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Sony WH-XB700 Wireless Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.4
Reviewed Jun 06, 2019 at 09:42 am
Sony WH-XB700 Wireless Picture
Test Methodology v1.4
6.4
Mixed Usage
6.3
Neutral Sound
6.5
Commute/Travel
6.9
Sports/Fitness
6.3
Office
5.3
Wireless Gaming
6.9
Wired Gaming
6.0
Phone Calls
Type On-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless Yes
Noise Cancelling No
Mic Yes
Transducer Dynamic

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.

Our Verdict

6.4 Mixed Usage

Okay for mixed usage. The Sony WH-XB700 have a very bass-heavy and dark-sounding audio quality, which won’t be great for critical listeners unless you listen to bass-heavy music. Their on-ear fit doesn’t isolate much noise and won’t be the best option to use during your daily commute or at the office. They can be an option for sports if you don’t mind the bulkier design of on-ears. They’ll be more breathable than over-ear headphones and they are fairly stable for a light run. However, due to their Bluetooth latency, they’ll be sub-par to use for watching video content or for gaming.

6.3 Neutral Sound

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.

See our Neutral Sound recommendations
6.5 Commute/Travel

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.

See our Commute/Travel recommendations
6.9 Sports/Fitness

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.

See our Sports/Fitness recommendations
6.3 Office

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.

See our Office recommendations
5.3 Wireless Gaming

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.

See our Wireless Gaming recommendations
6.9 Wired Gaming
6.0 Phone Calls
  • 6.4 Mixed Usage
  • 6.3 Neutral Sound
  • 6.5 Commute/Travel
  • 6.9 Sports/Fitness
  • 6.3 Office
  • 5.3 Wireless Gaming
  • 6.9 Wired Gaming
  • 6.0 Phone Calls
Pros
  • Decently comfortable on-ear fit.
  • Good and easy to use controls.
  • Good battery life.
Cons
  • Dark sound profile.
  • Sub-par isolation performance.
  • Plasticky and fragile build quality.
  1. Update 2/19/2020: Converted to Test Bench 1.4.
  2. Update 11/21/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.1.
  3. Update 11/6/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.

Check Price

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style

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.

7.0
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.43 lbs
Clamping Force
0.7 lbs

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.

6.8
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use Decent
Feedback Great
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control Yes
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control No
Talk-Through
No
Additional Controls Voice Assistant

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.

6.7
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 5.2 C

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.

6.2
Design
Portability
L 7.4 "
W 6.2 "
H 1.8 "
Volume 83 Cu. Inches
Transmitter Required No

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.

0
Design
Case
Type No case
L N/A
W N/A
H N/A
Volume N/A

These headphones don’t come with a case or a pouch.

6.5
Design
Build Quality

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.

7.0
Design
Stability

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.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Sony WH-XB700 headphones
  • 1/8” TRS audio cable
  • USB to micro-USB charging cable
  • Manuals

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
6.02 db
Treble Amount
-1.42 db
7.0
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.61 dB

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.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
4.1
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
8.26 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
10 Hz
Low-Bass
10.46 dB
Mid-Bass
9.17 dB
High-Bass
8.0 dB

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.

8.3
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.28 dB
Low-Mid
2.21 dB
Mid-Mid
0.6 dB
High-Mid
2.12 dB

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.

6.0
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
5.32 dB
Low-Treble
0.65 dB
Mid-Treble
1.45 dB
High-Treble
0.04 dB

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.

6.9
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.71 db
Dips
2.46 db
8.6
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.22
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.56
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
2.22
Weighted Phase Mismatch
2.73

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.

5.0
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
3.05 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
1.71 dB
PRTF Distance
11.84 dB
Openness
4.9
Acoustic Space Excitation
3.7

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.

4.4
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
On/Off
Room Ambience
Presets
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
Yes
7.4
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.259
WHD @ 100
0.218
Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
Unknown
Power
On
Connection
Bluetooth 4.0
Codec
aptX, 16-bit, 48kHz
EQ
Default
ANC
No ANC
Tip/Pad
Default
Microphone
Integrated
Isolation
5.0
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-12.2 dB
Bass
0.59 dB
Mid
-9.65 dB
Treble
-28.41 dB

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.

6.7
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
41.08 dB

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.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
Yes
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No
6.4
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
190.27 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
3.7 dB
HFE
2751.68 Hz
Weighted THD
3.187
Gain
41.66 dB

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.

6.2
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise
Speech + Subway Noise
SpNR
14.53 dB

The noise handling of the integrated microphone is sub-par. This mic achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of 15dB in our SpNR test, indicating it is best-suited for quiet environments and may struggle to fully separate speech from ambient noise in moderately loud situations.

Active Features
7.4
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
25.4 hrs
Additional Charges
0.0
Total Battery Life
25.4 hrs
Charge Time
3.4 hrs
Power-Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
Yes
Charging Port micro-USB

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.

7.0
Active Features
App Support
App Name Sony| Headphones Connect
iOS Yes
Android Yes
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
Presets
ANC Control
No
Mic Control No
Room Effects
Yes
Playback Control
Yes
Button Mapping Yes
Surround Support
Yes

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.

Connectivity
7.6
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
4.2
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
Yes
Line Of Sight Range
267 ft
PC Latency (SBC)
206 ms
PC Latency (aptX)
172 ms
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
92 ms
Android Latency
135 ms

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.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
9.5
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
No
Detachable Yes
Length 4.0 ft
Connection 1/8" TRS
Analog/USB Audio Latency
0 ms

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.

Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC/PS4 Analog
Audio Only
PC/PS4 Wired USB
No
PC/PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio Only
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Wireless
No
0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
No Base/Dock
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
No
Power Supply
No Base/Dock

The Sony XB700 don’t have a dock.

Compared to other headphones

Comparison picture

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 headphonesthe best wireless on-ears, and the best budget Bluetooth headphones.

Beats Solo3 Wireless
SEE PRICE
B&H

The Beats Solo3 Wireless are better on-ear headphones than the Sony WH-XB700. They have a more neutral audio reproduction and they feel noticeably sturdier than the Sonys. They 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 WH-XB700 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.

JBL T450BT Wireless
Unavailable
BestBuy.com

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.

AKG N60NC Wireless
Unavailable
BestBuy.com

The AKG N60NC Wireless are better on-ear headphones than the Sony WH-XB700. They are noise cancelling on-ears and they have a better audio reproduction than the Sony headphones as well. They 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 WH-XB700, although they do take longer to charge. Also, they have a decent app, which the AKG are lacking.

Bose SoundLink On-Ear Wireless
Unavailable
BestBuy.com

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.

Sony WH-XB700 Wireless Price

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