I have to confess, I am Bass junkie and love my music deep, super low and thumping with the right tunes. So when Sony came out with a mid-range and affordable wireless in-ear headphone, I jumped at it. While it has some flaws to begin with, it offers plenty of amazing features you would want from a Bluetooth headphone.
After having tested and gone through countless pairs of headphones, I have become attuned to quality headphones and can tell the difference within seconds of listening to a headphone and be able to tell you if it is any good.
Sony MDR-XB70BT Wireless in-ear Headphone In-depth Review
The Sony MDR-XB70BT is what I would call a mid-range wireless headset from Sony. Being Sony, you can find over half a dozen of wireless headphones for all-round sound, always on heavy bass to Hi-Res (high resolution) audio. You can see this at the bottom of the article where we list other wireless in-ear headphones from Sony with the two popular profiles; neck band like this one or wired link.
Let’s start with the features we like about the MDR-XB70BT. It has a soft silicone neck band, flexible and light that goes around the back of the next with batteries, controls and wireless antenna housed at either ends of the neck band. As both ends are even in shape and almost equal in weight, it balances and sits nicely on the top of your collarbone. As the neck band is soft, you can fold or roll the headphone up making it easy to carry while travelling, pity it does not come with a carry pouch to keep it in.
This also means that the ear pieces are small and light as everything is contained in the band. If you have a pair of in-ear wireless with a small link cable between the left and right earpiece, all the gubbins that make the wireless headphone work would need to be in the earpiece making this heavy and bulky.
The earpieces on the MDR-XB70BT is really small by comparison, like those you find on a wired headsets. The downside is that you neck will have to do a bit of weight lifting. Not that it’s all that heavy, the entire unit only weighs 43 gram. You can get used to it quickly and after while you will hardly notice it is even there.
Always On Bass & Sound
Like I said, this may not be for everyone but for a bass junkie like myself, it’s pure heaven. You can always turn down the bass depending on the app you use to stream using the equalizer or audio profile settings. Don’t get me wrong, the headphone still performs very well with plenty of detail and clarify, pumping out sound covering the entire range even when listening at low volume. The noise isolation with the right ear tips is great but does not block out surrounding noise completely. Four different silicone ear tips are offered; large, small and super small with the medium sized tips already fixed on the ear pieces.
There have been complains from others about a soft hissing background noise with this model once connected. We experience this on ours too but only notice it when listening to tracks that are quiet like an orchestra with pauses or slow acoustic music. If slow and soft is your kind of listening appetite then we would not recommend the MDR-XB70BT. But, if you listen to the latest hits, pop, rock, blue, country, hip hop, jazz, reggae, R&B, alternative, techno, punk, almost everything else, then this is what you need.
The remote controls and found on the left side of the neck band. In the beginning you might have to fiddle and turn to look at the controls. But, once you get used to it, it does not take very much and you should be able to do it blindfolded. There are only three buttons with volume down, volume up and power (from left to right). Push the power button to switch it on or off. From off state, hold down the power button for 7 seconds to enter connect mode, indicated with a red and blue flashing light. You can then use your device to find the headphone (MDR-XB70BT). The power button also functions as a play and pause button. To turn the headphone off, press and hold the power button for two seconds. When you get an incoming call, push the power button to take the call. Here is a quick list of what the power button is for:
- Switch on/off
- Enter connect mode
- Play/pause the music
- Pick up incoming or end calls
The volume down and up buttons double as previous and next track. All you need to do is to hold it down for 2 seconds to either go to the beginning or previous track or skip to the next track. When controlling the volume it works in tandem with the volume control on your device. There is a two tone beep when you reach the lower or upper limit of the volume control, indicating that you can go no lower or higher. The music does not mute even at the lower limit, you can use the power button to pause the music if you need to mute it. If you are familiar with the controls on your wired headphones, it does not take look to get familiar with this one. Control your playlist and volume without reaching for your device.
The following diagram on the box explains this best, see below. Another piece of the accompanied literature, a quick start guide goes though this step by step.
Connectivity and Range
The headphone comes with Bluetooth connectivity for wireless music streaming and one-touch Near Field Communication (NFC) for easy pairing. There is a 10 meter range in open space, but should you lose connection, move back to the source and press the power button again to reconnect. On reconnect, you get a voice prompt. As it is a low powered device, it would rather you stay close to the source of have the source with you at all time.
Charge & Battery Life
For a mid-range pair, the battery performs surprisingly well with up to 9 hours of playtime, the best battery life from wireless headphones in this profile. And, if you run low, it only takes 2.5 hours to fully recharge with supplied USB to mini USB cable. The charging port is on the left housing of the neck band. It is covered with a piece of rubber. You will need something pointy to get it out as it is stuck on quite well and for someone with big stubby fingers like myself, it was hopeless trying to get it to open.
