Sony WH-XB700 is priced at Rs 8,990.
Sony claims to offer up to 30 hours of battery life.
It is compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
Sony has been doing a good job with its wireless Bluetooth headphones off late, with the WH-1000XM3 being the best noise canceling over-the-ear headphones you can buy under Rs 30,000. And while they are designed for audiophiles, a lot of users are actually looking for bass heavy headphones under the Rs 10,000 range. To cater to the needs of this audience, Sony has the Extra Bass line-up with the WH-XB700. Priced at Rs 8,990, Sony is promising to offer thumping bass while not compromising on vocal quality.
The Bluetooth-enabled headphones come with NFC for instant connectivity. There is also built-in mic for hands-free calling, a long-lasting 30 hour battery life and quick charging feature where even 10 minutes of charging can offer up to 90 minutes of playback. Lastly, there is also a dedicated voice assistant button with support for Google Assistant and Alexa. All these features sound good on paper, but does the Sony WH-XB700 actually deliver as promised?
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Sony WH-XB700: Design and comfort
For the WH-XB700, Sony has gone with a very basic design where you have a combination of soft cushion around the head and ears, whereas the earcups are made from plastic and have a matte finish. This not only makes it lightweight, but also ensures that you feel comfortable when wearing it for hours. The earcups swivel 90-degrees, allowing you to conveniently hang it around your neck.
Talking about control buttons, the left earcup comes with a power/pairing button, there is a 3.5mm audio jack, and (thankfully) a USB Type-C port for charging. Besides, you also have a notification LED, and a “custom” button to summon the Google Assistant or Alexa. Talking about the right earcup, you have the volume rocker and the play/pause/skip button, which also doubles as answer button when you get a call. You also have the NFC port on the right earcup, allowing for quick pairing.
Sony WH-XB700: Performance
I tested the Sony WH-XB700 on multiple devices – such as the MacBook Air, Samsung Galaxy S10, Apple iPhone 8 Plus and Google Pixel 3a XL. My testing condition included both wired and wireless. While the wireless audio experience via Bluetooth was consistent, things took a major turn with wired listening, especially with the MacBook Air.
I prefer listening to music over Spotify or Apple Music, I have both subscriptions, and so I get high-quality music. Let me talk about wired listening on MacBook Air first. I started with David Guetta’s Dangerous, and it was some experience, especially after the bass kicks in some 1 minute 12 seconds. I feel the shrill and the drivers vibrating. Of course, this was at full volume.
Next, I played The Sweet Escape by Gwen Stefani, and once again, as the bass kicked in after 25 seconds I could feel it reverberating. Things were similar with Play by Jennifer Lopez, and Happier – Marshmellow and Bastille. Of course, it being in the Extra Bass series, it has to offer that punchy bass that makes you feel every beat. But then, to experience full bass, it also means you have to increase the volume all the way up, which isn’t something good for the ears.
The loud volume also increases the sharpness, especially when the song has vocals with high notes. I wish it was a little softer. At half volume, things are better, but you don’t get to enjoy that punchy bass. Ideally, volume between 65 and 80 percent offers a good experience. Now, when listening on a wired connection using a smartphone, the volume doesn’t go as loud as with the laptop. Even full volume feels equivalent of 80 percent on a laptop. But the audio experience is good – it’s more balanced.
Next, I heard the same songs using a Bluetooth connection, and again, while the volume wasn’t too loud as the wired connection, the audio experience was similar. Sony also has an app called Headphones connect for Android and iOS. When the headset is paired with the smartphone, the app lets you tweak equalizer settings such as increase or reduce bass and surround effects.
There is also sound position control where you can change the audio position – front, back, or sides, and it adds to a completely different listening experience. Sadly, these are only available when connected to smartphones via Bluetooth.
Sony WH-XB700: Battery life
Well, I didn’t get time to go listen to music at a full stretch of 30 hours, but, with on and off usage, I was able to get more than 27 hours of listening time. So, I charged it on a Friday night, where it took roughly 4 hours to fully charge the battery. On Saturday and Sunday, I was watching a few episodes each day for close to three hours. And over the week, daily music listening time of about two hours daily.
Even with all that, I was left with 40 percent charge in the headphones, and the next weekend too, I was able to binge watch about four movies over the weekend, making it close to 27 percent, after which the battery died. So, if you are one of those who listens to music a couple of hours a day, the Sony WH-XB700 will last you a little more than two weeks on full charge.
Should you buy the Sony WH-XB700?
Priced at Rs 8,990, the Sony WH-XB700 are a good pair of headphones. They offer exceptional battery life and powerful bass for the price. Sony has ensured that it doesn’t only cater to bass lovers, but also the ones who want to enjoy good music, wired and wirelessly.
Among the drawbacks of these headphones is the build quality. It feels too plasticky, and having some metal could have been good. Also, Sony isn’t bundling any carrying case, and the fact that it doesn’t fold means it isn’t a space saver either. At this price point, the Sennheiser 4.4 Bluetooth headphones or Audio Technica ATH M40x are other alternatives that you can look for.