Price (RRP): $299.95
You have to know that Sony is feeling the pinch from companies like Beats and Bose, and now that the black basic headphone is no longer the big deal, Sony has to reinvent itself, starting with a pair of cans that might just get to do that.
Features and performance
Sony is no stranger to sound products and has been building headphones and speakers for ages, but this year we’re seeing a renewed sense of design in its range.
The first inkling you get of this comes from the name of Sony’s new headphones. Forget about model numbers because while they’re there, the brand wants you to focus on a word instead: hear.
Because the world is very web focused, Sony has added a dot, so these are now the “h.ear” headphones, a name which probably makes these headphones a little more modern just from the get go, but so too does the design, with a basic colour applied to a metal casing for the cans which is cool to the touch, while the headband remains plastic with a vinyl headband.
We do like the colour, and it’s nice to see a style that is both basic and pleasing, with the mediocre black headphones disappearing and replaced with something that is both eye-catching and different.
There’s also no major nod to the brand like there is with Beats or Bose, though you do get a Sony printed on each side of the band.
They’re comfy, though, and that matters, with a design that will fill snug and circumaural, even if the cans are technically marketed as supra-aural on-ear cans, hence “h.ear on”.
They’re also relatively portable, with a hinge at the cup that allows you to collapse the cans inwards and situate the cups on top of each other. Granted, they don’t pivot or face upwards, so DJs won’t be interested, but they still fold up nicely, and given the h.ear on headphones are meant for portability, this makes sense.
The inclusion of a small colour-coded pouch is also nice, something not all headphones gets.
As usual, we’re testing these headphones with the GadgetGuy 2016 Sound Test, a playlist you can listen to with either a Google Play Music, Spotify, or Apple Music account, and we get started with electronica, and Imogen Heap is surprisingly deep in the bottom end with bright highs and mids.
The bass isn’t overwhelming in Heap’s “Headlock”, nor is the thwack of the bass too much to handle in Demi Lovato’s “Cool For The Summer” or Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky”, though it is clear from these modern tracks that the bass offers the biggest response out of the spectrums offered, though the mids aren’t far behind.
Overall, it’s a surprisingly warm sound for the size of the cans, with the lows delivering a nice round bass sound as the mids and highs of the vocals and instruments ring out over the rest of the track.