The Sony WH-XB700 Extra Bass Wireless are okay on-ear headphones. They have a very dark sound profile which will be better suited for bass-heavy music. They are decently comfortable for on-ear headphones, but their large cups almost feel like over-ears. They also feel slightly cheap due to the thin and lightweight plastic used for their build. On the upside, they have good battery life and also support NFC.
Okay for neutral listening. Their sound profile is very dark with an overly done bass range, pushed back vocals and leads, and a treble range that's rather veiled and lacks detail and brightness. They’ll be more suitable for people who listen to a lot of bass-heavy music and won’t be the ideal choice for vocal-centric genres. Also, they aren’t the most comfortable headphones to wear for long listening sessions and you can’t really EQ them, other than to play with their bass level.
Passable for commuting. These on-ear headphones don’t block low-end ambient noise like the deep rumbles of a plane or bus engine. This means they won’t be ideal for your daily commute, especially that they can get a bit leaky at higher volumes. On the upside, if you don’t mind the fact that they lack ANC, they have a good battery life that will last you for the longest trips.
Acceptable for sports. The Sony WHXB700 won’t be as bulky as some over-ear headphones, and since they don’t completely seal around your ears they’ll be a bit more breathable as well. However, they are still big headphones and you could sweat more than usual when wearing these. They are fairly stable and their wireless design gets rid of the cable that could get in your way. They’ll be fine for a light run or to use at the gym for most.
Okay to use at the office. The Sony WH-XB700 have a very good battery life that will last you for a full work day without a problem, and it won’t need daily charging, which is great. They don’t have the best isolation performance, but they do a decent job against work environment noises like ambient chatter and air conditioning noise. They also have excellent wireless range, which gives you a bit of freedom to move around. This is nice, considering you can’t connect them to multiple sources simultaneously.
Poor for gaming. Their latency is too high to use them for this use wirelessly. You can connect them with their audio cable to get rid of the delay, but they still won’t be ideal for this use. They aren’t the most comfortable and their sound quality is a bit dark. Also, their microphone won’t work when wired on consoles, and when used wirelessly, the recording quality is mediocre, which won’t be good for online multiplayer games.
The WH-XB700 are pretty bland-looking on-ear headphones. Their cups are fairly large for on-ears and they almost look like over-ears. Their overall build is made from cheap plastic and they look a bit fragile, especially once in your hands. On the upside, their headband is well-padded and the pleather coating looks nice on the ear cups. They also come in navy blue.
The Sony WHXB700 are decently comfortable for on-ears, but they don’t fit as well as the Skullcandy Grind or the Bose SoundLink On-Ear. The padding on the headband and cups is comfortable, but the material used feels a bit cheap once on the skin. Their cups are fairly large for on-ear headphones, which may squeeze the top of your ears and cause discomfort after a while. On the upside, the headphones aren’t tight and feel lightweight.
The Sony WH-XB700 have a fairly easy-to-use control scheme. On the right ear cup, you get volume controls and a multipurpose button. You can play/pause your music or manage calls, skip tracks forward or backward with multi-presses, and trigger your voice assistant by holding the button down. On the left ear cup, you have the power button, which you can press to hear battery life information, and a “custom” button. Unfortunately, this button only lets you trigger your device’s voice assistant, and the customization possibility is only related to which voice assistant you set in the app. On the upside, the buttons offer great tactile feedback; you also get very clear audio and voice prompts.
The Sony WH-XB700 aren’t the most breathable on-ears due to their large cups that almost act as closed-back over-ears. They trap a bit of heat under the ear cups, and you should feel a noticeable difference in temperature when working out with these. On the upside, since they don’t completely seal off your ears, there’s a decent amount of airflow, but you still might sweat more than usual. This shouldn’t be a problem for casual listening sessions.
These headphones are not very portable since you can’t fold them into a more compact format. On the upside, their cups swivel to lay flat, which makes it easier to carry them around your neck or slide in a bag. Unfortunately, they don’t come with a case to protect them when you’re on the go.
These headphones don’t come with a case or a pouch.
