Sony’s first attempt at in actual fact wireless earbuds last 365 days modified into as soon as a disappointment: the $200 noise-canceling WF-1000X buds had subpar battery lifestyles, excessive audio sync components when staring at video, and intermittent connection dropouts. Now, Sony is serve with one other attempt to a more particular point of curiosity: sports. The $a hundred and eighty WF-SP700N are clearly designed for runners and gymgoers. They’re water / sweat resistant, and they match securely on your ears with out budging even the slightest bit, no matter how packed with life the notify. They’ve got a rumbling, bass-heavy sound and digital noise cancellation.
But they additionally reach with one of the crucial crucial identical problems as Sony’s all-motive in actual fact wireless earbuds: battery lifestyles stays disappointing, the video sync concern is unexcited most up-to-date, and the audio from time to time cuts out.
These earbuds watch various than their predecessors. Whereas the WF-1000X were rather subtle, no person would use that notice to characterize the WF-SP700N buds. They’re beefy, but I mediate Sony figures that potentialities don’t essentially care much about blueprint when deciding on workout earbuds. I examined the white / silver colour, but they additionally reach in a flashy yellow, red, or dark.
I don’t tips the look much since they sit down on your ears so properly, but Sony may maybe perhaps discover carried out better with button format. Peek the beefy circle approach the underside of every earbud? It’s no longer a button. As an different, the buttons are those small plastic slits upright below the Sony logo. The upright-aspect button enables you to play / quit, skip tracks, urged Siri / Google Assistant, etc. The one on the left toggles between Sony’s noise cancellation and ambient sound modes. Sadly, they’re rather stiff, and likewise you’ll be shoving the earbuds deeper into your ears everytime you utilize them. Siri heard me lovely with the built-in mic, but I got complaints about positive at some stage in phone calls, and other folks calls simplest reach thru the left earbud. So I’d recommend right warding off calls altogether with these. Individually, Sony has additionally promised a deeper stage of integration with Google Assistant one day, but who knows when that update will in actual fact reach.
The carrying case for the WF-SP700Ns is obnoxious. It’s beefy, bulbous, and below no circumstances pocketable. The tip swings open in either direction to blow their own horns the earbuds internal, which tuck into a deep recess. Placing them serve into the case takes just a few tries sooner than it feels pure. To delivery with, I thought the swiveling top duvet may maybe perhaps be cool, but it doesn’t preserve closed seriously properly, its durability is questionable, and it’s no longer robust to envision this thing snapping off one day. The earbuds would seemingly preserve in lovely with out it, as they’re seated very snugly. The case charges over Micro USB and holds two additional elephantine charges on top of the three-hour battery lifestyles of the earbuds themselves. But I essentially need it modified into as soon as smaller; you’ll nearly undoubtedly need to carry these in a discover of some style. That’s okay for the gymnasium, but it’s much less convenient in other places.
The earbuds are IPX4 water-resistant, and they handled loads of 5-mile runs and my usual waterfall of sweat with none indicators of ache. But they aren’t meant to be submerged, so preserve a long way from pools and puddles. The default silicone ear guidelines and wings were supreme for my ears, but Sony entails other sizing choices for both within the sphere. Whilst you blueprint discover the upright match, the WF-SP700Ns never feel at threat of coming dislodged or falling out of your ears within the center of a bustle or workout. They’re no longer going wherever. I’ve needed to secure aftermarket foam guidelines for other wireless earbuds love the Jabra Elite 65t to form them feel this right and locked in, but the Sonys blueprint a gargantuan of job staying assign.
Ought to you need your properly being earbuds to advise boomy, extremely efficient bass, watch no additional. Excluding for Bose’s SoundSport Free, it’s robust to take into fable one other characteristic of essentially wireless buds that assign an even bigger emphasis on the low raze. That growl can form up for excessive frequencies that from time to time sound reasonably harsh and a slim soundstage. But it absolutely can secure nearly overwhelming on some tracks; listening to “The Center” by Zedd and Maren Morris is taxing on the ears. These were clearly made for excessive-tempo, bass-forward workout playlists, but I additionally discovered that they worked effectively for gritty rock love Nathaniel Rateliff & the Nightsweats and song from Leon Bridges, Brandi Carlile, and Twin Shadow.
Sony affords you a essentially primary stage of EQ preserve watch over thru its smartphone app, where it’s possible you’ll maybe perhaps glean from presets love interesting, mad, relaxed, or treble boost. You would’t customize the EQ to your dangle liking, then again. I most smartly-appreciated leaving those effects change into off. I additionally usually left the noise cancellation on these earbuds disabled. Address the WF-1000X sooner than them, I couldn’t essentially uncover an appreciable inequity between the right noise isolation you secure from sealing these on your ears and the digital noise cancellation. It’s nowhere approach as sturdy as on Sony’s elephantine-dimension headphones, and it doesn’t silent your surroundings to the identical stage. It may perhaps probably maybe perhaps reasonably cut down on avenue noise or the clanking and grunting at your local gymnasium, but that’s about it.
Sadly, Sony hasn’t addressed one of the crucial crucial annoyances that I encountered with its old in actual fact wireless earbuds. Cutouts and playback interruptions aren’t as noticeable as they were on the WF-1000Xs; I carried out a different of outside runs and stationary treadmill exercises with out a hiccup. But they unexcited happen as soon as almost today and seem like seriously worse when the earbuds are paired with a laptop pc, where the sound can maddeningly ping-pong between the left and upright earbuds.
And these proceed to suffer from badly delayed audio when staring at movies on your phone, so that you just may perhaps simplest take a look at of to use them for song listening. The WF-SP700Ns are being marketed with a particular motive — properly being — so the concern with staring at video isn’t as much of a deal-breaker as with Sony’s other pair. But I’m disenchanted Sony didn’t form the toughen to Bluetooth 5 with these, as it looks to dash a devoted distance in fixing both of those problems.
There’s no getting spherical lackluster battery lifestyles, though. At three hours of continuous playback, these earbuds will last you thru any cheap gymnasium session or a half marathon, but they’re within the serve of the fiveish-hour moderate that many competitors provide. The case will get you two extra charges for a complete of 9 hours, but again: compare that to the 15 hours of the Jabra Elites or the even greater longevity of AirPods, and it’s no longer gargantuan.
By comfort and match, Sony’s WF-SP700N earbuds are an enchancment over the firm’s first dash at in actual fact wireless earbuds. And I mediate for his or her meant motive, the bass-pushed sound will satisfy many. But first, you may perhaps make a resolution whether removing all wires is worth the sad battery lifestyles versus obsolete Bluetooth earbuds love a $a hundred characteristic of Jaybirds. If your acknowledge is definite and when it’s possible you’ll maybe perhaps fail to see the awkward case, discover no curiosity within the use of them for video, and may maybe well handle random, infrequent audio cutouts, the Sonys may maybe well no longer be a obnoxious bewitch to your subsequent characteristic of workout earbuds. But for $a hundred and eighty, I wouldn’t blame you when you discovered those swap-offs unacceptable.
Photography by Chris Welch / The Verge
Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These blueprint no longer affect editorial thunder material, though Vox Media may maybe perhaps develop commissions for merchandise bought via affiliate links. For more data, peep our ethics coverage.