When it comes to listening to music on the go, it matters very little whether you’re listening to an iPod or a smartphone, or if you’re listening to the Bon Jovi or Justin Bieber. But what does matter, are the headphones you’re using. There are countless manufacturers out there to choose from, as well as hundreds of different variations in size and style. There are of course those that prefer an alternate route; to break free from the hassle and tangle of regular wired headphones and embrace the true freedom offered by wireless headphones. Sony’s latest offering in the form of the MDR-1RBT aims to be your headset of choice, and sure enough it just might become my favorite pick for wireless headphones.
The Sony MDR-1RBT look great from the very moment you lift them delicately from their package. Two large ear cups are bordered by a thin, red, metallic finish, and joined together by a flexible and stylishly designed headband. Both the ear cups and headband are covered in black padded leather, and make the headphones extremely comfortable to wear even for longer periods.
The left ear cup is where you’ll find the power button as well as a micro-USB port for charging. There’s also a 3.5mm audio input port, which lets you plug in a standard audio cable to transform the Sony MDR-1RBT into a traditional wired headset. On the right ear cup you have controls for answering an incoming call, track navigation, and volume control. There’s also a button for the Sony MDR-1RBT’s most unique feature – NFC.
Thanks to the Sony MDR-1RBT’s NFC chip, pairing these headphones with most modern smartphones is a breeze. Simply tap your smartphone against the right cup, and a prompt will let you confirm the pairing. If you don’t have an NFC-equipped device, then you can connect to it easily by searching for a Bluetooth signal. And of course, you can plug in a cable to turn the Sony MDR-1RBT into a standard wired headset – but where’s the fun in that?
While the Sony MDR-1RBT may dazzle you with its looks and fancy NFC connectivity, its star power clearly resides in its audio quality. It’s been a while since I’ve listened to a pair of headphones that offered such impressive sound. I started off slowly as I usually do with some classical pieces, which were reproduced absolutely flawlessly. Every cymbal crash, every piano key, and every violin was heard in pristine quality, and cranking up the volume certainly made me feel like I was standing right in the middle of a full-piece orchestra. I switched over to a few pop and dance tracks that were a mix of vocals and bass. Vocals sounded very clear and crisp, and while the bass on the Sony MDR-1RBT might not be as eardrum-shattering as some audiophiles may like, it’s nevertheless deep enough to enjoy whatever music you’re throwing at it. And given that the Sony MDR-1RBT has such comfortable padding, I had no issues at all wearing these to watch a movie on my laptop – that’s nearly 2 hours without adjusting them or feeling any kind of discomfort of them pressing against my glasses.
When paired with a smartphone, the Sony MDR-1RBT also makes an excellent handsfree device. Getting a call while out for a short walk? No worries at all – the Sony MDR-1RBT’s inbuilt microphone is excellent at picking up your voice, even thought there’s no visible microphone with the exception of a tiny hole on the left ear cup. Even voice commands were picked up clearly, both on my BlackBerry Z10 and my Nexus phones.
Sony quotes the battery life of the Sony MDR-1RBT at about thirty hours on a full charge, but with my sporadic use I was able to get about three days of use out of it, using them both as wireless headphones and for receiving phone calls. That’s more that enough juice for most of us, the only downside being that there’s no battery indicator present, so you don’t know how much of battery life you’ve got in your headphones until it might be a bit too late.
The Sony MDR-1RBT is an exceptional piece of audio equipment, and anyone looking for a comfortable set of headphones that deliver exceptional sound quality needs to look no further. While they may be priced a bit higher than certain headphones we’ve seen, the sheer pleasure you’ll get out of wearing one of these is certainly worth the investment.