The WH-XB700 aren’t the most durable headphones. Their overall build is made from thin and cheap plastic that feels fragile. The pleather padding used also feels a bit cheap, especially on the cups. On the upside, their headband is pretty solid and reinforced with a metal sheet, while still being fairly flexible. They will probably survive a few accidental drops without too much damage, but their overall feel doesn’t feel very sturdy and looks to be subject to wear and tear.
The Sony XB700 are not the most stable, as they don’t create a seal around your ear but simply sit on them. They could be used for a light run, but they aren’t the best option for more intense physical activity. On the upside, since they are wireless, you won’t have to worry about having a cable in your way or getting hooked on something, which would yank the headphones off your head.
The frequency response consistency of the WH-XB700 is decent. They are quite consistent when it comes to their bass delivery and we measured very minimal variation. However, their treble delivery is quite inconsistent, even under 10kHz. We measured almost 20dB of deviation around that region, which is very noticeable and indicates that these headphones' audio delivery is quite sensitive to the fit and positioning on the head.
The bass performance of the WH-XB700 is decent. Their LFE (low-frequency extension) is down to 10Hz, which is excellent. The whole response throughout the range is overemphasized, which makes the bass overly done. Low-bass is over our target curve by about 7dB, which will add a lot of thumpiness to their sound. Some fans of bass-heavy genres may like this. Mid-bass, responsible the body of bass guitars and the punch of kick drums, and high-bass, responsible for warmth, are over our target by 4db and 2dB respectively. This will make the bass boomy and muddy.
The mid-range is good. The response throughout the range is well-balanced and flat, but it is also noticeably mostly under our target curve by about 3dB. This will thin out vocals and lead instruments on top of pushing them to the back of the mix. The underemphasis in high-mid results will have a negative effect on their intensity and projection.
The Sony WH-XB700 have sub-par treble performance. There is a large and deep dip in the treble response, which greatly affects the detail and brightness of vocals, leads, and sibilants (S and T sounds) around those frequencies. However, not everyone hears the treble frequencies the same way and their delivery is quite inconsistent. The graph here shows the average response and your experience may vary.
Their stereo imaging is great. Weighted group delay is at 0.22, which is very good. The GD graph also shows that their entire group delay response is within the audibility threshold. This ensures a tight bass and a transparent treble reproduction. Additionally, the L/R drivers of our test unit were well-matched in amplitude and phase but had a small mismatch in frequency. This is important for the accurate placement and localization of objects (voices, instruments, video game effects) in the stereo field. However, these results are only valid for our unit and yours may perform differently.
The WH-XB700 have poor soundstage. The PRTF graph shows a poor amount of pinna activation and it also isn’t accurate. Also, the notch near 10kHz isn’t deep enough to bring their soundstage out of the listener's head. This and their closed-back on-ear design suggest a soundstage that is relatively small, unnatural, and won’t be speaker-like.
The noise isolation performance is poor. The Sony WH-XB700 are active noise canceling, like the WH-XB900N, and don’t isolate in the bass range, meaning they will let in the rumbles of airplanes and bus engines, which won’t be the best option for public transit. In the mid-range, important for blocking out speech, they isolate by about 10dB, which is okay. In the treble range, they reduce ambient noise by about 28dB, which is decent for blocking out sharp sounds such as S and Ts and A/C noise.
The leakage performance is okay. The significant portion of the leakage of these headphones is concentrated in the mid and treble ranges, which means their leakage will sound fuller than that of in-ears, but won’t be as audible as open-back headphones. However, the overall level of the leakage is rather quiet. With the music at 100dB SPL, the leakage at 1 foot away averages at 41dB SPL and peaks at 55dB SPL, which is just above the noise floor of an average office.
The recording quality of the integrated microphone is mediocre. LFE (low-frequency extension) of 190Hz suggests that speech recorded/transmitted with this mic will sound relatively thin. The HFE (high-frequency extension) is at 2.8kHz, resulting in speech lacking detail and sounding a bit muffled, which is expected from most Bluetooth headphones' microphones.
Update 11/15/2021: These headphones have been updated to test bench 1.5. In this update, we made changes to the way we test noise handling. We now use a subjective evaluation of our audio clips. This new method has resulted in different results than what we had reported in our previous test bench. As a result, the scoring of this box has changed, and we have updated our results.