Take or Make Calls
With the MDR-XB70BT, you can take calls straight from the headphones without reaching for your phone. Handsfree function is built in and as explained before, you can use the remote to take and end calls.
Not Water Resistant or Splash Proof
As a mid-range headphone, the headset is not water resistant so make sure the neck band is under your coat when it is raining. It is also not suitable for sports, as it does not play well with moisture and sweat. Besides, the neck band and controls would bounce around if you move around a lot. If you are the active type, seek other sports wireless headphones, see table of comparison at the bottom of this article.
Sony MDR-XB70BT Bluetooth Wireless in-ear headphones – NECK BAND, EXTRA BASS
Features at a Glance
- Extra Bass processing for deep puncy sound, neckband with remote buttons on the left side for call and music
- Super comfortable ear buds, light and small
- Bluetooth connectivity and NFC for easy pairing
- 9 hours battery life
- Hands-free calls: Clear voice with built in mic and HD Voice support
Band not quite suitable for rigorous sports, bounces when running, great bass while still manages to maintain sound clarity across the range. Long battery life is a plus, if you do not mind the silicone band around your neck, this is the headphone for you.
Other wireless in-ear headphones from Sony
- Sony Active MDR-XB80BS Wireless In-ear headphones
- Sony MDR XB50BS Wireless in-ear headphones
- Sony MDR-AS800BT Active Sports Bluetooth Headset
- Sony h.ear EX750BT Bluetooth High Resolution In-Ear Headphones
- Sony MDR-AS600BT Active Sport Bluetooth Headset
1. Sony Active MDR-XB80BS Wireless In-ear headphones – WASHABLE IPX5 (SPLASH & WEATHER RESISTANT), WIRED LINK, EXTRA BASS
- Extra Bass technolgy for thumping rhythms great for keeping you motivated with all sports in ultra durable washable design
- Ear hooks and cable adjuster keep headphones securely in place
- Bluetooth, LDAC for Hi-fidelity wireless streaming and NFC connectivity
- 7 hours of battery life with quick charge
- built-in microphone for hands-free calls
Over ear hook does mean that the headphone is more secure but not quite suitable for people with glasses, sound is great though especially for those who like punch deep bass.
2. Sony MDR XB50BS Wireless in-ear headphones – SPLASH PROOF IPX4, WIRED LINK, EXTRA BASS
- Wrap-around headband wired link with in-line remote for free movement and control, splash proof design ready for rain or sweat
- Extra bass sound for rocking that favourite playlist
- Bluetooth wireless connectivity and NFC one-touch pairing
- 8.5 hours playtime plenty of battery life to get you through the day
- Built-in microphone for hands-free calls
- Available in Red, Blue and Black
3. Sony MDR-AS800BT Active Sports Bluetooth Headset – SPLASH RESISTANT
- Bluetooth audio streaming with AAC and apt-X support, 2-way wearing style: secure or easy fit, Splash-resistant design prevents sweat from leaking in
- Hybrid silicone earbuds and Arc supporters provide a precise fit, Ultra-compact one-button design for simple operation,
- Built-in microphone for hands-free phone calling
- Rechargeable battery for up to 4.5 hours music playback, Convenient One-touch Connection (NFC), Carrying Case, USB charging cable, and Adjustment Band supplied.
4. Sony h.ear EX750BT Bluetooth High Resolution In-Ear Headphones – NECK BAND, HI-RES AUDIO
- For all-round sound and Hi-Res audio compatibility
- Go wire free with Bluetooth and NFC, High-Resolution Audio support for uncompromising sound via wired listening
- Listen longer with up to 7.5 hours battery life, In-ear comfort and style, Lightweight, behind-the-neck design – GOOD BATTERY LIFE
- Clear hands-free calling via Bluetooth, Wide frequency response for pure audio, Enjoy higher quality Bluetooth streaming with LDAC
5. Sony MDR-AS600BT Active Sport Bluetooth Headset – SPLASH PROOF, LINK CABLE
- Stream music wirelessly with Bluetooth & NFC technology, Splash-proof design prevents sweat from leaking in, Hybrid silicone earbuds and Arc supporters provide a secure fit
- Sleek, one-button design for simple operation, Built-in microphone for hands-free phone calling,
- Rechargeable battery for up to 8 hours music playback, USB charging cable supplied, Available in Black and Orange – GOOD BATTERY LIFE