Sony has been in the earphone business as long as time can tell, with its current range including some fantastic over-ear noise-cancelling headphones, and in-ear headphones to suit any budget. The Sony MDR-XB80BS are their newest Bluetooth sports headphones. I decided to try them out and see if they were better than the headphones I currently use, the Beats Powerbeats 3.
The Sony MDR-XB80BS Review
The Sony MDR-XB80BS are designed for working out, they promise to sound good while staying firmly in your ears and of course are resistant to sweat.
Sony has of course been around for a long time, and the assumption is that they know what they’re doing – I’m going to try these headphones out to see how they stack up against my current headphones which are the Beats Powerbeats 3s which retail at a higher price but are a great set of sports headphones.
So these are the Sony MDR-XB80BS sports headphones … other colors are of course available!
I’ve been using the Powerbeats 3s for about 6 months now and I love them, they’re sweat proof, have great sound and they don’t slip off my ears when I’m working out. Everything I need pretty much. But could these XB80s actually be a contender to topple the Powerbeats from their position?
How they fit
This is, in my opinion, the best shape for sports headphones to be in order for them to not jiggle too much or fall out. I don’t like wireless headphones that aren’t connected together and come in two parts – because I’m paranoid of losing one side and being stuck with one earpiece.
They hook onto the ear like the Powerbeats do and are connected via a cord that links the two earpieces together. They feel secure and don’t slip.
I have done my skipping and jogging with them on to test if they fall out when your head makes movements, and they didn’t fall out or move too much which is great.
- 7-hours usage per charge
- 2-hour charge time
The buttons on these are quite tiny and hard to press – can get fiddly when trying to adjust volume levels or skip through songs on a playlist
The 7 hours of usage per charge is good but not as high as the Powerbeats 3 for example, it’s enough to know that they won’t go dead after a couple of hour-long runs or workouts.
These are sweatproof and IPX5 rated for water ingress, which means splashproof. You can wear them in heavy rain and clean them with water, anything more and you’re asking for trouble, so but don’t go wearing them in a swimming pool because they will not withstand that amount of water.
How do they sound?
As promised on the packaging, these have got strong bass.
Personally, I love big booming punchy bass, but not so much that the sound is muffled or sounds difficult to hear. The bass on these is very close to the limit of it being too high and distorted. They don’t go over the limit and don’t distort the quality of the music which is great. It’s the right balance.
As mentioned, it really depends on what your tastes are, but for me when I’m working out I WANT to hear bass because it gives me an extra push in the right direction.
The sound is really well balanced and I have no complaints with the sound that these pump out.
They do a great job of canceling out external sounds too – this is VERY useful for giving you full immersion and focus on whatever exercise you’re doing. But if you’re using these outdoors on a busy road do be careful because your ability to hear traffic will be greatly affected.
The connection sounds very clear and the clarity of the music is great too. No ‘Bluetooth hum’ that you hear with some headphones which can be annoying.
A really good pair of headphones, quite a close contender to the Powerbeats 3 that I currently use.
They have strong bass while being clear in sound and sit on my ear really well with minimal slipping during my workouts.
The only drawbacks I can think of at a push for the Sony MDR-XB80BS would be:
- The difficulty of controlling the buttons at times which could be annoying for some. You have to feel around a bit to use the controls and they do require a hard press which can get fiddly and mean you have to reposition them on your ears.
- It’s hard to forget you’re wearing them, even though they weigh less than the Powerbeats 3 headphones, the shape of them is a little more intrusive.
But apart from that there’s nothing else, a great pair of headphones and well worth their price tag in my opinion.
Are the Sony MDR-XB80BS Powerbeats 3 beaters?
The Sony MDR-XB80BS are very close I’m not going to lie. Personally, I like the sound coming out of the Powerbeats a little more. That’s not to say that these Sonys sound terrible because they really don’t. If I was on a tighter budget and I just needed a pair of quality Bluetooth sports headphones that work well I would go for them. But for me, the Powerbeats are still at the top of the tree.
Check out my Powerbeats 3 review here