Extra Bass headphones, and they surely deliver on a rather healthy and exuberant booming bass sound.
With most bass-boosted headphones I’ve tested, the bass is usually cranked up so high that the mid and high ranges seem to suffer. The WH-XB700 seems to mitigate that, adding a bit more oomph and balance to the midranges. With stuff like hip-hop and classic rock, where bass really gives the music its energy, these headphones add the right punch. I found the fidelity not as impressive with something like classical music, though. Admittedly, I did not fiddle with the Sony Headphones Connect app enough to see if I could tweak the sound profiles to satisfy my particular audio pickiness.
Final thoughts on the Sony WH-XB700 headphones
If you’re looking for a really good set of mid-priced wireless headphones that deliver a punchy bass sound and a nice level of comfort, then you really don’t need to look much further than these Sony WH-XB700 headphones. They have: 30-hour battery life on one charge, sound really great for the price, let you make and take phone calls too, and live up to the primo Sony audio quality we all have come to expect. Some may not like the on-ear design, as it does press down on your ears. But, I used these for two or three hours straight and they felt light and comfy. Again, it is all up to personal taste.
What do you prefer, over ear or on ear, buds or full headphones? Let me know in the comment section below, and don’t forget to check out the Sony WH-XB700 headphones and all the wireless headphones available online at Bestbuy.ca.