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Sony MDR-ZX330BT review: Great Bluetooth 'phones for £50

Cliff Joseph
13 Oct 2016
Expert Reviews Recommended Logo
Price when reviewed 
50
inc VAT

Good sound quality and great battery life go together to create a cracking set of Bluetooth headphones

Pros 
30-hour battery life
Comfy to wear
Good sound quality
Cons 
Lightweight build
No wired option if battery runs out
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Battery life is always a problem with Bluetooth headphones, especially on long journeys when you just want to switch off and ignore the outside world for a few hours. That’s not going to be a problem with Sony’s MDR-ZX330BT, though. This affordable set of Bluetooth headphones boasts a marathon 30 hours of battery life – long enough to see you half-way around the world on a long plane flight.

READ NEXT: Our guide to the best wireless headphones you can buy

Design & comfort

Thankfully, the MDR-ZX330BT are also comfortable enough to be worn for long periods of time. Admittedly, the chunky plastic headband does make you look a bit like a Cyberman from Dr Who, but the earpieces – which sit directly on your ears – are comfortably padded, and the overall weight of just 150g means that you’ll barely notice you’re wearing them after a while.

All the controls are built into the right-hand earpiece, and the various buttons are large enough to find easily with your fingers when you want to adjust the volume or skip tracks. Bluetooth pairing was perfectly straightforward with both a laptop and a smartphone, and our only complaint is that the Forward/Back controls felt a bit clumsy. I found that I had to push the Play button backward in order to skip forward to the next track – and vice versa – which felt a bit strange when I was skipping through the test tracks on my playlists.

The earpieces also fold flat to save a little bit of space when you need to pack them away, but this is where the lightweight plastic construction of the headphones becomes something of a mixed blessing. They simply don’t feel very sturdy, and the swiveling hinges on the earpieces feel like a particular weak spot. I’d worry about shoving them in a backpack, or into an overhead luggage locker on a plane, and it’s a shame that the entry-level price tag couldn’t stretch to a protective carrying case. It’s also a little disappointing that the headphones don’t have a 3.5mm audio connector either, which would allow you to use them as conventional wired headphones when the battery does eventually run down.

Sound quality

Sound quality is good, though. You’re not going to get audiophile sound from a £50 set of headphones, and the mid-range and higher frequencies did tend to sound a little indistinct when listening at low volumes. But turn the volume up a little and the sound becomes much clearer, especially on higher pitched vocals, and the MDR-ZX330BT did a good job of bringing out all the detail in some of Queen’s densely layered harmonies. The bass tends to be a bit boomy and sluggish, so the MDR-ZX330BT might not be the best choice for fast-paced dance music, but they’ll be fine for most rock and pop.

Verdict

At their current price of £48, the MDR-ZX330BT are something of a steal. The sound quality is good, they’re comfy to wear, and impressive battery life means that they’ll keep going even when many more expensive headphones have given up the ghost.

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