Sony WF-SP800N truly wireless noise cancelling sporty earbuds – review
Sony’s cheaper, longer battery, sportier and water resistant version of their flagship earbuds WF-1000XM3.
The WF-SP800N are a sportier, cheaper and newer alternative to the WF-1000XM3 while giving longer battery life and water resistance at the expense of sound quality and noise cancellation performance.
The earbuds are sleeker in design than other options from Sony, but still larger than a lot of the competition from the likes of AirPods, Google Pixel Buds and Jaybird Vistas. They come in black, white, blue and orange varients. Secure and comfortable fit for almost anyone, with optional arc support in two sizes, as well as four sizes of long hybrid silicone rubber earbuds. IP55 rating gives the buds water, sweat and dust resistance, making outdoor exercise in the rain or washing the earbuds easy. The bulky, hard-shell, protective case charges with USB-C and features an LED charging indicator. Unfortunately no wireless charging on the case. The case supplies the earbuds with one full charge. 9 hours out of the case with noise cancelling on, plus 9 additional hours in the case, and 13 hours out of the case with noise cancelling off, plus 13 additional hours in the case. Quick charging can give the earbuds 60 minutes of playback with noise cancelling from 10 minutes of charging. Out of the case battery performance is fantastic, but the bulky case could provide more extra life.
Sound quality and noise cancellation is good, but not at the same level as the flagship WF-1000XM3. Extra Bass gives the earbuds deep, powerful and punchy low-end, but some detail is lost when compared to the WF-1000XM3s or Powerbeats Pro.
Wireless bluetooth connection to only one device at a time. Sony are expected to add multiple pairing to their audio line-up, starting with the rumoured WH-1000XM4. Remove one earbud and the music with automatically pause. Taps and hold on each earbud’s touch sensor will control music, noise cancellation and the voice assistant. The glossy touch sensors are easy to feel with your finger. Hold one finger on the earbud to activate Quick Attention, bringing down the volume of music and up the ambient sound. Hands-free calling, with a tap to answer phone calls. Voice quality is average, not matching earbuds with long stems, such as AirPods.
Tweak the sound to exactly as you like it with the Headphones Connect app on iOS and Android. Support for Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Siri. Turn on Adaptive Sound Control in the app to automatically adjust your ambient sound preferences based on movement. The earbuds can switch between music only, music + voice, or music + ambient sound when standing still, walking, running or travelling. The feature doesn’t work too well and seems to change too often. Enable GPS access to change ambient mode based on location. Register areas such as the gym, park or office with different sound preferences. 360 Reality Audio gives a surround sound like experience on compatible platforms such as Tidal and Deezer. The effect is not as good as the WH1000XM3 headphones.
At $198 the WF-SP800N are currently selling for $30 less than the retail price of the top end WF-1000XM3 earbuds. As they’ve been around for one year now, the WF-1000XM3 can be found on sale quite often. If you’re less concered with sport features and after the best sounding earbuds with grade-A noise cancellation, the extra $30 may be worth it.
If you’re after a great pair of sporty earbuds with noise cancellation, these are the ones for you.
Also worth considering: