One of my biggest issues with many true wireless earbuds is how thin they can sound. They’ve gotten better over the last few years, but many ‘buds just lack the depth and low end that gives music the fullness we all love to hear. Sony’s Extra Bass true wireless ‘buds look to fix that with, well, extra bass.
So, how are they? Fine. They’re fine. That’s really all there is to say about them—they’re about the most “middle of the road” ‘buds I’ve tried in months. They’re comfy but bulky. They sound good but the controls are meh. The case is big and feels cheap but does its job.
Quality, Fit, and Function: Hits in All the Right Places
The Sony Extra Bass earbuds (otherwise known as the WF-XB700) carry a $130 retail price—again, very middle-of-the-road. You can currently find them all over the internet for $100, but I’m reviewing these with the retail price in mind, because we’re told that this is just a promotional price. Just know that at $100, they’re a better value than at $130.
Having used various sets of earbuds ranging from $30 to $250 over the last couple of years, I have a pretty good idea of what $130 should get you. And for these, well, it’s sort of hit and miss. The case is lacking, but the buds themselves feel solid, so there’s a clear tradeoff.
To clarify, the case isn’t bad, it just doesn’t feel as solid or robust as some other cases I’ve felt at similar price points. The whole thing feels like cheap plastic to me, though the hinge is strong, and the lid closes with a nice “snap.”
It’s also pretty bulky compared to many other cases, making it less pocketable than many people would like. But after you pull the ‘buds out of the case, it becomes clear why it’s so big—because these are some chonky bois.
The design of the buds, while decidedly Very Sony, is still just bizarre to me. There’s a weird stairstep design here, with the tip stepping up to the base, which then steps up to the control section. It seems like it would be very uncomfortable, but there’s something to Sony’s “Tri-hold” design, because they’re one of the most stable sets of earbuds I’ve ever worn that didn’t include wings of some kind.
That said, they also stick out of your ear a lot farther than similar buds, which looks weird. That may be an overly vain thing to mention, but it’s something that may bother some people, so the aesthetic can’t really be ignored. But like I said, they’re incredibly stable—they didn’t even move while I was mowing the yard and dripping with sweat. (They are thankfully IPX4 rated.) It’s pretty impressive.
For controls, both buds have a single physical button on each. The button on the right bud is play/pause with a single-press, track forward with a double-press, or activates your device’s digital assistant with a long-press. The button on the left side is volume up with a single-press but requires a long-press for volume down. I’m not a huge fan of this design, as I would much rather have quick access to both volume up and down. Alas, it works, but it’s clunky.
Sony says you’ll get about nine hours of playback from the buds, with an additional nine coming from the case. I don’t wear earbuds for nine hours straight, so there’s no scientific way for me to test these claims, but with casual use, this pretty much lines up with my testing, too. For those times when the buds and case are both dead, a 10-minute charge will get you an hour of playback.
Sound Quality: The Best Part
While comfort is important for a set of earbuds, the sound quality is what matters most. And these get that right without compromise. I was concerned that they’d have the common issue found on any headphones with “extra bass” and end up muddy. Nah.
I will admit that I’m not sure what the “extra bass” is respective of—extra compared to what? Ultimately I’m not sure it really matters, because these get it right either way. They have full-bodied bass response, but more importantly, that doesn’t take away from the overall audio quality. The bass is well-balanced with treble and midrange. They sound really good.
My go-to track for testing frequency response on all headphones is one that I don’t even really like: Fireflies by Owl City. If you’re looking for a single track that can test damn near every frequency a set of earbuds or headphones has, this is the one. Once that chorus hits, you get this massive wall of sound that just fills a waveform.
That’s where great-sounding earbuds move away from ones that just sound good. And with that, these sound pretty damn great. I have no complaints at all when it comes to sound quality.
Of course, that’s all you’re getting here—good fit and sound quality. You won’t find Active Noise Canceling (ANC), any sort of transparency mode, or any other additional features. They’re just generally good earbuds, nothing more.
But Are They Worth Buying?
Ah, there’s the question, right? The Sony Extra Bass earbuds get a lot right, like fit and sound quality, but they also lack the finesse you’ll find on other earbuds. The controls aren’t all that useful, and the overall aesthetic is clunky.
You might be better off looking at something like the Samsung Galaxy Buds+, which cost about $20 more but feature Ambient Aware, good sound quality, a smaller form factor, and a more compact case. Still, if you act quickly and pick the Sonys up for $99, they’re a good value.
Ultimately, If you want an overall good set of earbuds that skip the frills for good fit and sound quality, you’ll be happy with the WF-XB700. If situational awareness, noise canceling, or other extras are important to you, though, you’ll be better off looking elsewhere.
Here’s What We Like
- Strong, stable fit
- Good sound quality
And What We Don't
- Clunky design
- Cheap-feeling case
- On-device controls lack finesse