Overall Review + Comparison to Jaybird Vista (and others)
Avaliado nos Estados Unidos em 31 de maio de 2020
I'm an earbud geek, probably a product of both working out frequently (running + cycling) and from working at home while wrangling small kids. I've primarily used a pair of truly wireless Jaybird Vista earbuds as my favorite blend of good for workouts plus 'good enough' for phone calls for the last year... though I also have a pair of Bose wired earbuds (SoundSport), Bowers & Wilkins P13 wired earbuds, plus a few much cheaper off brand pairs that I'll sometimes grab for phone calls. These Sony WF-SP800N are my new favorite earbuds across the board.
SETUP & SONY APP: Fine -- but nothing to write home about. I initially followed the instructions which tells you to open the Sony Headphone app and pair the earbuds there, but while the app saw the earbuds, it gave an error trying to pair them to my phone. Ignoring the instructions and just pairing them the normal way through my phone's bluetooth setting worked immediately and the connection since has been very strong (no drops, and good consistent connection even when I leave my phone downstairs and go upstairs to grab something). Overall the Sony app is ok; it allows for some sound mix customization and has more features than the Jaybird earbud app, but that's a low bar (the Jaybird app is truly bad). The one feature in the Sony app is that's particularly cool is that you can set a baseline amount of ambient noise for different activities: sitting, walking, running, and commute. Since I have young (read: noisy) kids at home, I put the ambient sound control level higher than the usual default for sitting. You do have to enable location detection in order for the earbuds to decide whether you're sitting/running/etc -- or at a location like the gym where you can also specify custom setting by location -- so for those with privacy concerns, you might turn off location detection and thus lose those features. One slight knock on these earbuds is that you can pair bluetooth to multiple devices, but you have to manually switch connections so there isn't a multi-point connection option.
CONTROLS: Mostly very good. I love that the left and right earbuds can be independently set to cover different areas of control, i.e. as an example you can set one earbud to switch between Ambient Sound Control on/off and Noise Cancelling on/off while the other earbud controls music (pause, forward, back, etc). Besides being able to choose separate controls for each earbud, there are also a lot of types of controls you can assign through the app: Ambient Sound Control, Playback Control, Volume Control, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, or none. The only thing that keeps these from being excellent is a personal preference, but it annoys me a bit that the controls are activated by brushing your finger on the earbud's control area, you don't actually push a button in. Once in awhile if I adjust my long hair to be out of my face or to pull it back, or am sweaty during exercise and towel off my face, my hands will brush the earbuds and trigger the controls. Not a deal breaker for me since it doesn't happen often, but it's one area where I prefer my Jaybird Vistas since they have an actual button you depress to trigger the controls. There are also a couple default controls that I found a little annoying and turned off in the app: example, if you remove an earbud it pauses the music automatically. All of those features are easy to turn on/off in the app though, so overall the flexibility of controls is excellent, with the control sensitivity being the only "un-fixable" annoyance.
SOUND: The sound on these Sony earbuds is excellent overall and fantastic when compared to other truly wireless earbuds. They're nearly as good as a pair of over-ear Master & Dynamic MW65 earphones we have that are much more expensive ($499). I don't think any wireless earbuds can truly best over-ear headphones, but these come close. I thought the sound on my Jaybird Vistas was very good, but the Sonys have a better sound blend and also enable you to simply hear better because of the Ambient & Noise Cancelling features (neither of which the Jaybird Vistas have). The Noise Cancelling is excellent for earbuds, but it isn't perfect; if you're frequently on an airplane and want super strong noise cancelling, then I'd recommend some other options for over-ear headphones (or some of the wired earbuds like Bowers & Wilkins PI3 which is a similar price point to these Sonys; the noise cancelling is better on the B&W, but they have heavy cord controls and don't work at all for exercise). For wireless earbuds that pair functionality with overall excellent sound, the Sonys are the best I've come across. Phone calls also have very good sound, and I've had zero issues with dropped calls so far.
COMFORT & BATTERY: I love the fit of these. My ears do best with earfins, which Jaybird Vista also has. This might not be for everyone, but it's the only type I've found that will stay flawlessly in my ears during sweaty workouts. These are a bit bigger in size than my Jaybirds but feel light and comfortable in my ears, and stayed in fine even during intense workouts running outside and on our Peloton. The battery is also very good. In theory the earbuds have 9 hours of playback with noise cancelling on and 13 without -- mine didn't last quite that long, which is understandable since I was frequently using the music controls, but I got close to 8 hours with noise cancelling on. The case provides another full charge worth of battery life. The case itself is frankly not amazing. It's bulky, considerably larger than the jaybird vista case, and is a weird oblong shape that doesn't fit comfortably in any sort of pocket.
OVERALL: In any one category (noise cancelling, sound, battery life) you could probably find another brand that performs a bit better in that single category. But for truly wireless earbuds that are utility players across all the categories, these are my favorite by far. I find myself reaching for these for multi-hour Zoom work sessions as well as tough workouts or just around the house while I do chores. Great overall functionality and a nice value at the price point.
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