Sony WF-SP800N review: Wireless sports earbuds deliver a mostly winning combo

Sony’s WF-1000XM3 is considered 1 of the very best set of true wireless sounds-canceling earbuds. But to the dismay of some folks, it lacked any sort of water-resistance, earning it unsuitable for sporting activities. It took a when, but now we lastly have a new true wireless sounds-canceling sporting activities design from Sony: The WF-SP800N ($200, £180, AU$450).

Like

  • Quite superior seem with strong bass
  • Active sounds canceling and superior get in touch with excellent
  • IP55 water-resistant (splashproof and dustproof) and safe in good shape
  • Superb battery life (up to nine several hours with sounds canceling on)
  • Responsive touch controls

Don’t Like

  • Earbuds adhere out from your ears a fair quantity
  • Sound canceling and seem excellent usually are not fairly as superior as the WF-1000XM3’s
  • No XL eartips in the box

This is not fairly the WF-1000XM3 with a water-resistant body, nevertheless. It is really missing Sony’s QN1e processor, but there is certainly still a good deal to like about it and it really is absolutely a good up grade above the WF-SP700N, which arrived out in 2018. 

I gained the black edition but it also will come in a blue coloration and the design is sleeker than its predecessor’s. It also in good shape my ears a tiny better. That design experienced an IPX4 water-resistance ranking. This 1 is IP55, which signifies it really is dust resistant and can choose a sustained spray of water. 

The WF-1000XM3 (still left) in contrast to the new WF-SP800N.


David Carnoy/CNET

The scenario is equivalent to the 1000XM3’s but it does not really feel fairly as premium. I like its condition and in general seem better, and it is a little bit smaller sized. You are unable to stand it up on a flat floor and the major is not flat, so you have to just lay it down on its side. It did in good shape in my pocket good but of course there are a good deal of wireless earbuds out there with smaller sized instances. But it does not really feel gargantuan. 

You will find no wireless charging, just USB-C. You get nine several hours of battery life on a solitary demand and up to a whopping 13 several hours if you convert the sounds-canceling manner off. The scenario gives 1 whole more demand and a ten-moment swift charging gives you up to sixty minutes of songs playback. That’s outstanding for true wireless. By comparison, Samsung’s Galaxy Buds In addition produce about eleven several hours of battery life on a solitary demand. 

The buds them selves are a little bit heavier (about one gram) than the 1000XM3s and are similarly shaped. They adhere out from your ears a fair quantity, but they are comfy to don, even though they do weigh additional than your common true wireless earbuds. One of the most important design distinctions is that these appear with a couple of distinct sized stabilizing arcs, which aid lock the buds into your ears. The 1000XM3 in good shape my ears securely, but the sporting activities fins really feel like coverage. And they do the job nicely for operating: I went on two a few-mile operates with them without a issue. Simply because they adhere out a little bit, they can decide up some wind sounds on windy days, but a good deal of earbuds do that. 

The greater arc labored nicely for me, but I could not uncover an eartip between the a few dimensions that authorized me to get a tight seal so I experienced to set a set of my individual greater ideas on. I’ve explained to Sony many moments to incorporate more-big ideas for the compact percentage of folks who could possibly have to have them, but it hasn’t happened nonetheless. Maybe they’re going to appear with the rumored WF-1000XM4, each time that will come out.

The earbuds do adhere out from your ears but they are comfy to don.


David Carnoy/CNET

I’m griping about it mainly because if you don’t get a tight seal, the sounds-canceling truly does not do the job and they also don’t seem all that terrific mainly because you eliminate a good deal of bass. Rely on me, it really is evening and day with a tight seal.

These don’t seem fairly as superior or have as successful sounds canceling as the WF-1000XM3, but they are still strong on both fronts. They do have the similar motorists as the 1000XM3. But that’s where by that missing QN1e processor will come in: It plays a position in both sounds canceling and seem excellent with all the digital processing it does, so its absence in this article is noteworthy.

