- Active noise reduction
- IPX4 Certification
- Support for the AAC codec (I recommend using it only with Apple gadgets)
- Good ergonomics and a secure fit
- Proprietary application with additional functionality
- The microphone loves to catch the wind and the noise around you.
- Audio Delay When Watching Video Using SBC Codec
Surprisingly, a few years ago, completely wireless headphones were considered something fantastic with a very impressive price. But at the end of 2018, we are holding in our hands, an active noise reduction system and cost $150. Are they suitable for everyday use or not? We’ll find out now.
Who are the Sony WF-SP700N for?
- For athletes. Sony WF-SP700N are IPX4 water-resistant and therefore great for athletes. Sweat and splashes of water are not at all frightening for this model. At the same time, they hold on to their ears with confidence and are equipped with an active noise reduction system to cut off external noise, and you could concentrate on doing the exercises.
- For those who often travel in transport. Sony WF-SP700N are equipped with active noise reduction, which means they are perfect for those who spend a lot of time on public transport, especially in such a noisy one as the subway. Of course, the noise reduction efficiency in this model is lower than that of the full-size Sony WH-1000XM3, but the headphones’ size is much more compact.
- 4 pairs of different sizes of silicone ear pads
- 2 pairs of silicone stops of different sizes
- Micro-USB charging cable
- Instruction manual
Construction, Materials, and Build Quality
Like many other fully wireless headphones, the Sony WF-SP700N is made entirely of plastic. This allows them to be very lightweight, maintain an acceptable cost and have a useful life sufficient to satisfy even the most demanding user.
The headphones are IPX4 certified, which means that they can withstand the effects of splashing water or sweat; they can run in the pouring rain or engage in intense training; nothing bad will happen. However, the headphones cannot be completely immersed in water, even for one minute. Their protection will not cope with such a test.
The ergonomics of the headphones turned out to be successful, although it looks somewhat cumbersome. In the ears of the Sony WF-SP700N, they hold on firmly and do not cause discomfort. Even without the use of silicone pads, the headphones will not fall out. But if you want the headphones not to be adjusted even during a long intensive training session, use the silicone stops. They are almost not noticeable during use. Still, they noticeably increase the tenacity of the headphones.
Headphones have a good level of passive noise isolation, even when the noise-canceling system is turned off. If it’s not very noisy around you, then you can turn it off at all.
What I did not really like about the Sony WF-SP700N is the method of controlling the operation of the squelch and switching its modes. The instructions say that you need to switch the noise reduction modes by repeatedly pressing the left earphone’s power button. But it is not said how many times you need to press to activate a particular mode.
Empirically, I determined the following algorithm: for the headphones to switch the types of noise reduction, you need to press the power button four times quickly. After that, you will have one second to select the desired mode:
- One-click – turn off noise reduction.
- Two clicks – enable noise reduction.
- Three clicks – turning on the amplification mode of the sound surrounding you (so that without removing the headphones, you can hear everything that is happening around you)
This method is inconvenient. Therefore, it is more efficient to install a special proprietary application on the phone, which will allow you to flexibly and, most importantly, conveniently control all the headphones’ functions.
Microphone quality of Sony WF-SP700N
The microphone itself picks up speech quite well and transmits it clearly. However, it has absolutely no intelligent noise reduction systems, which is why it catches all the noise around you.
The microphone is also very sensitive to wind, so I do not recommend talking with it on the street. Even with a light wind, the interlocutor will hear it. But if you are in a room with an acceptable level of background noise, then the microphone will do its job perfectly.
How to make the primary pairing of Sony WF-SP700N with a phone?
It would seem that wireless headphones have been around for more than a year. A rich operating experience has been accumulated, and all manufacturers have received a huge number of reviews from real users about how they use headphones, what they like, and whatnot.
But Sony, it seems to me, does not pay much attention to such reviews and love to do everything in their own way.
That is why it is necessary to make a separate mention of how to pair Sony WF-SP700N with a phone for the first time:
- Remove the left earpiece from the included case.
- Hold the power button for about 7 seconds, after which the indicator light will flash blue and red alternately.
- Now go to the Bluetooth settings menu on your phone, open the list of available devices, find the name Sony WF-SP700N there and click on it.
