The Sony Stereo Bluetooth Headset SBH80 originally arrived a couple of years back. The premium headset has an iconic design and has consistently received great feedback on the quality of its sound reproduction.
The Sony SBH80 Headset still sells well across various retailers including Mobile Fun, who were kind enough to send over a review sample. Mobile Fun offer a wide range of smartphone/tablet accessories and deliver worldwide. We never managed to get a deep look at the Sony SBH80 headset when it initially launched, so check out our full thoughts below.
The Sony Stereo Bluetooth Headset SBH80 is well-specced for a wireless headset. The headset supports Bluetooth 3.0, NFC for easy pairing, aptX audio enhancement, multipoint connectivity and HD Voice. The headset has an 125mAh battery, good for 8 hours of talk time (or 6 hours of streaming time) according to Sony. The headset can be easily charged via micro USB.
Sony uses a neckband-style design with controls tracking each ear piece. It is splash proof and also has double microphones so your caller will always hear you, no matter which way your head is turned.
Sony includes a few accessories inside the packaging, which includes a 10cm Sony EC300 micro USB cable.
Sony includes a pack with two different sizes of rubber earbud for each ear (not including the one already on the headset). So you have a choice of e. three ear buds altogether, which means you should be able to find one that fits you properly.
Sony houses the 125mah battery within the neckband, therefore it is here where you charge and power-on the headset. The Sony SBH80 is NFC-enabled for quick Bluetooth pairing. The whole headset weighs 25 grams, so is very lightweight. The great thing about this kind of neckband design is that it takes the strain off the earphones (and hrnce the weight off your ears), providing a more comfortable listening experience.
The bottom of the neckband has the power button, a micro-USB port to charge and a small LED notification light to highlight battery status. There is a flashing blue light used when the headset is in pairing mode and a flashing purple light when a call is incoming. There are three different battery states highlighted:
0% to 5% – Flashing red light
6% to 30% – Yellow light
31% to 100% – Green light
The Sony SBH80 Headset takes around two hours to fully charge. From our usage, we found that Sony’s stated usage time was broadly correct. We could get just under six hours of streaming time before the headset gave out, so if you’re a heavy user, you many need to charge the headset every day.
Sony says that the SBH80 is splash-proof, so it should survive okay with a bit of rain. However, with no formal IP rating, we would advise caution in a wet environment.
Despite the Sony SBH80 Headset launching two years ago, it continues to be popular. Sony has continued to manufacture the headset – the one we received was produced at the end of 2015.
Sony has placed two separate controls on each side of the earphones. One side controls volume and the ability to take a call, the second controls music playback (play/pause/rewind/forward).
As you can see just underneath the chrome buttons, Sony has also used a mic on each control unit. This means there are double microphones to ensure you can always be heard, wherever your head might be tuned. We found call quality to be very good, even in a relatively windy environment. Other parties could hear us without muffling and we found the controls to be very conveniently placed to take a call and control volume. It is also worth noting that the neck band incorporates a gentle vibrating alert so that you can avoid those missed calls.
When it comes to the in-ear monitors (IEMs) themselves, Sony flags which ear piece is for which ear with clear ‘R’ and ‘L’ markers. As mentioned earlier, the rubber ear buds/tips can be easily removed if the size doesn’t easily fit. There are another two differently sized rubber tips in the box. Sony uses 5.8 mm dynamic drivers with 15 Ohm and a frequency response of 10Hz to 20,000Hz.
Overall, the audio quality was fairly neutral with perhaps a small bias on the bass side. Sounds reproduction was very good with a wide soundstage. The Sony SBH80 Headset includes Bluetooth aptX support, enabling CD-like quality wireless audio. This should mean much more faithful reproduction of your music as aptX reduces the bit rate without affecting audio quality or introducing latency issues.
A small criticism is that leads to each earphone feel a little fragile, so we’re ensure how they would fare over the longer-term
The Sony SBH80 Headset may be a couple of years old, but it’s not missing any fundamental features. If you were being critical, you could argue that it has no official water resistance (the newer Sony SBH70 Headset is IP57 certified), but you should be fine using it in the rain. There is a reason why Sony labelled its ‘successor’ with a lower model number, the SBH80 is a great all-rounder with a well-balanced soundstage and decent bass (well for earphones anyway).
The design of the Sony Stereo Bluetooth Headset SBH80 is well suited to professionals, with its elegant neck band and faux-chrome buttons. The Sony SBH80 uses double microphones for clear calls, offers a reasonable level of battery life, convenient USB charging and aptX audio support. Mobile Fun has the Sony Stereo Bluetooth Headset SBH80 priced at £70.00, which we think is a fair price for these well-built, wireless and wonderful sounding in-ear monitors.
– Super sound quality (aptX support included)
– Great hands-free feature for calls
– Lightweight and comfortable to use
– Different sized earbuds to suit most people
– Straightforward controls with good tactile feedback
– LED notification on neck band highlights battery level
– Vibration feature ensures no missed calls
– USB charging
– Easy Bluetooth pairing via NFC
– Tangle-free cords
– Only splash proof, but with no IP rating given, you’ll need to be careful not to expose it to very wet conditions
– Battery life could be better (you can check exact level using Sony’s Smart Connect App)
– Fragile earphone wires