Sony XB80BS

The Sony XB80BS dons the ‘XB’ in its name because of its ‘extra bass’ feature. If you’re looking for a pair of headphones with quality bass sound, the Sonys deliver. The headphones have an ear hook design that secures them to the ear. They’re also wireless, so you can move around without accidentally snagging your wire on doorknobs. The headphones are also water resistant so that they can handle a bit of sweat. Unfortunately, battery life for these is subpar and the design stands out in a bad way. The advanced tech features of the XB80BS headphones, though, stands out from other similarly priced models.

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Where to Buy
Where to Buy
Pros & Cons
  • Secure fit
  • Decent sound quality
  • Strong bass sound
  • Water resistant
  • Advanced wireless features (NFC, LDAC)
  • Cons
    • Bulky design
    • Far from stylish
    • Battery life is unimpressive
    • Expensive
    • Key Features
      The unique ear hook design doesn’t look pretty, but it makes these wireless headphones perfect for an active lifestyle. The hook slides around the ear and keeps the device in place. The fact that the headphones are water resistant means that these can handle a bit of sweat, too. If you’ve had trouble finding headphones that don’t move during vigorous exercise, the XB80BS's might be your ticket to comfortable listening.
      Basic Features
      The headphones feature a flexible over-the-ear piece, and a short cable connects the two earpieces. That means they’re not fully wireless, by the way. If you absolutely hate dealing with wires, you might want to look at a pair of truly wireless headphones instead. On each ear hook piece, you’ll find 3-button controls. They’re simple to use, but some users found the buttons a little finicky. You’ll have to reach for the back of your ear to change the volume or switch tracks. The advantage is that you’ll feel like a secret agent doing it.