The 1000XM3 has both major-notch seem and major-notch sounds canceling — for true wireless anyway. The sounds canceling in this article is rather superior, but it really is just a tiny lighter (read through: not fairly as successful), which some folks who are sensitive to sounds canceling may possibly enjoy.

The scenario is a tiny smaller sized than the WF-1000XM3’s.


David Carnoy/CNET

As for the seem, this is technically a Sony ExtraBass design. And yeah, there is a tiny more bass — but it is not overpowering or bloated (it has decent definition). These don’t seem fairly as refined or sleek as the 1000XM3 but they are still outstanding sounding true wireless earbuds with dynamic bass, superior element and a rather wide soundstage. In limited, they are not significantly of a action down from the WF-1000XM3 from a seem standpoint — but it is a action.

They evaluate up nicely against other earbuds in the $150 to $200 assortment, only a few of which currently supply energetic sounds-canceling. But I would not say they outclass them. All those designs incorporate the Galaxy Buds In addition and Jabra Elite 75t, both of which I’ve rated a tad larger, partially mainly because they supply a additional discreet design. 

These have a sensor that is aware of when the buds are in your ears or not and pauses your songs when you choose them out. The touch controls labored nicely. You grab the bud on each and every side, then tap the proper bud to regulate monitor playback. Tapping the still left bud controls sounds-canceling settings, which include a transparency manner that allows seem in. That’s an important security feature if you want to be capable to listen to site visitors when you are out operating (Sony refers to this as “ambient seem manner” and its concentrations are adjustable in the application).

The earbuds also appear in blue.


Sony

Like the WF-1000XM3, if you tap and maintain the still left earbud you go into a swift recognition manner. Your songs pauses and you can listen to the outdoors globe and have a discussion. Allow go and it resumes. It is really a good tiny feature. 

Tap and maintain the proper earbud and you get your voice assistant of choice. These help your phone’s voice assistant together with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. They also do the job with Sony’s new 360 Fact Audio encompass seem audio format, offered with selected songs streaming services this kind of as Tidal, Deezer and Nugs.internet. 

What else? Properly, my wireless relationship was rather significantly rock strong (the older WF-SP700N’s wireless relationship was fairly the opposite). These use a Bluetooth 5. chip “borrowed from the WF-1000XM3,” according to Sony, and its engineers feel to have designed some development with get in touch with excellent mainly because these did a decent work lowering background sounds when I was on phone calls. The WF-1000XM3 experienced some troubles as a headset when they initially introduced but has improved subsequent firmware updates. In the end, these feel substantially better for voice phone calls at start than the WF-1000XM3 did when they introduced. 

The WF-SP800N back links to the similar Sony Link application for iOS and Android that other Sony headphones do. The application allows you to tweak the seem and set your tastes for sounds-canceling and ambient seem modes. It also allows you to update the earbuds’ firmware, which happens routinely and tends to supply tiny improvements to the earbuds above time.

There are some feature updates in the application worth noting. You can now pick your most loved settings primarily based on your exercise — say, operating — or spot. One spot is detailed as “office environment,” which regretably, lots of of us won’t see for a when.

Some folks like to be capable to Bluetooth pair their headphones to various gadgets, which include their phones, tablets and computer systems. You can wirelessly pair these with various gadgets, but you have to manually switch concerning them so there is certainly no multipoint pairing. Sorry.

That’s the WF-SP800N earbuds in a nutshell. They may possibly not be exceptional, but I favored them. They’re superior true wireless sporting activities buds that have pleasurable seem (especially if you like bass) and a strong feature set. I believe the only problem is that with all the opposition out there, they are a tiny high-priced at $200, which is what the WF-1000XM3 would seem to charge these days. I might like to see them additional in the $one hundred sixty to $a hundred seventy five assortment, but that’s me. I believe anything really should be a tiny less costly.