Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Hands On: Sony WF-SP700N Review

A wire-free audio accessory for fitness enthusiasts



OUR EARLY VERDICT

It seems Sony isn't happy unless it's cramming more and more functionality into smaller and smaller packages, and the WF-SP700N is its most feature-packed sports bud yet, with its splashproofing and active nose-cancellation packed into a true wireless form factor.

FOR

Active noise cancellation
IPX4 certification
Adjustable ANC

AGAINST

Flimsy charging case
No volume controls

In November 2017, Sony rolled out the WF-1000X in India. The wireless headphones were the first in the world to include noise cancellation in a truly wireless form factor while reproducing good audio. 

Building on its heritage, Sony has now incorporated IPX4 certification for splash-proofing to come up with a more complete pair of truly wireless sports headphones— the WF-SP700N. The headphones were launched at Rs 12,990.


Design

The SP700N is aimed to be bold, stylish and colourful, which is not the case with WF-1000X. Instead, they have a sleek and subtle feel to them. 

Either way, both headsets are at par in terms of design, but the WF-700N is a lot sportier and slightly bigger. And I liked it.

The lone issue with the headphone is the weight, they are a little bulky, but unlike the WF-1000X, the company has embraced their bulk with a bolder colour scheme, which looks good.


It has a nice pebble like shape with curves around the body. It's void of extra buttons to keep it sleek. All the controls are accessed by tap patterns on a single button. Which is a pain initially as fumble through a lot of hits and misses, but you will get used to it over time.

Touted as fitness headphones, the pair fit well in ears and stay put during activities. To try this, I jiggled my body around while wearing them, and they stayed securely in place.

They hook up quite nicely in the ear. If they don't, Sony always provides extra silicon tips for different ear types and sizes.

What makes it more sporty is its splash-proof feature. That means you can wear them when it's raining. Although I didn't get a chance to try that today, I'm sure taking them to the shower to test if their claims are true.

The only thing I didn't like is the charging case. Till the time I didn't pick it up in my hand, I quite liked it, but things changed after that. It doesn't open like other cases, it pivots around a point and looks really cool. But it felt flimsy. It has the 'I might break it if I do it wrong' feel to it. 


Features

Apart from IPX4 certification, there are now three levels of noise cancellation modes to choose from. First is total noise-cancellation, the second one only lets invoices, and the last one allows for a mix of ambient sounds to be used in public areas.

We've seen Sony's obsession with NFC, and this pair has it for quick connectivity. It has inbuilt Google Assistant/Siri support for direct access through voice. So that you don't need to pull out your phone to say a command.

Also, downloading the Sony app on your phone opens  up a lot of customisation options and many other features.

The earbuds last three hours on a single charge, and the case can recharge them twice more.

Performance

When I listened to the audio for a few minutes, I came away quite satisfied with the audio quality. From the limited number of tracks I heard, I could make out the punchy highs and the solid amount of bass to keep you pumped up while working out. 

The noise cancellation works amazingly well, which Sony has been consistent with. The three modes work like magic, but the last one doesn't seem as useful as the other two. The voice mode can suffice to allow ambient sound inside the ears. We'll have to spend more time with the earphones before we deliver a full verdict on the sound quality though.

We didn't get a chance to test the battery life, but the company claims it to offers nine hours of battery life, the headphones offer three hours and the case carries six hours of battery. Meaning, they'll get charged when they are in the case.


Early verdict

It would have been great to see fitness tracking features included if Sony is attempting to market it in the sports segment. But, it has got the fit, sound quality, and IPX4 certification to qualify to be a great companion at workouts. 

Sony has been acing the noise cancellation for quite sometime, and they've made no mistake here as well. 

As usual, we will reserve the final verdict on the headphones till we get to spend more time with them.



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