June 11, 2020 – What do you look for in wireless earphones and earbuds? I want long battery life, great sound and all-day comfort. SONY WF-XB700 True Wireless Headphones, $129, strike a good balance.
With good, not overpowering bass and overall good sound, these buds are designed for up to an amazing nine hours playback per charge, and come with a case that has an internal rechargeable battery for another nine-hour charge.
THE GOOD –
- Long battery life
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Good fidelity
- Secure ear fit with three sizes of silicone earbud tips
- Easy to use controls
- Dual microphones
- Water resistant in everyday use
- Includes 8-inch charging cable
Making the obvious comparison with Apple AirPods, these seal out the outside and feel more secure in place. Sure, these, too, can become snagged on items brushing by the ears, but not as easily as the tails on AirPods. I also like the longer talk time of these SONY WF-XB700 headphones. They may not have the coolness factor garnered by the Apple product, but their performance cannot be overlooked.
Tap a button to answer a call. Tap to end the call. Controls are straightforward as would be expected. Volume up is a tap on the left bud’s button. Volume down is a press and hold on the left button. Assistant-compatible with iOS and Android.
POSSIBLE ISSUES –
Out for a brisk walk wearing the WFXB00 pair, I noticed just how well the outside was blocked by the good seal in my ears. These earbuds have an effective and comfortable twist-to-fit design that is the reason for a good seal and comfort, as well as their ability to stay put. Blocking outside sound is not a smart idea while out and about where it is important to be able to hear what is going on. Lacking noise cancellation and transparency mode, there is no way to hear what’s going on outside your head. This may affect their appeal to some. This does affect their appeal to me.
Bearing in mind a typical requirement to hear what is around you and that wearing both L & R buds is required for operation, under what circumstance should these be worn? In the gym or while exercising at home? During travel? At work? While at home where hearing ambient sound is not required? Where else?
They are almost too good, with too good a fit.
I have worn them for several hours over the past weeks.
The charger/case has a USB-C connector. A short cable of about eight inches has this connector on one end and standard USB-A on the other, ideally, to connect to a nearby laptop. It is too short to conveniently be used when paired with a standard USB charging port elsewhere.
MY TAKE –
Simple to use, easy to like, with very good sound and long battery life. This is a winning combination! Or is it?
I tried these in my quest to find something comfortable and suitable for wear all day and that I might like better than the not-good-for-music Plantronics Voyager 5200 headset that can be found in my ear most of most days, especially when out and about.
Why do I wear a headset most of the time? I like mobility with hands-free calling. I like to be able to listen to music, podcasts, news, live programming which includes radio from my favorite stations.
When driving, hands-free is a must. One ear must remain uncorked to follow the law. Good safety practices dictate that drivers must not block their ability to hear the approach of emergency vehicles. Yes, I know that hearing impaired drivers have the right to drive motor vehicles, too.
My good old and reliable 2003 Honda Accord does not have built-in Bluetooth so I am locked out from jumping to in-car connectivity available in newer cars. Besides, the sound is clearer through a good headset than with most in-vehicle phone connectivity for both ends of the conversation. In-vehicle connectivity provides no privacy. Users tend to speak loudly while driving and using the car’s onboard system. I pay attention to these things. When I know I will be driving for a while, I use and recommend theBoom noise-cancelling headsets, unique and excellent, and in one ear. With theBoom, their tag line is their truth, “Whisper and be heard.” I’ve tested this many times, driving with windows open and speaking at normal levels seemingly unnatural for the circumstance. The other end of my call heard me perfectly, without the intrusion of wind noise and with no idea that I was in such a whirlwind of noise.
Voyager 5200 and other Plantronics headsets are among few that have up to six-hour talk time and also announce, “Incoming call” or the caller’s name if it is in the phone’s address book. Truly hands-free, it is also goes on to ask, “Answer or ignore?” and responds accordingly. This meets the standard of hands-free laws.
However, this and all other headsets tried to date, with the notable exception of theBoom, is not good at muting background sounds. To the contrary, ambient noise is amplified as compared with holding a mobile phone to my ear.
Though I am an iPhone user, Apple’s AirPods don’t thrill me, and not just their cost. Their shorter talk time is a deal-breaker for me. In addition, the comfort factor is not there for me. I feel vulnerable to loss with AirPods.
On reflection, though these Sony WF-XB700 True Wireless are relatively and comparatively cost effective, they are not a winning combination for my needs. I’ll keep looking OR find a way to justify spending more.
Are you ready to give them a try? Amazon link.