Sony Xperia Ear Duo earphones hands-on: always aware of your surroundings1
Well, that certainly took some time, but Sony’s unconventional-looking headset concept is finally a reality and available for purchase. The Sony Xperia Ear Duo, technically a true wireless solution, isn’t your typical pair of earbuds/headphones. Not only do they feature an uncanny design, but their focus is on keeping users in tune with their surroundings – rather than shielding their ears from the outside world. But at a price point of $279.99, this set of earphones is undeniably pricey considering the cost of other truly wireless audio solutions.
One look at the Sony Xperia Ear Duo is enough to tell that the design takes a totally different route than other headsets. When they’re worn, they can easily be mistaken for hearing aids, especially with how they wrap around under the ear, but the design is purposeful. Still, we have to admit that they’re not the most convenient to put on – just because there’s a specific way of doing that. Even after trying them out several times, there’s no quick and easy way to fasten them. However, once they’re properly on, we’re surprised by how well they stay firmly in place.
Yes, they’re a pair of truly wireless earphones, but their purpose is different from the vast majority you’re probably familiar with. For starters, the open ear design is meant to allow ambient noise to enter your ears – so you’re aware of your surroundings while listening to music. And we have to admit, they do exactly just that, allowing us to be aware of what’s going around us. It’s kind of tough to describe, but it’s like as though music is being played through a nearby speaker, but in reality, it’s right there in our ear.
As for the quality, it’s clear for the most part, but if you’re expecting something that’ll focus on the lower audio ranges for some serious beats, you’ll want to look elsewhere. Instead, the Sony Xperia Ear Duo delivers a very neutral audio performance that’s meant to be more complementary. Again, the premise here is to keep our focus on our surroundings. In addition, there’s a smart assistance feature using the Sony Xperia Ear Duo app (for Android, in our case), which announces useful tips, notifications, and other activities. It’s really not trying to replace other personal digital assistant services, but rather, to complement them.
Slapped with a sticker price of $279.99, the Sony Xperia Ear Duo is certainly going to be an involved investment for most people. In fact, these earphones cost significantly more than other truly wireless solutions out there, but bear in mind that they have a specific purpose – to let you enjoy your music while also being perfectly aware of the world around you.