Sony MDR-ZX300 Stereo Headphones Review
- Great bang for your buck
- Above-average sound quality
- Stylish design
- Very thin and small earpads
- Lack of passive noise isolation
Despite our dislike of the thin, plasticky headpads, the Sony MDR-ZX300 are still deliver superb value and perform well above their price range. Their small size makes them perfect for people who commute to work or school or for listeners who are fine with giving their ears a few minutes of rest every now and then.
When Sony released the Sony MDR-ZX100 headphones and priced them at just a little under $20 thousands of customers found their new favorite pair of budget headphones. The MDR-ZX100 delivered astonishing value, but as time went on, they started to look a bit dated and even cheap.
In recognition of this, Sony released the MDR-ZX300, a premium version of the MDR-ZX100 with a stylish design and the same remarkable sound quality that can easily stand against headphones that are several times as expensive.
Build and Design
The MDR-ZX300 are supposedly available in four different colors (blue, white, black, and red), but the red version and the black version seem to be what most retailers focus on and what most customers want. In terms of design, the main difference between the MDR-ZX100 is the fact that the earcups now sport a stylish metallic finish with Sony’s logo.
The small piece of metal added only a negligible weight, so the MDR-ZX300 are still very light and highly suitable for traveling. Despite the obviously plastic construction, the headphones seem durable and fully able to withstand heavy, daily use. The earcups themselves are quite small, so you won’t look like a dork when you carry them around your neck.
Unfortunately, the earpads are just as compact. The plastic leather pads completely flatten as soon as you put the headphones on your ears, making it difficult to use the headphones for more than just a few hours at a time.
At least, the non-removable cord is thick and highly resistant to tangling. Throw these headphones in your backpack, leave them there for a few days while you go about your business, and, when you finally take them out, the cord will likely be ready to go.
The Sony MDR-ZX300 are closed, supra-aural headphones with 30mm neodymium magnet drivers and 10 – 24,000 Hz frequency response. Technical specifications like this hardly ever tell the true story, even though they might be interesting to study.
What does tell the true story, though, is a real-life listening test. The MDR-ZX300 surprised us with the high quality of their sound, clear mids, and very deep bass. So many budget headphones are muddy and obscure all finer details that the clarity of the Sony’s budget offering really stands out.
The only negative thing we have to say about their sound is, again, related to the underwhelming earpads. The lack of proper memory foam padding that you find in more expensive headphones from the company means that people around you will hear what you listen to and vice-versa.
What’s in the Box?
The Sony MDR-ZX300 are shipped in a clear plastic box that lets you see everything that’s inside, which is to say nothing at all besides the headphones themselves and a brief manual. However, expecting anything more for from a pair of entry-level headphones wouldn’t really be fair, would it?