Sony SBH80 Stereo Bluetooth Headset Review

by XB on 8th May 2016

in Accessories, Reviews

Sony SBH80 Bluetooth Headset Review_12The 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.

Sony SBH80 Bluetooth Headset Review_1

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 SBH80 Bluetooth Headset Review_2

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 SBH80 Bluetooth Headset Review_3

Sony includes a few accessories inside the packaging, which includes a 10cm Sony EC300 micro USB cable.

Sony SBH80 Bluetooth Headset Review_4

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 SBH80 Bluetooth Headset Review_5

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.

Sony SBH80 Bluetooth Headset Review_6

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 SBH80 Bluetooth Headset Review_7

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 SBH80 Bluetooth Headset Review_8

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.

Sony SBH80 Bluetooth Headset Review_9

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.

Sony SBH80 Bluetooth Headset Review_10

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

Sony SBH80 Bluetooth Headset Review_11

Overall thoughts

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

Sony SBH80 Bluetooth Headset Review_12

Thanks to Mobile Fun for providing the Sony SBH80 Stereo Bluetooth Headset for review!

  • Blolol

    I’ve had this for a year and these are best earphones I’ve ever had in my entire life! Way better than corded earphones.

    The treble and bass are absolutely perfect. I’m using an Xperia z3, stock music app – change the equaliser to full treble then adjust the bass to max.. Now your ears will be in heaven.

    I use them when I go running everyday, 2-3 message, the sweat, the rain, haven’t been an issue. Easy to wipe clean you can even wash the earbuds. They never fall out. Just make sure you use the right sized earbuds.

    To the reviewer, share with us your custom music settings and what device you used for music. On an Xperia z3, full treble and then bass adjusted to max is beautiful.

  • mugglearchitect

    @xperiablog, I see you use an Xperia Z3. May I ask, do you prefer it over the Z5? If I am going to buy tomorrow, do you suggest I buy the Z3 instead of the 5? Thanks!

  • Solano89

    Do a review to the SBH70 to!

  • I do have them for quite long now. Audio quality is great and they are very lightweight. Yes, they are neutral with bit more bass. One thing that anyone should consider is that they are very prone to bluetooth interferences. I have BT keyboard and mouse on my PC and while phone/headphones are nearby I have a lot of audio stuttering especially during call, where mic is also active. So be aware that they work great, especially outdoors but care is needed in 2.4 GHz crowded environment. Battery life it quite short. I would say that it is around 5h granted and anything above a bit of luck.

  • Wolf0491

    I’ve had these since they came out. So quite a while. Only Bluetooth headphones I used. I’ve pulled on the “fragile” wires plenty of times on accident and have zero problems I think it holds up very well.

  • Tsoa Tsyfatatra

    I ve got the SBH80 for quite a long time, more than one year and they are great.
    Battery life is exceptional, if one considers the design and the light weight. Being splash proof is also a great advantage. The most meaningful thing is that you can connect this headset with 3 different device at the same time. I usually connect it to my phone and my tablet on the go, at home with my pc.
    Sound quality is ok for a Bluetooth headset. It’s clear on my Z3 Tablet.
    But it sounds decent enough if you use a custom ROM as I do on my Xperia V. And have Dolby features on “sony music player”

    Comparing it with the sbh70:
    The sbh70, the sbh70 feels cheap, sound quality not as good as on the sbh80. Battery life of the sbh80 is better. In terms of features, the sbh70 has a dedicated app on playstore. The sbh80 has only the smart connect app.And the sbh70 has more features than the sbh80. ( voice command…). Tge sbh70 is also better in waterproofing.
    The sbh80 feels more premium than the sbh70.

  • shenoy

    One of the best I ve ever used till date. But not happy with the quality of the product. Got damaged after a yr. Was not able to connect to Bluetooth. Service center told mother board damage. But bass quality was awesome.

  • kaostheory

    Why not do an actual review and comparison of the MDR NC750?

  • Utsav Shah

    my ears are already in heaven with MDR-V6. (FYI it’s the tech from 80s, still produced by Sony :) )

  • XperiaBlog

    We have most of the Sony Xperia models, but still prefer using a Z3 as a daily driver as it does everything well. It doesn’t feel like it is limited in anyway, so it’s still a brilliant phone – especially if you can get it for a good price given the age. However, they are all great phones, the Z3+/Z5 series will get longer software support so that is something to consider.

  • Erick Martínez

    much better than sbh70?

  • Joonwoo Park

    Its well- known shortcoming is that it is easily slipped off.. A week ago, my SBH80 slipped away from my neck when my getting out of bus. And that was the last time with the unit

  • Debrahjcurren1

    “my room mate Lori Is getting paid on the internet 98$/hr”…..!ec571etwo days ago grey MacLaren P1 I bought after earning 18,512 was my previous month’s payout..just a little over.17k DoIIars Last month..3-5 hours job a day…with weekly’s realy the simplest. job I have ever Do.. I Joined This 7 months. ago. and now making over. hourly 87 DoIIars…Learn. More right Here !ec571e:?:?:???? http://GlobalSuperJobsReportsEmploymentsFullGetPayHourly$98…. .??:??:??:??:??:??:??:??:??:??:??:??:??:??:??:??:??:??:??:??:??:??::::::!ec571e….,….

  • iia3ezu

    Get the Z5, it’s the last Z phone from Sony.

  • Ailan Hidaz

    You have to consider that the Z3 is the last flagship phone from Sony that doesn’t overheat like a toaster doing the simplest of things >.<

  • Ailan Hidaz

    I would totally recommend getting the Z3 over the Z5. I have both right now and I can say the fingerprint scanner and the 32gb internal memory are not enough upgrades over the Z3 to validate spending more on the overheating piece of door stop.
    Sure, the Z5 has a great camera, but so does the Z3 and with MM both have great camera UIs. However, with MM the Z5 has turned into a time bomb as I have seen more than 2 people complain that the phone overheated and cracked by itself.

  • Malih

    Wait, that sounds like bad thing.
    Personally I’m still using the suprisingly low-priced but still water resistant STH-30, at the very least it has a small clip to attach to your shirt, originally bought it for the volume button.

  • GregLu

    Same as you, and I use them a lot when I drive now, with one ear attached. Otherwise it stays hanging at the rear mirror :)

  • Normajspencer2

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    Buy Online Jewellery India appeals to those who wish to buy one-of-a-kind ornaments and gifts such as jeweled bags and antique jewellery.

  • Dimitar Spassov

    I want to buy a pair of Bluetooth Earphones which I’ll be using mainly while working out in the gym and occasionally on the street. I think these are my top choice for now (I also have a Xperia Z1) but a lot of people on Amazon are saying that the device falls off, especially on the bench and some are saying that after X amount of weeks the right earphone stops working or works with lower volume than the other, can anyone give me insight about that ? Are there any better Bluetooth Earphones with a budget of 100$ max ?

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