Sometimes a device which goes completely against expectations crosses our review desk. One such: the Sony Xperia Ear Duo earphones.
What are they?
My expectations were that the Sony Xperia Ear Duo was just one more set of wireless earbuds. They are earbuds, kind of. They use Bluetooth to communicate with your smartphone – both iOS and Android. And they come in a disc-shaped case that’s 25mm thick and 89mm in diameter.
The case not just holds them but charges them. It carries enough charge to refill them three times. The earpieces snap into position with certainty, pulled by magnets. You charge the case via a USB Type-C socket. As usual, it’s up to the purchaser to provide the power supply. Also provided is a USB Type-C charge cable.
So, I figured I’d plug them into my ears and start listening. But I opened the case and found a rather more complicated story. First, instead of diminutive buds, they were relatively substantial devices. They each consist of a largely rectangular block with a bent tube emerging from its end. At the end of each tube was a ring of silicon, not the usual closed ear tip. Each block measures around 50mm long by 17mm wide and 10mm thick. Each earpiece weighs 10.6 grams.
There were no apparent controls on the rectangular block. Putting them on my ears looked daunting. As we’ll see, I did master that later.
Mobile Sony Xperia Ear Duo
I went to Sony’s website and looked under earphones to findout more about the Sony Xperia Ear Duo. And I couldn’t find it. But then Irealised that there are two brands mentioned in that name: Sony and Xperia. Ifound them on the Sony Mobile website, which is where all the Xperia products are located.
It was then that I approached some semblance of understanding. Most earphones I review are principally for listening to music. And most of them also have a hands-free function. But the Sony Xperia Ear Duo are principally supercharged hands-free devices, with which you can also listen to music and such. They are suitable for wearing for extended periods and generally not interfere with your life and work while you’re wearing them. That silicon ring performs the function of locating the tiny sound transducers over your ear canals.
Actually, the real mini-drivers are inside the block. The tube is called a “spatial acoustic conductor”. It seems that this “pipes” the sound into your ears. The sound of the outside world passes through the hole at the centre of each ring. You can live life normally, except with the body of the Sony Xperia Ear Duo earphones tucked behind each ear.