Sony WF-SP700N Earbuds Review – The new $180 Sony WF-SP700N earbuds look great. Unlike a lot of unwieldy competitors, these truly wireless buds sit flush against your head and follow the curve of your ear when properly worn. So even though the earbuds themselves are a little bit bulky—each earbud is roughly the size of two pieces of popcorn—I forgot I was wearing them after a few minutes.
This is a big deal because I can’t say the same about my other favorite truly wireless earbuds: the Bose SoundSport Free. Those buds seem to dangle dangerously in my ear and don’t work great on runs. The new Sony sports buds are also vastly more secure than the Sony WF-1000X that I reviewed last year.
Sony WF-SP700N Earbuds Review Summary
- Sleek design that feels good and looks good, too
- Nice tight fit won’t send the earbuds flying off your head
- Crappy battery life, slight trouble connecting
- Very competitive price at $180
Sony WF-SP700N Earbuds Review
As far as features go, the new WF-SP700N sport earbuds are very similar to the WF-1000X buds. (Yes, I know that Sony’s model names are awful and confusing.) Like last year’s street-friendly model, the new sports buds come with adjustable noise-cancelling technology that’s supposed to silence the outside world when it’s cranked all the way up or let in just enough noise when it’s in ambient mode. You control the feature with a tiny button on the left earbud. There’s also a little button on the right earbud that lets you play or pause, change tracks, and beckon your voice assistant of choice. Unlike the WF-1000X, the new WF-SP700N offer an IPX4 water resistance rating and a new design that keeps the buds firmly in your ears when your bouncing about getting your exercise.
Specification – Sony WF-SP700N Earbuds Review
- True wireless earbuds with Bluetooth technology and NFC
- Digital noise canceling lets you listen without distractions
- Ambient sound mode to hear essential sound without taking your headphones off
- Splash-proof IPX4 rating for sports.
- Lightweight design with secure fitting
- EXTRA BASS sound with deep, punchy low end
- Battery life up to 9 hours with carrying case
- In the box: Charging Case, USB Cable (Micro-USB cable (approx 50cm)), Long Hybrid silicone rubber earbuds (SS, S, M, L ×2), Arc Supporters (M, L ×2)
While I love a water resistant gadget as much as anyone, the fit thing is a huge deal for me. It’s not just that the WF-SP700N are comfortable. They’re secure as hell. Once I got the sizing right with the included extra grippy eartips and wings, it didn’t matter how much I shook my head or thrashed about. The earbuds stayed put.
This is a big deal if you’re worried about a bud popping out on the street and falling in the storm drain. It’s an arguably bigger deal if you’re annoyed when an earbud becomes dislodged on a regular run. Neither of these scenarios seemed like threatening in my testing, though. The buds just locked into place and stayed there.
Features – Sony WF-SP700N Earbuds Review
Apart from IPX4 certification, there are now three levels of noise cancellation modes to choose from. First is total noise-cancellation, the second one only lets in voices, and last one allows for a mix of ambient sounds to be used in public areas.
We’ve seen Sony’s obsession with NFC, and this pair has it for quick connectivity. It has inbuilt Google Assistant/Siri support for direct access though voice. So that you don’t need to pull out your phone to say a command.
Also, downloading the Sony app on your phone opens up a lot of customisation options and many other features.
Performance – Sony WF-SP700N Earbuds Review
When I listened to the audio for a few minutes, I came away quite satisfied with the audio quality. From the limited number of tracks I heard, I could make out the punchy highs and solid amount of bass to keep you pumped up while working out.
The noise cancellation works amazingly well, which Sony has been consistent with. The three modes work like magic, but the last one doesn’t seem as useful as the other two. The voice mode can suffice to allow ambient sound inside the ears. We’ll have to spend more time with the earphones before we deliver a full verdict on the sound quality though.
We didn’t get a chance to test the battery life, but the company claims it to offers nine hours of battery life, the headphones offer three hours and the case carries six hours of battery. Meaning, they’ll get charged when they are in the case.
If it seems like I keep circling back to fit and comfort, that’s because these are the most important details of any truly wireless earbud experience. The audio quality on the WF-SP700N earbuds is very decent, for instance. They come with Sony’s famous Extra Bass feature, which does make a difference if you love lower frequencies. If you’re really looking for high fidelity in a set of headphones, however, go get a set of over-the-ear Bowers & Wilkins headphones—though I definitely wouldn’t recommend taking those on a run in the woods. Meanwhile, the noise cancelling on the WF-SP700N earbuds is noticeable, if you want the best noise cancelling, try the Sony WH-1000XM2 headset. But if you want the best fit and comfort for doing active things in a world without wires, I have to recommend the new WF-SP700N.
