The sector of true wireless earbuds with ANC (lively noise cancellation) continues to be comparatively new, however Apple’s AirPods Pro aren’t the one sport on the town. Sony’s WF-SP800N earphones supply stable ANC and several other different options that must put them on the radar of any potential Airpods Professional patrons. At $200, the wire-free in-ears are geared toward health club goers and runners, with a greater water-resistance ranking than the AirPods and a super-secure match. A companion app gives user-adjustable EQ, along with built-in assist for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Throw in one of the best battery life we have seen on this class but, and the you get a incredible worth that does not fairly unseat the AirPods as our Editors’ Selection.
Obtainable in black or blue (with orange and white fashions within the works), the chunky earpieces really feel like they really have some weight to them, however they arrive outfitted with earfins to assist stabilize the match. The in-ear match is comfy and safe, perfect for the health club or jogging. We’ve seen greater IP ratings for water resistance, however the WF-SP800N’s IP55 ranking is powerful sufficient to guard in opposition to mud and water projected from any route, so rain and sweat will not be a difficulty. Sony contains 4 pairs of silicone eartips, two pairs of earfins, and a USB-C-to-USB-A charging cable (there’s a USB-C port on the again panel of the charging case).
A single faucet on the touch-sensitive floor of the left ear’s outer panel cycles via ANC modes. The precise ear’s panel handles playback, observe navigation, and name administration, relying on what number of instances you faucet. There’s no quantity management on the earpieces. Tapping and holding on the proper ear will default to summoning Siri on iOS gadgets, however the earphones could be programmed to work with Alexa or Google Assistant. Setting them up is straightforward, after which a easy left ear faucet summons Alexa, for example—however this replaces the biking via of ANC features. You possibly can restore these to the proper ear, however then you definately lose playback controls, so there’s a little bit of sacrifice to including Alexa or Google Assistant management. On the plus aspect, Alexa had no points listening to our instructions as soon as we set it up.
The Sony Headphones Join app presents loads of superfluous options like 360 Actuality Audio (which guarantees an audio expertise “as actual as a stay efficiency”), but it surely additionally brings various genuinely helpful features. As an example, a five-band EQ means that you can customise audio settings or select from an inventory of presets.
The app’s method to ANC (labeled Ambient Sound Management) can be helpful. When it’s on, there’s solely a single slider: far left is full ANC mode, whereas far proper is full monitor mode (which lets you hear your environment), and you may mix the 2 by setting the slider wherever in between. For audio, the earphones join through Bluetooth 5.0, and assist AAC and SBC codecs, however not AptX.
The charging case is sort of giant in contrast with the competitors. It has a flip-top lid and a front-facing standing LED. And surprisingly, it solely delivers a single additional full cost, which at first looks as if a bummer till you understand the earphones themselves have one of the best battery life we have seen on this class to this point. Sony estimates battery life to be roughly 9 hours with ANC on, or a very spectacular 13 hours with it off, which is round double what most wire-free in-ears declare. Remember that these numbers will even fluctuate primarily based in your quantity ranges.
Sony’s WF-SP800N charging case (left) is rather a lot larger than the one which homes the AirPods Professional (proper)
The earphones ship robust ANC efficiency. At most power, it does a stable job of tamping down highly effective low frequencies just like the rumble of a practice or a aircraft, and likewise manages to get rid of a large swath of mids (somebody talking within the subsequent room can be heard, however the voice can be whittled right down to the upper frequencies). There’s some faint added high-frequency hiss (akin to white noise), which is fairly frequent in most ANC fashions and never a deal breaker.
As talked about, you should use the app to dial in your most popular mixture of ambient room noise and ANC, selecting all of 1 or the opposite, and any combine in-between. The monitor mode is beneficial and efficient, and you too can decide to show each ANC and monitor mode off.
The mic presents respectable intelligibility. Utilizing the Voice Memos app on an iPhone 8, we had been in a position to perceive each phrase we recorded, however there was typical Bluetooth distortion across the edges. The mic degree was robust, nevertheless, so whereas the intelligibility isn’t superb, the sign isn’t faint.
On tracks with intense sub-bass content material, like The Knife’s “Silent Shout,” the earphones ship highly effective low-frequency response. At prime, unwise listening ranges, the bass doesn’t distort, and at extra average listening ranges, it’s nonetheless fairly intense. Lovers of deep bass can be happy, and people who need stability with their bass ought to be as properly, because the highs are additionally fairly sculpted.
Invoice Callahan’s “Drover,” a observe with far much less deep bass within the combine, provides us a greater sense of the WF-SP800N’s basic sound signature. The drums on this observe pack some added bass depth, however they don’t veer into unnaturally thunderous territory. Callahan’s baritone vocals obtain loads of low-mid richness, but in addition an excellent quantity of high-mid presence to maintain them crisp. The acoustic guitar strums and higher-register percussion additionally profit from sculpting within the high-mids and highs. This is not essentially an correct sound signature, however the boosting is balanced between lows and highs—and, in fact, you may modify it with the in-app EQ.
On Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “No Church within the Wild,” the kick drum loop receives sufficient high-mid presence for the assault to retain its punchy presence, but it surely might use a touch extra on this division. The vinyl hiss and crackle that’s normally relegated to background standing, nevertheless, takes a step ahead within the combine, so we’ve got a little bit extra high-frequency than high-mid boosting, however the sound signature continues to be crisp and outlined. The sub-bass synth hits that punctuate the beat are delivered with highly effective depth, whereas the vocals are delivered with wonderful element and no added sibilance.
Orchestral tracks, just like the opening scene from John Adams’ The Gospel Based on the Different Mary, get an additional serving to of bass response, which brings the lower-register instrumentation ahead within the combine considerably, however to not an awesome diploma. The upper-register brass, strings, and vocals are delivered with wonderful high-mid and high-frequency readability and presence. The lows could also be dialed up, however they don’t upset the combination’s stability.
Sony’s WF-SP800N earphones get many issues proper, together with highly effective audio efficiency with full bass depth (and EQ to regulate it), a stable water-resistance ranking, a safe in-ear match, and robust ANC efficiency for the worth. This makes them an attractive different to the Apple AirPods Professional. We nonetheless barely give slight desire to the AirPods for his or her sleeker design and superior noise cancellation efficiency, however in the event you’re searching for a pair higher suited to use on the health club, the WF-SP800N are price contemplating. We’re additionally followers of the $150 JBL UA True Wireless Flash and the $200 Jabra Elite Active 75t to be used on the health club, however neither presents noise cancellation.
The Backside Line
Stable noise cancellation, highly effective audio efficiency, and a water resistant construct make the Sony WF-SP800N a powerful contender on this value vary
Sony WF-SP800N Specs
|Lively Noise Cancellation||Sure|
Greatest Headphone Picks
Headphone Product Comparisons