      The headphones also come with a storage case and feature 12mm sound drivers that help deliver powerful bass sound. A built-in microphone makes these headphones handy for making and taking calls. You’ll use the ear hook buttons to decline and answer incoming calls. By all accounts, the microphone works well and delivers clear audio on the other end of the line.
      Advanced Features
      The advantage of getting a pair of Sony brand wireless headphones is the included NFC technology, which allows users to merely touch the wireless device to their smartphone and immediately pair. There’s no need to dig into your phone’s settings to get that done. The headphones are also IPX5 rated for water resistance. Another distinctive feature of Sony’s wireless headphones is LDAC transmission. LDAC is a unique transmission format that transmits way more data at one time than regular Bluetooth. But, you’ll need a compatible device for it to work, otherwise data transfers via Bluetooth. The ‘XB’ in the name? That stands for ‘Extra Bass.’ The headphones, therefore, provide a deeper, richer bass sound than other models.
      Sound Quality
      Sound quality is about average, according to reviewers. Reviewers did agree, however, that the claim that the headphones deliver extra bass sound is wholly warranted. The headphones are also pretty good at limiting outside noise so you can listen without distractions. The sound just isn’t where it should be considering the build and price of the headphones. You can definitely buy a set of wireless headphones for the same price and get better sound. The advantage with the Sonys include a few high tech features (LDAC and NFC), water resistance, and a secure fit. Most runners and gym rats won’t mind lower quality sound, though, as long as the music comes through loud and clear, and that’s certainly the case with the XBs.
      The XB headphones are Bluetooth compatible, and if you happen to have an LDAC compatible device, data can transmit that way instead. The XBs are also NFC compatible so that you can set up a wireless connection quick and easy. Reviewers had zero complaints regarding dropouts or connectivity issues. The headphones deliver in the connectivity department. Wireless headphones are notorious for having dropout issues. Music cuts out, audio for videos is stunted, and interruptions are frequent. The Sony headphones don’t have this problem, which is a significant advantage. It’s clear that Sony is ahead of the curve tech wise. Music comes out clear and without issue so workouts can continue unimpeded.
      Let’s start by pointing out the obvious. The ear hook design isn’t for everyone. Some users will find the moldable earpiece holds the headphones in place very securely while others will be bothered by it. Quite a few reviewers mentioned that the headphones felt weird and a little heavy around the ear. They weigh about 27 grams. Wearing them takes some getting used to. They’re surprisingly big, and the larger size isn’t a tradeoff for better battery life. Not everyone was crazy about the bulky headphones. Numerous reviewers found them awkward to wear, and those with glasses encountered glaring fit issues. A sizeable portion of users, however, liked that they fit securely. The ear hook is, thankfully, moldable, so the headphones move and bend with you. Everyone’s ears are different so finding the right fit may be a challenge. Just because one set of headphones has stellar reviews regarding comfort, that doesn’t mean they’ll magically fit your ear canal. If you tend to have trouble finding headphones that don’t pop out when running, the ear hook style of the Sony XBs might be worth trying. It’s hard for the headphones to pop out if they’re attached in place via the top of your ear. Still, the around the ear design isn’t for everyone. Irritation may occur, and it doesn’t guarantee a perfect fit. Note the Sony headphones don’t come with extra tips and fins, so you can’t customize your set as you might with other brands. If you think you’ll need some trial and error, opt for a pair of headphones that come with extra accessories.
      The headphones have a sporty look and feel. Not everyone loves the over the ear look, but a number of reviewers were happy to put up with a goofy design in exchange for a super secure fit. The headphones are available in three colors, red, blue, and black. If you hate the design of Apple’s Air Pods, you might find the ear hook contraption of the Sony headphones equally ugly. The headphones look less like sporty accessories and more like a dual hearing aid. If you’ve had trouble finding a pair of wireless earbuds that fit without falling out, though, the hook design might prove fruitful.
      The headphones are water resistant (an IPX5 rating), so they’re suitable for working out. They’re better protected against moisture than most headphones and reviewers had no complaints about the quality of the XB80BSs. The ear hook is bendable but sturdy enough that it won’t snap under pressure.
      Ease of Use
      The earpieces feature a three-button control system on the ear hook portion of the headphones. Users can answer calls, control playback, and adjust volume. Reviewers, however, complained that the buttons weren’t always responsive and that it was a little awkward to reach behind the ear to get to the controls. That being said, we’re not sure where else those buttons could go, there’s limited real estate. Having the headphones be NFC compatible makes pairing super simple. It’s barely a process. Users just need to touch the headphones to their smartphone and voila everything is set up in an instant. It’s a super convenient add-on feature for those who are fed up with continually going through the pairing process each time they want to listen to music. For runners, a quick-pairing option like this makes it easy to get out the door faster without skimping on quality tunes.
      Power Source
      The headphones are charged via Micro USB. They have a 7-hour battery life, which sounds impressive, but for the size of these headphones, the battery life should really be better. The large design seems like a waste without the justification of longer battery life. Charging up the device takes about 2 hours, which is less impressive than other headphones with quick-charge abilities.
      The headphones sit at a decent price point but honestly, you can find better-sounding headphones for the cost of the XB80BSs. The included tech features are nifty and impressive, but they don’t justify the expensive price tag. What would make us pay more? Better sound, improved battery life, and a sleeker design.
      Key Features
      - Extra bass sound
      - Bluetooth enabled
      - LDAC compatible
      - Sweat-resistant (IPX5 rating)
      - 7-hour battery life
      - Wireless design
      - Available in 3 colors
      - Secure fitting ear hook style
      - 27 grams in weight
      - 12 mm drivers
      - Comes with a carrying case
      - Micro USB charging
      - Comes with extra earbud sizes
      - Built-in Mic
      - Controls on earbud
      Bottom Line
      The Sony XB80BS headphones are a decent pair of sport-specific earbuds. But there’s a lot to be improved. The sound could be better. Even with the extra bass and 12mm drivers, reviewers weren’t particularly impressed with the audio quality. The design needs a review, too. The headphones are bulky, and the look is more dated than sporty. The ear hooks aren’t for everyone, either, but that’s more of a personal preference thing. For the price and size of the headphones, the battery life is surprisingly minimal. What’s to like then? The headphones are water resistant, which is nice. They fit very securely, which is helpful for those with irregular ear canals that don’t fit most other wireless headphones. The LDAC and NFC tech are also nice bonus features.
      Where to Buy
      By Steph Coelho
      Last updated:
      Where to buy
      Best offer on: Aug. 02. 2021

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