The noise handling of the integrated microphone is very good. It's able to separate your voice from moderate ambient noise well. As a result, your voice still sounds understandable, even in moderately noisy environments like a busy street.
The Sony WH-XB700 have a pretty good battery life with over 25 hours of continuous playback time. This will be more than enough for long trips or a workday, and they won’t need daily charging, which is great. However, they take a bit more than 3 hours to fully charge, which is a bit long. On the upside, if you completely drain their battery, you can still use them passively with a 1/8” audio cable, which comes in the box.
The Sony WH-XB700 are compatible with the Sony | Headphones Connect mobile app, which is available on iOS and Android. The app offers control over the intensity of the 'Bass Effect' feature as well as various room effects that let you cycle through presets like Arena, Club, etc. While this does give you some customization options, it feels slightly limiting, and a full equalizer would have been preferable. You also get an in-app player and you can choose which voice assistant you want to set to the ‘Custom’ button.
These Bluetooth-compatible headphones can’t be connected to multiple devices at the same time, but on the upside, they support NFC, which makes their pairing procedure quicker and easier if you have an NFC-capable source too.
The Sony XB700 have normal latency for Bluetooth headphones. Some people may notice a delay when watching video content or when gaming. They also support the aptX codec, which lowers their latency a bit. You can also use them wired if you want to watch video content without any delay.
The Sony WH-XB700 can be used passively with a 1/8” TRS audio cable and will support audio on any device that has the appropriate jack.
The Sony WH-XB700 are okay-sounding on-ear headphones that set themselves apart by their very bass-heavy sound profile. However, they don’t feel like the most durable on-ears due to their very plasticky build. See our recommendations for the best on-ear headphones, the best headphones for music, and the best budget Bluetooth headphones.
The Sony WH-XB900N Wireless are more versatile wireless headphones than the Sony WH-XB700 Wireless. The WH-XB900N have an over-ear ear design which is much more comfortable, and they're easy-to-use as well as better-built. They also have an active noise cancelling feature that helps them isolate more noise than the WH-XB700. Their battery life is better, but they also take a lot longer to charge.
The Beats Solo3 Wireless are better on-ear headphones than the Sony WH-XB700 Wireless. They have a more neutral audio reproduction, and they feel noticeably sturdier than the Sony. The Beats give an impressive 40 hours of continuous playback and don’t take much time to charge fully. Additionally, you can take advantage of the W1 chip if you have an iOS device. On the other hand, the Sony are better suited for bass-heavy genres and they support the aptX codec and NFC. They are also quite cheaper so they could offer better value for most, especially if you’re a fan of bass.
The Bose SoundLink On-Ear Wireless are better headphones than the Sony WH-XB700. They are one of the most comfortable on-ear headphones we’ve tested so far and their sound quality is better than the Sonys unless you are looking for a bass-heavy sound profile. They feel noticeably more durable and their battery performance is better thanks to lower charging time and a useful auto-off timer. On the other hand, the WH-XB700 have a decent app and support NFC. They also have better wireless range and support the aptX codec, which the SoundLink don’t.
The JBL T450BT Wireless are better sounding headphones than the Sony WH-XB700 unless you’re looking for a thumpy, bass-heavy sound profile, in which case you should go with the Sonys. Both headphones are built quite similarly, but the WH-XB700 come with an audio cable for you to use the headphones passively, which you can’t do with the JBLs. You get a longer battery life with the Sonys, and their wireless range is noticeably better. They also have a companion app that allows a bit of customization and they support the aptX codec, but their latency is a bit higher than the T450BT’s.
The AKG N60NC Wireless are better on-ear headphones than the Sony WH-XB700. The AKG are noise cancelling on-ears and have a better audio reproduction than the Sony headphones. The AKG also feel better built, can connect simultaneously to two devices, and their latency is noticeably lower. On the other hand, you get a better battery life with the Sony, although they do take longer to charge. The Sony also have a decent app, which the AKG are lacking.
The JBL Tune 660NC are better for most purposes than the Sony WH-XB700 Wireless. The JBL have a more neutral sound profile, which some listeners may prefer, a better mic recording quality, and longer continuous battery life. They also have an ANC feature, although it has a disappointing performance. On the other hand, the Sony have a more comfortable, stable fit and a better build quality.