- Only after the left earphone successfully connects to the phone, remove the right earphone from the case
- Ideally, it should automatically connect headphones and a phone to the left. If it doesn’t work, then insert the right earphone back into the case, wait a few seconds and remove it from there again.
Should I install the proprietary Sony Headphones Connect app?
The short answer is yes. The point is that switching the active noise reduction model using the headphones themselves is extremely inconvenient. The matter is also in additional functions that the application provides.
Using the application, you can select one of 8 equalizer presets. You cannot create your own preset, but you will definitely like one of the 8 ready-made ones, and you will use it every day. You can turn off the equalizer. Then the headphones will play the sound as neutral as they can physically.
You can also control the music player from the proprietary application, start and stop music playback, switch tracks.
Another important setting is choosing the priority of the wireless connection: sound quality or connection stability. Surprisingly, the “sound quality” mode really improves the sound slightly. Even in this mode, the headphones work stably. I did not notice any serious problems with the transfer of music.
During testing, the headphones were able to play music for 2 hours 58 minutes continuously. It should be noted that the volume level was set above average. Usually, at such a volume, they do not listen to music because it’s too loud. Therefore, if you lower the volume to an acceptable level, we can safely say that the Sony WF-SP700N will work longer than 3 hours.
Headphones WF-SP700N are equipped with Bluetooth 4.1 module, which is not the front line of technical development, but this is quite enough for reliable work every day with the vast majority of modern phones.
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WF-SP700N supports SBC and AAC codecs. AptX and LDAC are not supported.
Our recent study showed that the AAC codec makes sense to use only paired with iPhone or other gadgets from Apple. In all other cases, I recommend using SBC.
The headphones worked stably at a distance of up to five meters from the sound source without barriers and up to three meters in an apartment. For headphones of this form factor, this is a normal result. There is nothing strange here.
Sound Quality WF-SP700N
Sony touts the WF-SP700N as fully wireless headphones that should hit you with bass. And this is true. Even with the bass boost turned off (which can be turned on through the app), the headphones place a noticeable emphasis on low frequencies. Moreover, they are quite clean, deep, and moderately detailed. I can’t call the bass magical or indescribable, but what I can say for sure, it sounds nice. There is no feeling of stuffiness in the ear or sound from the bucket. The bass is peppy, clear, and capacious, but you need to understand that these are wireless headphones, and it is not yet possible to achieve the same sound quality as wired headphones.
What really surprised me was that the bass had almost no effect on the midrange. He does not drown them out but slightly disguises them, which gives the sound a certain charm and some velvety.
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The vocals of the singers are clearly distinguishable, although it sounds with some bass tinge. However, this is the case in this particular case because these are not headphones for the studio, they are headphones for the street and the gym, and for this, the bass, soft and velvety sound is what you need.
Treble sounds clear and detailed, although, in some tracks, you can hear that they are masked by bass more than we would like.
Summing up the sound, I note that these are never studio or music fans. They are designed to listen to music on the go, during training, or walking through the city’s streets. And for these purposes, they sound great – driving and powerful.
Noise reduction performance
The active noise cancellation system in the headphones is average. It copes quite effectively with low-frequency sound, but the higher the frequency, the lower the noise reduction efficiency.
The graph shows how loud certain frequencies will sound. As you can see, low frequencies sound quiet, but the higher the frequency, the worse the noise can handle them.
However, in most cases, it is a low-frequency sound that is the main irritant in the subway and public transport. Yes, in a subway car, a noise canceler will not significantly reduce noise, but he will do something, add pretty good passive noise isolation to it, and in the end, you will not have to increase the volume of the music. So you save your hearing and get extra comfort when traveling.
Conclusion: Should you buy Sony WF-SP700N?
The Sony WF-SP700N left a pretty clear impression on me – I have to take it. After all, given their cost, noise reduction, and sound quality, there are almost no competitors. Rather, there is, but no one can offer the same thing for comparable money.
There is IPX4, and a pleasant appearance, and the ability to choose from four colors: pink, white, yellow, black.
If you need headphones with a similar set of features and good, albeit not audiophile, sound quality, then the Sony WF-SP700N is what you need.
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