From their first true wireless earbuds, WF-1000X, Sony is clearly taking a more unconventional design path. While the Sony WF-1000X makes several missteps, the new WF-SP700N sports earbuds seems to get it right the second time.
Most people might gawk at the size of Sony’s true wireless earbuds, but real users will learn to appreciate over time. The relatively large size ensures the earbuds do not get misplaced or rolls off to the unreachable realms when dropped. After all, the reason for a small earbud is its weight, which Sony manages to overcome. And the swinging case lid is quite brilliant for a smooth one-hand operation while keeping the lid secure. Besides, Sony is never a design company that sacrifices form over function, as evident with its other similarly chunky wireless sport headsets.
Despite larger than WF-1000X, the WF-SP700N wears more comfortably thanks to its more rigid arc supporter that clings unto the ear lobes more securely. The pebble-shaped earbuds offers more grip when handling them without fear of accidentally touching the buttons. Speaking of buttons, the placement is such that the logical way to press it is not pressing it with a single finger against the ears. No, that would be adding pressure to the ear canals. Instead, you support the earbud with the index finger while pressing the button with the thumb.
To maximise the functions of the WF-SP700N, it is required to install the Sony Headphones Connect smartphone app. From the app, you can define quick settings that can be activated by double-pressing the left earbud. Other functions include EQ, ambient sound mode. Over the earbuds, you can easily enable noise cancelling or ambient sound by clicking the left earbud.
The noise cancelling is not as aggressive as the premium series earphones, removing the low frequency ambient sound but resulting in the higher frequency sounding more prominent. Perhaps increasing airiness in the treble is one way to cover up the ambient sound. It is effective up to a certain extent, and I suppose it works fine under workout situations, but fails to eliminate chatter in cafes.
The ambient sound, on the other hand, offers a rather natural outcome. Sony seems to have perfected the balance such that the user can hear sufficient surrounding noise as if the earbuds are open-back, but not excessive enough to irritate the ears. The only hint of the ambient sound mode is the wind noise generated.
As for the sound quality, Sony can’t go wrong. The WF-SP700N is tuned for clarity, offering great enjoyment when listening to instrumentals. The bass is admittedly not boomy enough for EDM lovers, but good enough for a balanced listening.
The Sony WF-SP700N is designed for the active lifestyle, offering adequate IPX4 water protection, rounded design for ease of handling, and comfortable audio tuning. Its noise cancelling is mildly adequate while the ambient sound opens up environment for a safe urban workout.