True Wireless Headphones, noise cancelling, whats not to love?
I have never been one for TWS headphones, my first being some cheap headphones from china. This purchase, however, was well worth it. Lets start with a overview.
The buds themselves have a single touch sensitive button. It doesn't note movement, just if you tap it. The Sony app (Sony Headphones) is a decent, clunky app to control what the button does on what ear. I get more into that later. The ear bud has a hole for a microphone, three metal prongs for charging, and a long ear stem. Sony recommends twisting into ear, good call as it is the best way to get it in. The charging case has a rounded bottom with a usb-c charging port, flat hinged door, and its a weird design. You would think that you would flatten the part that holds the door upward so you can set it down and pull out the buds. Nope, the buds are flat on the table and the charge port sits high. You open the door to find the NFC logo, two buds, and L and R indicator for where the buds go. Simple. The buds hold a rated 5 hours (4.7 in my testing) and the case holds a few charges and charges quickly at that. 70% to %100 was about 20 minutes. Nothing to complain about with the design yet.
The app, I want to get this out of the way. While it works, I had to reinstall it twice in the first day I had them. I have a iPhone, disclaimer. I found that I needed to open the app prior to putting the buds in my ear. You can control eq, what the buttons do, music control, ANC and ambient sound control, and more. Its a nice app, when it works. Every "card" needs to be opened by clicking the arrow to open the card, which feels distracting. Their special DSEE HX thing is weird and didn't seem to affect anything. The eq is almost a must, wait for the sound section for more detail. The app isn't available on Windows, but Windows eq fixes that if you use it with PC.
Now for the sound. I like the sound, very much so. If this is your first review, you know I like to listen to music with heavy mid to treble sections and like to turn down the bass. I felt that I didn't need to turn down the bass, but some genres were too much (metal mostly, some EDM too). I like the "Sony" sound, these are by no means my first Sony audio equipment. But I feel that Sony knows their market and knows that their DSP is damn good. Listening to "(Nothing But) Flowers" by Talking Heads shows the best of these earbuds. Those bongos sounds amazing, just as good as my Aivas and better than my similarly priced HD650. Metal sounds good, but the bass can be overwhelming on industrial tracks. The sound stage is weird too. I'd say its three feet in any direction. I feel that the guitar in Talking Heads is just beyond my fingertips at all times, about 3 feet away. Jazz ensembles are somewhat easy to pick up where each instrument is, most of the time. Its harder with remastered studio tracks. I'd say its a good sound stage and I am happy with them.
Now the ANC control. The last pair of noise cancelling headphones I had were Bose in 2008, and these kick its ass. I wore these on a heavy truck ride in one ear, I couldn't hear the engine nor road noise at all in that ear. It disoriented my hearing after I took it out, but I figure that's normal. It makes it quiet enough to listen to audio books in a loud environment. Its also good enough to block out my PC fans even when they ramp up, bonus!
So what do I not like? The app, the automated ambient sound control, and the DSP. The app needs work, and considering it works with all the newer Sony headphones it should be better. Its close, just needs some polish. The Auto ambient sound control is weird and unnecessary. I turned it off after a single day. Then, the DSP. The DSP changes between ANC and ANC off. Its better with the ANC on, trust me.
At $230, I feel that these are the best ANC and TWS Earbuds on the market (with a sample size of three. These, china knockoffs, and Mpows.)
(photos are from Google Images. I purchased these headphones myself. Sony did not ask for a review nor paid me for my time. Sadly...)