Sony, despite being one of the top brands in the personal audio space in India, took a while to finally launch the true wireless earphones here. I firmly believe that this form factor is the future of headphones, and global industry trends show that buyers are attracted by the convenience of being completely wire-free. While there are plenty of affordable options, Sony’s approach to this segment is, as expected, relatively expensive.
Today, we’re reviewing one of Sony’s newly launched true wireless products, the WF-SP800N, which is marketed as part of its sports range. Priced at Rs 18,990, these premium true wireless earphones are not as expensive as the Apple AirPods Pro and Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2, but they still offer active noise cancellation. Find out if these new true wireless earphones have what it takes to challenge our current top picks in the segment.
The Sony WF-SP800N is big and water resistant
The first thing I noticed about these earphones and the charging case is how big everything is. The earphones are significantly larger than most true wireless options, and therefore require ear hooks for a secure fit. This also means that there is a special way to put these earphones; You’ll have to twist a bit so that the ear ‘locks’ in place and you get a secure, noise-isolating fit. We’re quite used to premium options that are more compact, so the Sony WF-SP800N stands out a bit.
That said, it is a comfortable pair of earphones. The fit is fine, but the plastic used in the construction keeps the earpiece lightweight.
The Sony WF-SP800N earphones are IP55-rated for dust and water resistance; It’s not quite as impressive as the IP57 rating on the Jabra Elite Active 75t, which is available for a similar price, but it’s enough to protect the earphones from a fair amount of water and dust exposure. You should be able to go out in the rain safely with these earphones, and sweat shouldn’t be a problem.
The Sony WF-SP800N’s charging case is noticeably larger than that of any other true wireless earphones we’ve reviewed recently. It’s also weirdly curved at the bottom, so you can’t keep it straight anywhere; He has to lie on his side. There’s a USB Type-C port for charging on the bottom, and a light just below the lid that indicates when the earbuds are charging.
Similar lights on the earphones shine through the plastic casings and tell you if they’re charging, connected, or in pairing mode. The sales package includes four pairs of ear tips, two pairs of ear hooks, and a cable for charging the case.
The Sony WF-SP800N supports SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs, and has active noise cancellation as well as an ambient sound mode. There are also sensors on each of the earphones so that they can automatically play or pause music when they are inserted or removed.
The controls are touch-based, and there are touch-sensitive areas on each earphone. By default, tapping to the left cycles between ambient sound and active noise cancellation modes. As long as you keep your finger on the sensor, pressing and holding turns down the music volume to allow listening and listening. The right side controls playback (single-tap to play/pause; double-tap to next track; triple-tap for previous track) and you can invoke your phone’s voice assistant with a long-press by default can do.
These actions can be customized using the Sony Headphone Connect app (available for iOS And Android) You can choose volume control or detailed controls for Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, or you can deactivate each earphone’s sensor altogether. However, you can only set up a set of tasks on each side, so you’ll have to choose what’s most important to you. In my case, I stuck to the default configuration, but choosing between volume control and noise cancellation modes was a bit frustrating.
The app also lets you view the battery level and case of each earphone; It’s worth pointing out here that the case battery level is only updated every time the earphones are removed, and was generally not accurate for me.
You can also use the app to configure Adaptive Sound Control mode, which detects your surroundings based on your actions and locations so you can set noise cancellation and ambient sound modes to optimal levels. Although I didn’t use it often, I preferred to control those settings myself. The app includes equalizer, power control, and firmware updates, among many other settings and functions.
Battery life is something Sony has touted with its over-ear headphones, and it’s good to see that the company has gotten it right with these true wireless earphones as well. The earphones easily matched the company’s claims, lasting around ten hours per charge with mixed use and noise-canceling on most of the time. The charging case gave only one full charge to the earphones. It’s not a very impressive figure for the case, but once in a while the run time of the earphones more than makes up for it.
Lots of bass, good noise cancellation on the Sony WF-SP800N
I used the Sony WF-SP800N earphones with an Android smartphone for this review using the AAC codec. It’s a bit disappointing that these earphones don’t support the aptX or LDAC Bluetooth codecs. However, I was pleased with how aggressive and included the earphones were, albeit a bit lacking in terms of detail and harmony.
The headset carries Sony’s ‘Extra Bass’ branding, even though it’s not strictly part of the ‘Extra Bass’ category. Like all of Sony’s headphones and earphones, the WF-SP800N stays true to its advertised sound signature. The pair is tuned for strong, punchy bass, not necessarily taking anything away from the rest of the frequency range. Listening to Chopta by Malfunction and Erratic Sound, the earphones stepped up quickly with low-end drive and attack, and we were able to hear separation in the elements, along with a decent sense of direction in the sound.
However, the matter was a bit lacking in how clean the earphones sounded. While I loved the punchy and raw character of the sound, it took center-stage and defined the direction of the track. The faint detail could be heard with a distinct sense of the situation, but it required some attention to me to be able to enjoy it properly. The low-end definitely calls the shots here.
Switching to a higher-resolution audio track didn’t result in any significant improvement in sound. The state of the art by Gotye in the FLAC format was a bit more cohesive and less raw than those streamed using Spotify or YouTube Music, but the difference wasn’t as noticeable on the AirPods Pro or Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2. It’s here that support for higher-resolution Bluetooth codecs might have made the most of a difference, and Sony’s generally technical approach to audio fell a bit short.
While the active noise cancellation on the Sony WF-SP800N is good enough, the earphones manage to cut down on a fair amount of the droning sounds of a typical house. However, it’s not quite as impressive as the Apple AirPods Pro is capable of. The relative silence isn’t as harsh as I’m used to with the more effective noise cancellation of the Apple earphones.
Noise cancellation did help a bit when it came to being able to hear music a little more clearly, but these earphones are loud and not always needed for a sufficiently good listening experience. I imagine it would make a big difference in noisy environments, but it’s still not quite class-leading.
Voice calls were decent on the Sony WF-SP800N earphones; We had no complaints about sound quality on calls, though sounds were a bit loud at high volumes.
Sony’s first premium true wireless earphones in India impressed me for one major reason – the pricing. With punchy sound, functional active noise cancellation, a decent level of water and dust resistance, and good battery life, this pair of earphones offers flagship-grade features and specifications for significantly less than the Apple and Sennheiser Charge.
That said, there are some drawbacks here. The bulky earphones and case can turn off many potential buyers, and the sound quality isn’t quite as harmonious and well put together as the Sony WF-SP800N’s more capable competitors. If you have a flexible budget of Rs. 20,000, the Sony WF-SP800N is probably the best you can pick right now, especially if you like your music bass-heavy. If you can spend a little more, the Apple AirPods Pro and Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 would be worth considering instead.
worth: Rupee. 18,990
- comfortable, snug fit
- IP55 dust and water resistance
- good battery life
- good active noise cancellation
- punchy, aggressive sound
- Big earphones, heavy charging case
- the sound is not very cohesive
- no advanced bluetooth codec
Rating (out of 5)
- Design / Comfort: 4
- Audio Quality: 4
- Battery life: 4
- Value for money: 4
- Overall: 4
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