The XB series of headphones from Sony have always been quite popular in India. With their emphasis on bass, the headphones fit the profile of the Indian listener, at least the majority anyway. The WH-XB700 is the newest in that range.
Personally, I’ve never been a fan of the XB series. They’ve focuses on bass, of course, but even that is at times too loose, or too overwhelming. Compared to older XB series headphones, the WH-XB700 strikes a better balance between bass, mids and highs.
In past versions of the XB series, the bass would overpower everything else, making it difficult to hear other audio. In the WH-XB700, you still get decently loud bass, but without compromising the highs as much. Genres like rap, hip-hop and even some rock feel quite energetic, which is a good thing.
That said, while you can hear high frequencies better this time, the headphones still lack completely in the mid frequencies. The overall result is better clarity in sound than older XB series headphones, but still not something you would call perfect. It’s essentially a V-shaped sound signature, which means bass and highs are enhanced, while the mids are mediocre at best. It also doesn’t have wide soundstage.
Audio quality aside, the WH-XB700 borrows one feature from Sony’s higher end headsets. It supports the Google Assistant and Siri, depending on which phone you use. There’s a button tagged “Custom” on the headset, which is to be pressed to call the assistants and give voice commands to your phone.
While that’s a nifty feature to have, neither the Google Assistant nor Siri are really dependable at the moment. Also, Sony’s headset isn’t the best for taking hands-free calls. Many callers complained that my voice was too low, or that there was too much background noise.
Lastly, Sony has designed these as over-the-ear headphones. It’s made almost entirely of plastic, with a sandblasted finish on the outside of the earcups and leathery padding on the band and the inside part of the earcups, to make it more comfortable.
However, the supra-aural style may not be good for everyone. The headband can be extended to fit your head, but the fact that these are “on” your ear, instead of over them, makes them quite uncomfortable to wear over the long term.
To sum up, the Sony WH-XB700 are a marked improvement on earlier headphones in this series, in terms of audio quality. However, many of the older versions were more comfortable to wear than these. At ₹8,999, this may be a hard sell, though it still does fit the profile for a large number of listeners in India.