- Cute looking form factor and IPX4 Certification
- Surprisingly good audio listening experience for an SBC/AAC only earbuds
- USB-C Charging capability with Fast Charging
- Interesting eartip design that totally works
- Lack of Qualcomm aptX, but it isn't a dealbreaker
- Can be a little pricey for what it is
Sony’s audio game has been a strong asset to them and with the rise of True Wireless earbuds, they have been putting out some impressive show out there – with the WF-1000XM3, later came the h.ear series WF-H800 and now we finally have the EXTRA BASS True Wireless Earbuds, for the bass heads. Sony Malaysia graced us with the WF-XB700 and after using it for long enough, here’s our final Verdict on these pair of Wireless Earbuds.
Look and Feel
Unlike how the WF-H800 has some similarities in the design department with the WF-1000XM3 – the Sony WF-XB700 looks completely different in order to go with a more lifestyle and poppy finish for the mass users. We received the Blue XB700s and I have to say it looks extremely cute and pretty right outside the box. The whole casing that holds the earbuds is constructed in plastic but has this rough texture all around it which kind of makes it a little hard to get scratches.
On the back, it houses the USB-C Port and when the lid is open, the earbuds sits in a nice manner. Unlike other TWS we have reviewed here, the design with Sony’s XB700 is a little more friendly as it has an inclined surface and it’s a lot easier to take it out of the case. In fact, the case can stand on a surface with no issues – so which means, you won’t have to worry about putting it flat to charge.
In terms of feel, I love how the case is a little big to hold in hand and the textured material offers a nice grip overall. In fact, the hinge is held really well. So, when you do open and close the case, it feels snappy and secure. So, your earbuds won’t fall out of the case by accident. The earbuds themselves have a really odd design. One thing about these true wireless earbuds from Sony is that the earbuds have this really odd design going on, they call this the “Tri-Hold Structure” – honestly, there’s no words on how to put it but then, the design just works wonders. As the eartip enters the canal, these earbuds curved area sits around the ear bone in a way that it stays fit and comfortable. I tried shaking my head a lot and I realized it was a great fit.
In terms of specification the XB700 has decent specification to get things going:
- Closed Dynamic 12mm Neodymium Drivers
- 20Hz – 20,000 Hz with Sampling frequency at 44.1 kHz
- IPX4 Certification
- SBC and AAC Codec Support
- Bluetooth 5.0 | Profile: A2DP, AVRCP, HFP and HSP
- USB-C Charging Capability (9+9 Hours Battery Life)
SBC and AAC are codecs we have seen in Bluetooth Audio department for the longest and these are the most common profile you could get with any Bluetooth earbuds. Sony didn’t opt in for Qualcomm aptX nor their proprietary LDAC or DSEE HX which is a feature you’d find on their premium lineup like the infamous Noise Cancelling XM Series. But as for the rest of the specs, this headphone seems impressive with the IPX4 being the icing on the cake. To my gym buddies, its looking great.
For controls – each earbud has a physical button which is positioned strategically on the side so that if you press to control the volume or attend calls which is programmed onto the left earbud’s button and controlling the music or waking up the Voice Assistant on the right earbud’s button – you wont feel like pressing against your ear canal and that is a god send. In fact, the buttons are easy to press too. Other brands could learn by taking a page from Sony in this department.
Unboxing and setting up the XB700 was simple – you have the manuals and the small box that consist the earbuds, charging case, USB-C Cable and eartips. You get 4 different type of tips including the one that’s already attached onto the earbuds. The charging time for this from empty to complete charge takes about 2 hours + under our test and we did try if the Quick Charge is anywhere as they claimed that it would be. In fact, it was – we charged it for 10 minutes, unplugged it and got about 53 minutes of listening time. So, battery life isn’t something you don’t have to worry about because Sony battery life as always lived up to our claims in the past and this holds up well. There isn’t any application to use with the XB700, so you can spare the time to download anything and just pair it and jam on your favorite beats.
I love the fit and finish of these earbuds, its really right up at my alley – especially the Tri-hold structure. It creates a nice sound isolation which is good to have if you are planning to use these in commute or even while you’re working out. The connectivity – with Bluetooth 5.0, Sony did some tweaks to make sure that the communication with both the chip is seamless and it works well. To our test, it sure did. Despite the lack of Qualcomm aptX, it held up well. We paired the EXTRA BASS WF-X700 with our personal daily driver, ASUS ROG Phone, 1st Generation.
Now onto the listening experience. Since its an EXTRA BASS in-ear headphones, its only best to try some bass intense songs and we turned to two of our personal favorite artists: Troyboi and Slumberjack.
We started with Hide and Seek – Duumu Remix by Slumberjack and we realized for an SBC/AAC codec earbud, it has some impressive staging – which means Sony didn’t cheap out on the drivers. At the 0:29 mark, you can feel the subtle bass with the singers vocal still present and at 1:12 the bass was consistent to the song itself as the synth kicked in. At 2:20 you can notice the subtle stereo separation as the beat kicks back in which also shows that the presence of Stereo effect is there.
With Troyboi, I went with the song Mmmm because of the details it presents with as the beat comes in slowly. At 0:26 the bass and the rattle sound gives a nice dynamic stereo feel that gives a little bit of goosebumps. We listened to this song at 80% volume and we noticed a little high treble as he spells out the name and once the vocal part is over, the bass hits real good and I mean it in a good way. There are drivers where bass hits and you will notice many details in the song gets lost because of the bass and then there’s the XB700 where the bass is just the right “EXTRA” amount to give the oomph factor and retaining the details as much as possible – which for the most part did a great job.
Finally, to get out of the whole EDM – we did try some nice tunes – starting with Nobody Love by Tori Kelly because it has a nice mix of instruments, bass, and vocals. The bass is visibly present, and you can feel it throughout the song. The vocals are clear and nice to hear and I didn’t face the high treble sound here but when the beat hits, the bass impressive. Once this part is over, it goes back capturing the instruments well.
Honestly, there isn’t much to fiddle with the XB700 – which did make me like these true wireless earbuds a lot as they are simple to use and they through a nice sound staging with some great listening experience. Sure, with lack of aptX, you may not be able to enjoy gaming with a Low Latency profile but if music and movies are all you care about, this does things right. This just might be the pair that can go head to head with the previous generation Jaybird Run, which I have used in the past.
The thing about True Wireless Earbuds in general, most of them aren’t that “bassy” and even if it is, it’s the kind where its amplified in a way that the rest of the elements in the song gets lost entirely. But the WF-XB700 surprisingly retains every part of the song and keeps the bass a lot intense – which is impressive given it only runs on SBC and AAC codec and again, a good driver speaks a lot. That and the fact on how they designed the XB700 in a way that you don’t even need a fintip to keep it within your ears – it’s marvelous.
But if you are looking for an audiophile grade True Wireless, then you might want to check out the WF-1000XM3, which we reviewed here – but do take note, you will be sacrificing IPX4 for good audio quality.
Huge thanks to Sony Malaysia for sending the Sony EXTRA BASS WF-X700 for us to review. A special thanks to our friend Bryan for loaning his Nikon D610 for us to shoot our product images.