Sony’s new AirPods rivals are just $129 — and have nearly double the battery life

Sony WF-XB700
(Image credit: Sony)

Sony just announced the WF-XB700 wireless earbuds, which look like a compelling (and more affordable) alternative to spending $160 on Apple AirPods

Their two biggest features, though, help them stand out against Apple even more. The WF-XB700 buds offer 4 more hours of battery life than the AirPods (without their case), and Sony's earbuds offer water-resistance, whereas Apple's kept that feature exclusive to its pricier AirPods Pro.

Of course, we'll need to test their sound quality and fit before we're ready to put a proverbial crown on the Sony WF-XB700. But here's what you get for the money.

Sony WF-XB700 price and availability

The Sony WF-XB700 earbuds are priced to move, at $129. That's $30 less than Apple AirPods, and also less than the Jabra Elite Active 65t and Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus.

While they're supposed to be available now, Sony's site does not offer any retailers, instead saying "We couldn't find any online sellers for this product." They're not on Amazon or Best Buy yet, either. CNET reports they should be available to pre-order this month.

Sony WF-XB700 battery life

The Sony WF-XB700's are rated for 9 hours of battery life on a single charge, and their charging/carrying case adds another 9 hours on, for a total of 18 hours of playback.

Bud vs bud, the WF-XB700s last 4 hours longer than the 5 hours that Apple's AirPods are rated fo. However, when you factor in the charging carrying cases, the AirPods' rating of more than 24 hours beats Sony's 18 hours.

10 minutes of quick charging should give you 60 minutes of audio playback.

Sony WF-XB700 features

The XB in the Sony WF-XB700 probably stands for the "Extra Bass" that Sony is prominently touting, on their site, which reads "Truly wireless style meets deep, punchy EXTRA BASS sound."

An IPX4 water and sweat resistance rating means these buds are safe when it comes to splashes of liquids — making them a contender for our best sport headphones list — as well as giving you some assurances for if you ever get caught in the rain.

Each bud connects to your smartphone separately, and they use Bluetooth 5.0 for more stable connections. Buttons on each bud allow you to perform playback controls, and the WF-XB700 also support voice assistant commands.

The Sony WF-XB700 will be sold in both black and blue colorways. Sony also boasts of an "ergonomic tri-hold structure" for in-ear stability.

Sony WF-XB700 missing features

If you're looking to block out noise with active noise cancelling (ANC), you're going to need to look elsewhere (such as the Apple AirPods Pro or the Sony WF-1000XM3).

Sony WF-XB700 outlook

Overall, the Sony WF-XB700 looks like it will be a strong challenger to both the AirPods and the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus. We look forward to putting these wireless earbuds to the test to see if they live up to Sony's claims.

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.