Great sound meets odd design

Mala Bharghava | Updated on: Jul 18, 2018

Sony’s Extra Bass WF-SPT700N is a true wireless set of sports earphones with plenty of features and awkward bits

If you’re fond of the Sony sound, there’s a treat in store for you. But the treat isn’t all sweet — there are some strange design choices and glitches with what is an expensive product. On the other hand, the WF-SPT700N sound just great — one of the best sporty variety earphones I’ve heard. Here’s the good and bad of this interesting pair of earphones.

You meet design annoyances right from the start. The package opens differently from any other, forcing you to spend a few moments wondering how to get to the product without ripping apart the box. Then, you come upon the case that houses the two earbuds and you end up trying to open it the way a box usually opens because that’s how it looks. When it’s in danger of breaking because it feels like it isn’t made of particularly premium material, you notice a smile shaped line that is the one clue you have to the fact that you have to slide the lid sideways to reach the earbuds. Once you know of course, you never make that mistake again. The case and earbuds come in different colours, but ours was a grey black that makes any markings on it difficult to notice.

You have to place the earbuds carefully into the case so the connector snaps in and it can get a big awkward when the wingtip and silicone ear-tip make it tough to push into place. A light comes on for each earbud to let you know it’s in place and charging.

The case is the charger for the WF-SPT700N earphones. It’s a format followed by many wireless earphones. But the case is a little bulky and not easy to slip into say a shirt or dress pocket — not without evidencing a big visible and awkward lump. In the case, the earphones take about 90 minutes to charge after which they give you three hours of play. You can put them back into the case two more times before the case needs to be recharged. Many are unhappy with this short battery life, but one must remember that this is a sports set, not a regular one for long hours of listening. They could get uncomfortable long before three hours are up along with your workout. Features like noise cancelation also take away from the battery life, so it’s a trade off some may be alright with.

The WF-SPT700N are totally wireless. The buds don’t need to connect to each other with a cable. They’re a bit clumpy, as these tend to be, and anyone with unusual ears and freakiest fit problems should see if they can check them out physically first. But if they do fit you, they’re secure and really don’t fall out. I jumped up and down a bit with my head titled one way and the other, without dislodging them.

Full-bodied bass

It’s when the WF-SPT700N earphoens are properly sealed in that you hear how good they sound. These are from Sony’s Extra Bass series so obviously they pack in full-bodied bass, which is nice as so many sports earbuds just sound thin and tinny. The sound is nice enough to tempt one to listen for long, which is not what these earbuds are for. The listening is sweetened by the fact that there’s active noise cancellation, aided by the in-ear sealing of these earbuds. My mother complained that she called me thrice and that I showed no signs of responding. What you can do if yu do want to hear your mother calling you is to turn on the ambient sound mode.

But what mars the experience is the confusing controls, with the manual being of little help. Be sure you identify the right earbud which has a red dot on it somewhere. When you remove the left bud from the case making sure you leave the right one inside and you press the tiny button on the left bud for seven seconds, the bed blinks red and blue indicating pairing mode. This is hardly intuitive. The easier way is to touch the back of the case to the phone for NFC pairing which it does instantly and with no fuss — if your phone has NFC as a feature, that is. There aren’t any more buttons on the earbuds and the single one handles all functions such as power, pause-play, and toggling between ambient, noise cancellation and regular. That one button also takes calls with a press and these are clear and loud both ways.


Published on July 18, 2018

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