Unfortunately, things go downhill from here. The battery life on the WF-SP700N is noticeably bad. Sony says you get three hours per charge and two charges when the earbuds are in the charging case. Even when I felt like I was good about putting the buds in the case when I wasn’t using them, though, I typically found myself with dead earbuds about every other day. Turning off the noise-cancellation feature would extend the battery life a bit, but I really liked the noise-cancellation feature, so I didn’t do this. For what it’s worth, I did become more conscientious about charging the damn things, after being left without earbuds a few times.
My other gripe involves connectivity. It’s not that the WF-SP700N earbuds were annoying to connect, and it’s not that they didn’t stay connected to my phone. I actually had a hard time knowing when I had to connect or reconnect. If I pulled the earbuds out for a few minutes, for example, I could put them back in, hit the play button, and continue listening to my yacht rock playlist. If it had been more than a few minutes—I have no idea exactly how long—the earbuds would have turned themselves off which meant I’d check the Bluetooth connection, then realize the earbuds were off, and then turn them back on.
And then, only the left earbud would turn on, so I’d have to turn on the right earbud. (This is actually a feature as Sony designed the earbuds to be independent so you could use just one.) And then, if I walked down a busy street, the audio would sometimes bounce back and forth between the right earbud and the left. A lot of truly wireless earbuds do this. That doesn’t make it any less annoying with the new Sony’s, though.
Sony WF-SP700N Earbuds Review – User Review 1
I’ve only had these for one day and used them for about 6 hours, will continue to update as I use them more.
I bought these with the intention of using them while cycling, as the cord from my current Sony set gets in the way and tends to creep up my jersey and cause tugging on the buds. After putting in 20 miles last night, in a variety of wind and traffic conditions, here’s my initial thoughts:
Good noise cancellation options – Both settings work pretty well. I was able to hear traffic noise with that option selected, and can hear voices but not much else on the other.
Sound – these sound great. Nice clear highs, good powerful bass. See Cons for issues with adjustability
Low-profile design/Stays put in ear – They are bigger than Airpods, but these actually stay in your ear (why i bought these as they have a similar retention system as my favorite wired pair)
Bluetooth – connection seems pretty stable, but I’ve noticed occasionally it drops and then recovers quickly, usually in less than a second.
Wind noise – Clearly Sony didn’t put this on a cyclist to try out or just didn’t care. The wind noise is crazy when traveling at speed.So much so that I’m going to give them one more ride and see if it’s something I can live with or not, it’s really, really overpowering
Equalizer options – You have to download the app to manage the connection and earphone settings. This has a ton of preset settings for the equalizer, but you can’t manually tweak them to your liking.
The Mic – picks up a lot of background noise from conversations going on around. I’ve received multiple complaints of background noise when I’ve been in a moderately busy room with normal conversation levels occurring around me. This does not happen with my wired earbuds.
Phone calls are mono only – Not sure why this is, it’s unlike any other experience I’ve had with headphones and calls. The call audio only comes out of one bud in standard phone calls, WhatsApp, and Bluejeans calls. Worth noting that I’m pairing with an Iphone 7 Plus. This is a big Con for me.
Sony WF-SP700N Earbuds Review – User Review 2
This review is based on my friend’s unit as I have not received mine from Amazon yet.
Please note that you will have to download Sony’s headphones connect app in order to get the best sound quality out of it.
-Good sound quality for a true wireless iem
-Good quantity of bass, minimal distortion compared to other true wireless iem
-Connection is much more stable as compared to the previous WF-1000X
-Noise cancelling works perfectly, toggle between ambient and noise cancelling mode just by clicking on the left earpiece
-Comes with different profiles for equalizers
-Does not fall out even when shaking my head vigorously
-Delay when watching video even when chose to prioritize connection
-Sound quality is bad when not using with Sony’s headphones connect app
-Equalizers does not allow user customization(only able to choose from preset profiles)
-Sounds best personally when equalizer is off
-Battery life is only 3 hours per full charge (carrying case contains 2 full charges) as compared to Bose’s 5 hours per full charge
Sony WF-SP700N Earbuds Review – User Review 3
I bought these headphones for listening to music in gym. I think they fulfill this purpose reasonably well. Here’s some of my initial impressions.
– Active noise cancelling isn’t that great. When turning on noise cancelling, I can tell it’s there and it help muffle environment noise a bit, but it’s nowhere near the level of good noise cancelling such as Bose QC20. QC20 can almost erase noise, while SP700N’s noise cancelling can only reduce noise by a bit. On the other hand, QC20 is more expensive, larger, not wireless and not water resistant. It’s not really a reasonable expectation for SP700N to match QC20. I would not buy SP700N just for its noise cancelling feature.
– Even though SP700N’s noise cancelling is weak, it has pretty good noise isolation. It provides similar level of noise isolation as Shure SE215. This is an important reason for me to choose it over other truly wireless headphones like AirPods or SoundSport Free, which barely blocks any noise.
– Truly wireless. Water resistant. This is perfect for gym. No more cables in the way. No more cleaning off sweet from cables. No more worries about sweet damaging the headphones.
