The WF-SP700N true wireless earphones from Sony have three notable traits past merely being utterly freed from cables. They’re additionally a part of Sony’s “Additional Bass” lineup of audio merchandise, embody noise cancellation, and are meant for sports activities. For $179.99, we sometimes solely see one among these options, if any. Sadly, these extras do not make a distinction when the audio high quality is just poor to begin with.

Design

Accessible in black, pink, white, or yellow, the WF-SP700N earbuds are immune to water and meant for the gymnasium. They ship with three color-coded pairs of eartips in small, medium, and enormous sizes, and like most of the true wi-fi earphones we check, the match is light-weight and exceptionally safe. Sadly, the IPX4 rating is on the low finish of the water-resistance spectrum. The earphones can deal with mild misting and a few sweat, however they can not deal with water strain from a faucet, as an illustration. Most gym-focused fashions are going to be rated IPX6 or greater.

The charging case is compact, rounded on the corners, and encompasses a cool lid that slides to the aspect reasonably than flipping up. It may be difficult to get the earpieces to snap into place—you actually should stuff the eartips and fins contained in the case in a approach that feels a bit unnatural at first, however the magnetic charging factors pull the earpieces in and lock them securely. Powering the case from empty to full takes three hours, and the earphones take about an hour and a half to totally cost. It is best to count on solely three hours per cost, which is comparatively low even for true wi-fi requirements, however the charging case carries a number of additional full costs.

Controlling the earphones is pretty simple. The noise cancellation and ambient sound modes are managed by a button on the left earpiece. This similar button, when held in place, controls energy and pairing. Playback, monitor navigation, name administration, and voice help are managed by the fitting earpiece button. The appropriate earpiece additionally homes a bigger energy/pairing button.

Sony’s Headphone Join app is a little bit of a wild card. The app is able to behaving effectively and being helpful, however it will depend on how effectively the headphones work with it. Within the case of the WF-SP700N, we discovered it to be pretty helpful. There are EQ settings you’ll be able to swap between, however there is no user-adjustable customized setting. The app is useful for updates, and you’ll function the ambient and noise-canceling audio modes as effectively, however usually talking, the features are simple sufficient to function on-ear that it appears nearly pointless.

The mic gives glorious intelligibility. Utilizing the Voice Memos app on an iPhone 6s, we might perceive each phrase recorded clearly, with even some added bass depth. Nonetheless, some customers will likely be aggravated by the audio solely coming by the left ear throughout calls—that is par for the course with true wi-fi earphones, and another excuse this class nonetheless has some rising pains to maneuver previous.

Efficiency

The noise cancellation circuitry does a laudable job of eliminating low frequency rumble. So on airplanes and trains, it ought to assist minimize out a large swath of the noise. For greater frequency sounds, just like the whir of a fan or AC unit, the circuitry itself does not do a lot, however the glorious in-ear seal created by the secure-fitting earpieces blocks out a lot of the encircling ambient noise that the NC circuitry hardly must do something extra. This is not the simplest noise cancellation we have heard, however for the value, it is surprisingly good. That solely makes the remainder of this evaluation extra deflating.

Shifting alongside to audio efficiency…it isn’t good. Sony manufactures among the best-sounding headphones in the marketplace, however these earbuds will not be in that league. The issue isn’t the insanely boosted bass, although that definitely creates a problem of an unbalanced sound signature. The problem is, bass-heavy sound signature or not, the excessive frequencies sound dreadful by the WF-SP700N. Bear in mind the sound of low-bitrate MP3s, with cymbals that gave the impression of they had been underwater or distorting and crackling? Choose a tune, any tune, and earphones ship this low-fi sound, ruining practically any greater register percussion, usually affecting vocals as effectively. It is so poor, in truth, we thought we had a faulty mannequin (we did not—we examined two items to ensure).

That is the purpose the place I usually talk about how numerous tracks sound by the WF-SP700N over the course of some paragraphs, however there is no such thing as a level—I can sum it up in a sentence. On tracks with intense sub-bass content material, like The Knife’s “Silent Shout,” or on Invoice Callahan’s “Drover,” a monitor with far much less deep bass within the combine, or on Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “No Church within the Wild,” or orchestral tracks, just like the opening scene from John Adams’ The Gospel In accordance with the Different Mary, the powerfully boosted bass can’t overpower the mediocre-at-best sound these drivers and produce when delivering treble, no matter quantity ranges.

First, I believed maybe the battery energy was low and this was affecting the audio. It wasn’t. I then thought of that it may very well be one thing with the noise cancellation, however in all three modes (on, ambient, and off), the audio remained poor. I powered Bluetooth off on my supply machine, powered it down, and initiated pairing once more—to no change in efficiency.

After I contacted Sony for touch upon my findings, a spokesperson responded, “At Sony, nice sound high quality is of paramount significance. We stand behind the sound high quality of the WF-SP700N headphones, which give customers a distraction-free, wire-free expertise.”

Conclusions

Clearly, the pretty strong noise cancellation is rendered insignificant by the WF-SP700N’s poor audio efficiency. With zero hyperbole, I can identify 30 pairs of wi-fi—and a few true wi-fi—in-ears that sound much better than this, and most of them are additionally inexpensive. However life is brief, so I will inform you that within the comparatively new subject of true wi-fi earbuds, our favorites up to now are the Bose SoundSport Free and the JLab Epic Air. Neither pair is flawless, however each ship strong audio on the very least.

If it is glorious in-ear noise cancellation you are after, the wi-fi Jabra Elite 65e earphones are solely barely dearer and do an awesome job, whereas the pricier Bose QuietControl 30 are nonetheless the perfect wi-fi noise-canceling in-ears we have examined, however neither of those are true wi-fi pairs. Sony has created some excellent-sounding headphones and audio system, so we’ll simply chalk this as much as a swing and a miss.

Shop Amazon