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Review: Sony WF-SP800N Noise-Canceling Earbuds Let You Enjoy Killer Audio at the Gym

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The whole point of headphones and earbuds is to narrow your world down to you and your music (or podcast, or audiobook, or whatever). But with so many cheap models, the only way to truly achieve this aural nirvana is by blasting the volume to 10. Or 11 if you bought the Spinal Tap earbuds. And that’s not just horrible for your hearing, it’s dangerous to completely eliminate all awareness of your surroundings, especially if you’re running or biking.

Sony has struck the balance between uninterrupted listening and spatial awareness with the new WF-SP800N Truly Wireless Noise-Canceling Headphones for Sports. With the Adaptive Sound Control feature, these jock-friendly earbuds let you choose between listening modes rather than uselessly toggling between deafening noise and whisper volume. We’re big fans of Sony’s wireless earbuds, and the company already makes some of the best AirPods alternatives, which is why we were so excited for the May 2020 release of the sport-friendly Sony WF-SP800Ns.

The Adaptive Sound Control is really a marvel. It automatically detects your activity, and adjusts the ambient sound settings to suit the environment. Digital noise cancellation technology uses your earbuds’ microphone to measure the ambient sound and generate a soundwave that’s the exact negative of that ambient sound, canceling it out. This lets your chosen sounds come through clearly without increasing the volume and damaging your hearing.

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However, you’re still aware of your surroundings, whether it’s your workout buddy getting your attention, somebody coming up behind you on the track or trail, or a car bearing down on you as you cross the street. And if you need to hear more, a simple touch on your bud adjusts the volume and allows in more ambient sound. You can even have a conversation without having to remove your earbud (although your friends might think that’s rude).

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Courtesy of Sony
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Courtesy of Amazon

If you’re a serious audiophile, you’ll notice soon enough that the Sony WF-SP800Ns don’t have the same crisp sound quality of Sony’s WF-1000XM3 model, or even the Apple AirPods Pro. But they do have a rich, bass-heavy sound that serves you well during a hard workout, and if you’re looking at these to begin with, odds are you’re seeking more of a set of workout warriors for your ears. In which case, you would be choosing wisely. These noise-canceling earbuds have a stellar IP55 rating for being water- and dust-resistant, and they can even be washed.

The WF-SP800Ns also have a crazy-long nine-hour battery life on their own, and then another nine from the charging case. So you get 18 full hours of sound before you need to be anywhere near a wire or an outlet.

Add a highly stable Bluetooth connection; easy compatibility with Google Assistant, Alexa, and Siri; and the unique silicone ear-wing fit, which keeps them steady and locked into your ears even during your hardest workouts, and these are everything you want from a pair of sports-friendly earbuds.

After so many positive Sony WF-SP800N reviews, sites like Best Buy and Amazon are running low on supplies, especially in the popular blue and red models. Order your own set before they sell out.