Sony XB650BT Review Facts
Sony has been around since 1946 and is one of the most recognizable brands in the world today. From creating the world’s first portable music device, the Walkman in the 1970s, to creating computer devices and video recorders, this brand has paved the way for the electronics industry to blossom. They are often the first to introduce new technology and their line-up today includes items like televisions, robots, cameras, speakers, the PlayStation video gaming console and, of course, headphones.
Today we’re going to look at the Sony XB650BT headphones. This seemingly random combination of letters and numbers in the title of this product actually serves a purpose. ‘XB’ refers to the Xtra Bass technology that the company has outfitted these headphones with. ‘650’ is the product number and ‘BT’ refers to the fact that these employ Bluetooth technology. Sony’s Xtra Bass series extends beyond just headphones, too. They also offer speakers that utilize their XB technology as well, ensuring they’re able to provide a bass-heavy listening experience to consumers in more ways than just through their headphone line up.
Let’s take a deeper look into what these headphones have to offer and if that XB technology is all it’s cracked up to be.
Because the XB650BT is an over-the-ear style headphone, users should feel free to be able to participate in any number of activities without major restrictions. Some users often feel annoyed with neckband
style headphones as the band tends to bounce on the neck or slip off entirely during certain exercises. With these, though, we never felt held back. Whether we took them for a run or a lifting routine,
the headphones stayed put and allowed us to focus on our sweat session instead of fiddling around with the earbuds or neckband. When it comes to using these during phone calls, the audio comes in clear and the clarity of the microphone is great. Some users felt that the extra bass feature makes audio whilst taking calls awkward, but we didn’t feel this way.
As with most Bluetooth headphones released these days, the XB650BT has been sure to include a way to access your necessary audio controls without ever needing to pull out your device. Located on the right earcup is the well-marked audio control panel. Users are able to turn the device on and off here as well as access the volume, play or pause functions and skip track button. Also located here is the microphone that comes in handy when using your headphones to take calls. It’s worth mentioning that the volume control on the headphones didn’t also control the volume on our iPhones. Most Bluetooth headphones will gain access to the volume controls on the connected device, but this doesn’t seem to be the case with the XB650BT. This isn’t a deal breaker for us at all as we just needed to remember to turn the volume up on our devices first.
Though these are not noise-canceling headphones and aren’t marketed as noise isolating
either, they do provide a great amount of sound isolation regardless. This is likely due in part to the design of the ear cups. We were able to wear these on a crowded subway train without any problems of background noise ruining our listening experience. Another great feature is that the XB650BT doesn’t have any sound leakage associated with it. We were able to feel free listening to our music on the subway without having to hear other people’s conversations and we appreciated the fact that the other subway commuters didn’t hear any sound leakage from our headphones either.
As we mentioned in our introduction, the XB650BT is part of Sony’s “Xtra Bass” line of headphones that are designed to provide – yup, you guessed it – extra bass. The bass provided here is deep and punchy and Sony even went a step further by outfitting these with Bass Booster technology. They feature neodymium drivers to allow them to provide a punchier response, clearer and more precise audio regardless of what volume you’re listening to. They’re a perfect choice for users who love EDM music and other tunes that are on the bass-heavy side. The Bass Booster technology helps to provide a tight acoustic seal that will give some sound isolation, though it should be noted that these are not noise canceling headphones. Audiophiles may be a bit more nitpicky when it comes to the sound quality. They might find the bass to be bleed or distort on certain bass-heavy songs. But for folks who just like to feel that rumble on their skull, the XB650BT will live up to their expectations. Some might find the Bass Booster will need to be turned off. Something that we were able to appreciate with the XB650BT is the fact that the sound quality is consistent, even when listening to higher volumes.
A great feature of the XB650BT is how easy they are to connect with your Bluetooth-enabled devices. They also offer Near Field Communication (NFC) pairing which provides a one-touch way to connect your headphones to your devices if they offer that technology. Though we were unable to find exact specifications for how far one can be away from their device and still have a solid Bluetooth connection, we were able to be about 30 feet away and still maintain solid connectivity where a lot of other headphone options would begin to cut out. Of course, signals start to get fuzzy once you start to move to other rooms in your home, as is the case for all Bluetooth devices.
