Technophile

Excellently tuned sound for sport on the Sony WF SP800N

Mala Bhargava | Updated on June 27, 2020 Published on June 27, 2020

If these rather large earbuds fit you well, you’ve got a good thing with premium features and some active noise cancellation

The Sony WF SP800N true wireless earbuds come out of a case that happens to be unusually large. Ours was a beautiful shade of blue and looked very interesting, but definitely outsized. Putting it into a pocket will result in a visible bulge. It’s made of a hard plastic with a matte finish which won’t get easily dirty, which is nice. But Sony chose to make the bottom of the case all rounded, which means if you try to stand it up, it will try its best to flop on its side. But these are minor points.

On the inside, the blue earbuds are sitting in place held firmly by magnets. Turning the case upside down won’t spill the buds out. They could however spill out of your ears. The earbuds themselves are, like their case, also on the large side. Fit is going to be very variable for these. I found they didn’t want to fit me so I put in the smallest of the provided ear-tips and even discarded the silicone arches that are meant to balance the earbuds. Things improved then but I had one bud feeling more secure than the other and both gradually sliding out. A good fit will be critical to the experience with these earbuds, both for them to sound like they’re supposed to and for noise cancellation, so one will need to experiment, specially as these are meant for workouts and need to be secure and not on the verge of tumbling out.

I found people reporting different experiences with the fit with some saying it was amazing with no tinkering and others saying they couldn’t quite make their peace with it or wear it for a long time. A lot of sports earbuds are in this category for some reason.

Top-end features

These earbuds don’t skimp on the top-end features that make an audio device premium. They have an IP55 water resistance rating, more than is usual. They support quick charge and in any case have a 9-hour battery life with an additional 9-hour charge from the case.

They have touch controls - though I find these a slight nuisance because every time you try to adjust the buds in your ears, the music goes off or the assistant comes on or noise cancellation status changes. Various numbers of taps are used to trigger actions from the surface of the earbuds, but I’ve never liked the sound they send through your ear. But, on top of these premium features, the WF SP800N have excellent sound quality and some amount of active noise cancellation.

These earbuds pair easily and quickly and also reconnect when needed, quickly. They can be used one ear at a time for calls. Calls sound clear.

Downloading the Sony Headphones Connect app is highly recommended as you get a bunch of controls for sound, status and system there including a fit test and most of all, there’s the equaliser with presets and custom settings that you can save. The presets make a discernible difference to the sound. The app lets you do a lot including setting your virtual assistant, which includes Alexa.

Delightful sound quality

Sound quality is really delightful. There’s a nice amount of bass which comes through naturally and not forced or overly boosted. The highs and mids are clear and present in an open soundstage. You might even say the quality is overkill for just workouts, but then a long hike is also a workout. I don’t doubt users will want to use these in general for music listening at non workout times. The sound is clean and clear and really pleasant.

Noise cancellation is of the active variety. Adaptive sound control can smartly change noise cancellation depending on where you are. Ambient sound control lets you tune into voices and other relevant sounds, both from the buds and from the app. The noise cancellation is modest at best, not as strong as seen on higher-end earphones and headphones.

If you’re lucky with the fit for these earbuds, you’ve got a good deal because of the sound quality and the top-end features. But if you’re looking for extreme noise cancellation, this may not be the earbuds you need. Of course, they’re meant for sports and fitness not total silence when out and about.

Price: ₹18,990

Pros: Delightful sound quality, strong battery life with quick charge, water resistance, modest noise cancellation, good support from app, touch controls and adaptive sound control

Cons: Variable fit with buds falling out for some people, large case may be awkward in pockets, 360 audio not much use

Published on June 27, 2020
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