It's hard to understand why Sony is not currently better positioned to threaten Apple's crushing dominance
in the thriving "true wireless hearables" market
, ranking fifth in Q4 2019 global revenue while failing to seize a top ten spot in shipments.
It's certainly not for lack of trying, as the Japan-based tech giant sells no less than five different AirPods
alternatives in the US at the time of this writing, ranging in recommended price from $129.99
to $229.99. The newest addition to this extensive true wireless audio lineup costs $199.99, already going up for pre-order on Amazon in black, blue, and orange colors ahead of a May 31 release date.
Formally unveiled earlier today, the Sony WF-SP800N "headphones for sports" follow in the footsteps of the $129.99 WF-SP700N model while going straight for the Beats Powerbeats Pro
's jugular. Interestingly, these "mid-range" bad boys look way more similar to the high-end WF-1000XM3
than their own forerunners, which also makes them more adequate for multi-purpose and multi-environment use than the aforementioned Powerbeats Pro.
Otherwise put, the WF-SP800N true wireless earbuds
come with all of the best fitness-friendly features but a not-very-sporty design that should go largely unnoticed both at the gym and the office. Best of all, you get active noise cancellation (ANC) technology at a lower price than the AirPods Pro
and WF-1000XM3. Also, IP55 water resistance and up to a solid 18 hours of battery life.
That's obviously if you take the charging case into consideration, while if you don't, you're looking at 9 hours of uninterrupted use on a single charge. In case you're wondering, the Powerbeats Pro boast 9 and 24-hour battery life ratings respectively, but if you turn off the noise-cancelling functionality on the Sony WF-SP800N, the aforementioned numbers go all the way up to 13 and 26 hours of continuous play time respectively.
Speaking of the ANC feature, you should also know these cool new true wireless earbuds can automatically adjust to your surroundings with a technology dubbed Adaptive Sound Control, promising to change your ambient sound settings whenever detecting a new environment and activity without you having to lift a finger to get the best possible listening experience while staying connected to what happens around you.
The Sony WF-SP800N have Extra Bass functionality and intuitive touch controls going for them as well, not to mention a "soft-cushioned arc supporter and three-dimensional curved design" for a secure, comfortable fit in any environment. While something tells us the WF-1000XM3 are likely to sound better and maybe offer a superior ANC experience, these $200 headphones look like the best of both the fitness and "professional" worlds, at least on paper.