Sony’s flagship WF-1000XM3 true wireless earbuds have been our top pick since they arrived last summer. Even before that, the company had a few true wireless models under its belt, and today it’s revealing the latest option. The WF-XB700 ($130) is a new entry in Sony’s Extra Bass lineup, a range of devices that promise more low-end tone for those who crave it. In general, Extra Bass headphones offer a collection of handy features, but at a price that’s more affordable than those powerful and pricey 1000X devices. With the WF-XB700, Sony packed the essentials in uniquely designed earbuds and kept the price well under $150.
One of the main attractions here is the promise of more bass. If Sony’s previous entries are any indication, that doesn’t mean it will overpower everything else. Some true wireless earbuds struggle with deep, full lows while maintaining clarity. If Sony was able to keep things sounding top notch while enhancing that lower range, that would be the ideal outcome. The company promises the 12mm drivers offer “powerful” and “punchy” sound, so I look forward to checking those claims during a full review.
Sony says the WF-XB700 will last up to nine hours on a charge, with nine more hours of play time in the included case. It’s slightly unusual to see a charging case that only hold one additional full charge, but at least there’s a feature to get you going quick if you’re low on power. With just 10 minutes, you’ll be able to listen to these earbuds for up to an hour.
The design of the WF-XB700 is also unique. Instead of a primarily oval shape, or a larger rectangular shell like the WF-1000XM3, Sony opted for a “Tri-hold” construction that it says is more ergonomic and comfortable. With a more contoured form, the buds hit your ears in three places, which the company also says will help keep them from wiggling loose. If you want to take these on a run or wear them during a workout, they’re IPX4-rated against water splashes and sweat, so you shouldn’t have issues with a modest amount of moisture.
There’s no word on shipping right now, but Sony says the WF-XB700 will be available for pre-order this month in black and blue color options. At $130, this should be a solid mid-range option. Sure, the WF-XB700 doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the stellar WF-1000XM3, but all the basics are here. And if the company managed to crank the bass without diminishing clarity, these could offer a nice alternative to the Jabra Elite 75t ($180), Galaxy Buds+ ($150), AirPods ($159 and up) and Audio-Technica ATH-CKS5TW ($169).