– There is some latency problem. When watching Youtube from Chrome on my Android phone, the latency can be over a second and makes the video barely watchable. However I find Youtube app has some optimization to reduce the latency to a fraction of a second. There’s still some small latency, but much less noticeable. I have also tried MX Player and TED app on Android, and both have optimization similar to Youtube app. Overall I find video experience with SP700N bearable. I am fine with this because I mostly only listen to music in gym. As a side note, it also takes about a second to switch to next song, or change volume.
– Sound quality exceeds my expectation. It’s not a Hi-Fi headphone, but the sound signature is pleasing. The sound stage is also pretty good. I can feel the music is around me, not just inside my head.
– Build quality of the headphones themselves is pretty good. Though charging case feels a bit cheaply made, especially the lid.
– I briefly tried ambient sound mode. It seems to does what it should do: let in ambient sound to counter noise isolation. I don’t really use this feature. I think this might be what the noise cancelling hardware device is really for.
Overall, I am happy with this purchase. It’s not perfect and has quite a few flaws, but none that bothers me a lot for my particular use case. I won’t recommend SP700N as all-purpose headphones, but for gym use I think this is a nice option
Sony WF-SP700N Earbuds Review – User Review 4
Overall I like these headphones. This is my first wireless pair of any kind. I’m not an audiophile but I think the sound is decent, especially once I realized you had to download the Sony app and tweak a few settings. I’ve had them a week now and my biggest issue is that occasionally the wireless cuts out for a fraction of a second every now and then, first the right ear then the left immediately after (I can almost always hear something – it’s like someone is fiddling with the old RCA-style plugs and cuts out one channel for a fraction of a second).
I’m not sure if this is a bluetooth / interference issue with my audio source (Samsung Galaxy S8) or an issue with the headphones themselves (I haven’t had a chance to try testing with different sources yet). It’s just a little flicker and not a deal-breaker for me as the true wireless and the other features greatly outweighs any small drawbacks, especially for exercise and yard work and any other activity where I don’t have to worry about wires tangling or snagging.
Sony WF-SP700N Earbuds Review – User Review 5
I rarely do reviews (don’t shop much!) but spent a bit of time researching this so figured I’d share reactions. For context for the past several months I’ve used the AirPods, and also own Bose over-the ear headphones which I mostly use on planes.
– The sound is great – I find it better than the AirPods but hard to say how much of that is the PNC/ANC (noise canceling). I can finally listen to (only) my own music at the gym without the garbage they play in the background. You need to grab the Sony app (free of course) which has a bunch of equalizer options. People seem crazed about the Clear Bass (some options on the equalizer have this), which definitely does add a whole bunch of very deep low-freq but that is not actually in the original music. Personal preference, I’m not a fan but easy to not use it. Partial to the “Vocals” setting if anyone cares, whatever works for you. You can emphasize bass without the “Clear Bass” on with great sound, depth rivaling the over-the-ear cans.
– The buttons are actual buttons and have a simple control framework. I could never make the airpods do anything with the touch thing. I have no idea why people would turn on ambient sound (for long anyway), but it’s there. Avoids taking them out I guess.
– Voice calls go to Mono (left ear) only. No idea why, as the Airpods do calls in stereo. Hoping this gets fixed!
– When using other non-music apps (for example, games), the lag makes using these essentially unbearable. I mean it’s like a full second or more, you’ll need to take them off. Again, AirPods are fine on this so I’m hoping it can be fixed! [I tried turning off the equalizer app, didn’t help.]
If these two issues above were fixed I’d probably rate 4.5 stars.
– The case is a big honking case – I kept the Airpods case in my workout shorts at the gym barely noticing them. This thing I’ll be leaving at home or in hotel room before heading to gym. Also the rotating door/cover doesn’t seem long for this Earth I expect it will break off at some point.
– In box are two sets of Large earbuds, 1 each of Medium and Small. I’m a regular sized person and the Large ones don’t fit in my ears at all, not sure why 2 of those vs. the others but not the end of the world.
– Connection range (on high quality) is decent, probably a few feet short of Airpods, close enough. Only one unscheduled disconnect so far.
Sony WF-SP700N Earbuds Review – User Review 6
I bought these mainly for the noise cancelling while I work around loud equipment, but as I got them today after work I took them to the gym for the first trial. I normally wear over the ear sports earphones because I sweat a lot and my previous earbuds would slip out. Towards the end of 4 miles I thought I felt some slipping, but I’ll need to wait for another day to update that. 4 miles is a win in my book.
As for the noise cancelling options they were great and I look forward to trying these out on my next flight Monday where I normally wear larger noise cancelling headphones.
The sound straight out of the box was good, but not great. However once I downloaded the sony app and I played with the EQ settings I found the sound to be great.
I also find these to look a lot nicer and less awkward compared to the apple buds that everyone is now wearing.
Overall, very happy after the first day.