Sony MDR10RBT review: A wireless Bluetooth headphone that's a better deal than Beats

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The Good The Sony MDR-10RBT is a well-designed Bluetooth headphone, sounds good for the money, and is comfortable to wear. Battery life is rated at a solid 17 hours and the headphones come with a carrying case.

The Bad While the transport controls are well-placed and easy to operate, they're a little prone to accidental button pushes.

The Bottom Line The Sony MDR-10RBT gets you about 75 percent of the way to the Beats Studio Wireless for a lot less money.

8.0 Overall
  • Design 9
  • Features 8
  • Sound 8
  • Value 7

Beats currently makes one full-size wireless headphone, the Beats Studio Wireless . Sony, on the other hand, has a few different models to choose from, including the newly announced MDR-XB950BT and NWZ-WS613 . Herein, we're focusing on the MDR-10RBT, a more affordable over-the-ear wireless Bluetooth headphone that has a list price of $200 (£169 in the UK, or AU$300 in Australia), but can sometimes be had for less online (its price seems to fluctuate).

The first thing you'll notice about this headphone when you put it on is that it's pretty lightweight and very comfortable (build quality is good but not exceptionally so). It doesn't clamp down on your head too firmly and the earcups are nicely padded. It doesn't do a great job of passively sealing out sound, but it's not bad, and is well suited to office environments.

I like how Sony's done the controls. Both the volume switch and the raised rocker switch for advancing tracks forward and back are easy to operate by feel and the power button is clearly labeled and easy to find on the left earcup. On a small critical note, the raised rocker is so easy to operate that when a jacket or another piece of clothing bumps up against it, you might find that you've unwittingly jumped forward or back a track.

Extras include NFC tap-to-pair technology for phones that support it (many Android models), as well as Apt-X support. Battery life is rated at 17 hours, which is quite good, and a cable is included in case the battery dies or you just want to use the headphones in wired mode. As far as the flavor of Bluetooth goes, it's version 3.0.

The headphones charge via Micro-USB and like all of this types of headphone, there's an integrated microphone for making cell phone calls (call quality was decent). An inexpensive but useful carrying case is included. Weirdly, the flap doesn't seal the case shut, so you end up kind of having to tuck it in to close everything up. A bit of Velcro might have made for a more elegant solution.