These headphones provide an over-the-ear design with padded earcups. The headband is made with a faux leather material that is designed to add an extra element of comfort. Both the ear pads and the headband are generously padded so as to enhance the overall comfort for users during their listening experience. We loved the way the earpads fit on our ears, but we imagine that may not necessarily be the case for every listener. We did find that using these for extended periods of times meant that the comfort level decreased. The ear cups begin to start to feel uncomfortably tight on our ears. They are adjustable to a degree, but folks with larger heads may struggle to find a fit that feels right for them. Overall, we loved the soft padding
but these might only be comfortable during shorter listening sessions and not something you will want to wear all day at work or during long gaming sessions.
Sony decided to employ an over-the-ear headband style for the XB650BT. They are fairly large and definitely on the bulky side when compared to other similar options on the market today. But this is actually indicative of the fact that these headphones fall into the Sony XB line-up
. The adjustable headband was created for more than just providing a comfortable fit as it was designed to optimize the bass playback by giving users a proper fit that minimizes the vibrations caused by the bass. They are available in three different color options – blue, black or red. The outer panel of the headband has an attractive brushed aluminum look. They don’t fold up for storage, but the ear cups do fold down flat if you wish to pack them in your suitcase for travel. That said, there are some questions regarding the durability of these swiveling earcups. Many reviews had problems with this aspect of the headphones breaking or cracking which leaves us to think maybe there is a bit of a flaw in the overall style of this product. Though the headphones are rather large and bulky, they’re not actually that heavy on, which we were able to appreciate. We liked the low=profile design but still felt them to be a hair too big overall.
Sadly, it seems there is a bit of a design flaw with the XB650BT. The issue is in the swivel joint design of the headphones. Many current users reported that the swivel bracket on their headphones simply broke or cracked, sometimes during the first few uses of the product. Another common complaint is that the plastic material is of poor quality. Some users reported that the plastic broke easily. The plastic supports that hold the drivers cracked and fell apart entirely in some cases. The headband broke where it attached to the headphones. As you can tell, there were a plethora of complaints that we stumbled across during our research. That said, however, many reviews were still glowing and we personally didn’t have any issues ourselves with our product. Perhaps durability concerns only become an issue if the user is unwilling to take care of their device in a careful manner.
Ease of Use
We found this to be incredibly easy to pair thanks to the Bluetooth 4.0 technology. For users whose devices support NFC technology, pairing is made even simpler by just needing to tap your device to the headphones to connect. Once we had a chance to get accustomed to the controls on the ear cup, we found them easy to operate as well. There was a short learning curve there while we figured out which directions of the switch operate which function, but it wasn’t overwhelming and we were able to catch on fast.
These headphones come with a relatively low price point considering the big brand name attached to them. The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price is $79.99, though you might be able to find them for a lower price on certain online retailers like Amazon. We found the price to be incredibly fair considering the value that these headphones provide. Sony does offer a limited 90-day warranty in case any aspect of the headphones is deemed ineffective as well as a one year warranty for parts.
The battery life associated with these is among the best we’ve seen at a whopping thirty hours. They provide a 12.5 day standby time and 30 hours of talk time. The XB650BT use a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that charges with the included USB cable. They don’t have the option to connect to a headphone jack and list without Bluetooth technology, however, which may be a deal breaker for some users. We didn’t find this to be an issue at all because we knew these were Bluetooth from the get-go and a lot of newer styles don’t offer headphone jacks anymore. With a 30-hour battery life, we didn’t feel the need to have a backup wired listening option.
-30-hour battery life
-Xtra Bass technology
-30mm drivers for a powerful sound
Overall, we think that the XB650BT have some qualities that make it a great choice. We loved the sound quality that these provide and the Xtra Bass really is all it’s cracked up to be. We loved that we were able to crank the volume and not have any distortion whatsoever and the fact that there was practically no sound leakage is an added bonus. The 30-hour battery life and overall comfort are what really sold us, though. It’s hard to find a headphone option out there with such great battery life and even though the headphones are a bit bulky, we were able to accept that because they were just so darn comfortable. We weren’t crazy about the durability concerns of the product, though as we mentioned, we didn’t have any issues with the swivel joint or plastic breaking ourselves. If you are able to take care of your products and respect that they’re fragile, we think you’ll love the Sony XB650BT and that it’ll be a great addition to your audio equipment.