Over the last couple of years Sony’s put out several wireless Bluetooth headphones, some much better than others. For 2015 we get four new models — the MDR-ZX770BN (reviewed here: $230, £129), MDR-ZX770BT ($150 — US only), MDR-ZX330BT ($100, £69) and MDR-AS600BT ($100, £69) — which form the core of Sony’s entry-level and midrange Bluetooth headphone lineup. (None of the headphones look like officially obtainable in Australia.)
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The Sony MDR-ZX770BN features both Bluetooth and active noise-canceling and is aimed toward frequent travelers, since it can even be used as a wired headphone on flights that prohibit the application of Bluetooth.
The headphones can be found in an all-black model or one with blue trim. Sarah Tew/CNET
Sony also appears to be targeting consumers who can’t quite spend the money for Beats Studio Wireless but want an excellent wireless headphone that shares a lot of its features, including noise-canceling.
This is an excellent Bluetooth headphone, though nearly as effective as the Beats. It’s comfortable, reasonably lightweight (around 240 grams or 8.5 ounces), with foam in the ear pads, and has well-placed volume and track controls on the proper ear cup (the pause button also serves as the answer/end button when coming up with mobile phone calls).
Construction is good, though not exceptionally so, and it generally does not quite have the appearance and feel of reduced headphone like Sony’s own MDR-1A , a fresh wired model which offers impressive sound quality and superior comfort.
What will come in the box. Sarah Tew/CNET
So far as other extras go, you get NFC tap-to-pair technology (the opportunity to automatically pair the headphones to Android ‘phones offering Near Field Communication chips) and AptX for smartphones that support it. (AptX is meant to enhance the grade of Bluetooth, nonetheless it remains unclear just how much of a direct effect it has.)
Battery life is rated at a decent 13 hours with noise-canceling and Bluetooth fired up. Color options include an all-black design and black with blue trim, and the headphones ship with a straightforward protective pouch, and also a headphone cord and USB charging cable.
One thing to make certain of when you initially turn the headphones on is that you keep these things in the proper listening mode. The headphone has three degrees of sound quality, that i didn’t understand initially. There’s a standard-quality mode that puts the priority on a well balanced Bluetooth connection. That significantly reduces the sound quality, and it seems the headphones might ship in this mode. The big problem is that it is hard to tell which mode is activated (just a little LED flashes to point what mode you’re in when you hit the energy and volume buttons).
What you want is among the two higher-quality modes, among which includes these AptX streaming option, and AAC. (Frankly, I came across the complete sound-mode option a bad idea).
As I said, you should use this as a wired headphone, nevertheless, you can’t switch off the noise-canceling in wired mode. The headphone sounds slightly better in wired mode, however the sound isn’t on par with the higher-end MDR-1A, which offers cleaner, smoother and more refined sound. (Having said that, sound quality improved extremely slightly when I turned the noise-canceling off in Bluetooth mode).
The integrated microphone, noise-canceling button, and line input. Sarah Tew/CNET
The noise-canceling works pretty much and has three different modes according to your environment (FLIGHTS, Ambient Noise, and Ground Travel). However, it isn’t on the amount of Bose’s QuietComfort 25 , that is a dedicated noise-canceling headphone and does not have any Bluetooth. I also thought the headphones let in more ambient sound compared to the Beats Studio Wireless, which appears to get a somewhat tighter-sealing ear cups.
Cell-phone call quality was decent, too, if you do not get the dual microphones that the Beats Studio Wireless or Plantronics BackBeat Pro have. Having two microphones lets you hear your voice in the headphones as you speak.
Bluetooth sound quality is fairly good — for Bluetooth anyway — nonetheless it falls just a little short of everything you get from the most notable Bluetooth headphones out there, such as the Beats Wireless Studio and even Sony’s discontinued MDR-10RBT, that i liked a lot your money can buy and will be had for about $135 while it’s being eliminated.
Volulme and track controls on right ear cup. Sarah Tew/CNET
Why is MDR-ZX770 fall just a little short? Well, it sounds slightly duller and slightly more recessed compared to the Beats and in addition doesn’t play as loud. That isn’t a major factor indoors, however in the noisy streets of NY, I felt less linked with the music. The bass also isn’t quite as tight.
I take advantage of modifiers like “slightly” for reason. There’s is not a massive difference between this Sony and the Beats, plus some may prefer its more laid-back sound. I also thought it sounded an impression better after a break-in amount of 30 hours roughly.
Not everyone really wants to drop $350 on a set of wireless Bluetooth headphones with noise-canceling. Headphones including the Plantronics BackBeat Pro which Sony MDR-ZX770BN are quality alternatives that cost a lower amount than $250. For in-the-office use, the Plantronics could be the better option, but I favor this Sony for on-the-go use despite its devoid of nearly as good battery life as the Plantronics.
Sony’s $150 MDR-ZX770BT is quite such as this model, but doesn’t include noise-canceling. Unless you need that feature and so are just buying wireless headphone, that is the model to get. But if you wish both noise-canceling and Bluetooth — and do not want to spend up to $300 to get those features — the MDR-ZX770BN is obviously worth considering.