Sony’s MDR-XB650BT looks like almost any other headphone in the MDR series – big and boxy – but what sets it apart from the others is its Bluetooth connectivity.
The message in large letters on the XB650BT’s box tells you of another feature that sets these headphones apart from others: “Extra Bass”.
The XB650BT comes in several colours but the one supplied by Sony for this review was in standard issue black, and came with few accessories in the box – just a USB cable for charging and two leaflets.
After charging the headphones, I switched them on and tried to pair them with the two smartphones I’m currently using, including a Sony Xperia. After several minutes of fiddling with the power button on the right ear cup, I had no success at all.
Which sent me back to the leaflets in the box, and after carefully studying one of them – which contains only images and no text – I realised I had to press the power button for seven seconds before the headphone would show up on nearby smartphones for pairing.
Once the headphone was paired with the Sony Xperia, I had no problems playing music and taking calls.
As someone who wears glasses, I’m not a fan of on-ear headphones because the cups begin pressing down on the temples or arms of the spectacles after some time. This happened with the XB650BT too.
The sound of these headphones is exactly as described on the box – extra bass. There is a significant bump in the low end and mid lows, which is pretty okay if you’re out and about in a noisy environment and want the music coming in loud and clear.
If you’re looking for headphones for critical listening in a noise-free environment, the XB650BT may not be the perfect choice.
The sound overall was inoffensive, once you get past the bass bump, with a good mix of sibilance-free highs and clear midrange.
Sony’s implementation of Bluetooth too leaves a little to be desired – I experienced quite a few dropouts even when the headphones were less than three feet away from the smartphone and in clear line of sight. The sound cut out completely when I stepped a few feet away from the smartphone though Sony lists a maximum communication range of 10 metres in line of sight.
Battery life was good with a single charge of about four hours lasting for several days with a few hours of listening every day. If the battery runs out in the middle of a listening session, you’ll be left without music because Sony hasn’t provided any way of connecting these headphones with a wire.
With a price of Rs 7,990, the XB650BT is more reasonably placed than headphones with similar features.
Driver unit: 30mm
Frequency range: 100 Hz – 4,000 Hz
Weight: 190 gm
Supported codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX