Throughout 2017, the Google Pixel Buds alongside other headphones tried to dethrone AirPods as the go-to pair of truly wireless earbuds. Last spring we got a glimpse at the Xperia Ear Duo, but now Sony has fully taken the wraps off its latest pair of cans. With one-tap access to your preferred digital assistant, voice notifications and more, Sony’s new earbuds enters the market with a unique design to top it all off.
We first saw the Xperia Ear Duo last year after Sony unveiled the then conceptual earbuds at Mobile World Congress in February. Offering an interesting take on truly wireless earbuds, the Ear Duo’s design packs most of its components in a housing that wraps around the ear. They’re much bulkier than AirPods and other models we’ve seen.
The feature department is headlined with what Sony calls dual listening. In what is effectively the exact opposite of noice-cancelling, this is said to combine the music or audio you’re enjoying with the sounds from the environment around you. Some may appreciate the added awareness to your surroundings, but others wanting to shut out the noise won’t be as amused.
Aside from the unique truly wireless design, the Xperia Ear Duo also boast an array of other compelling features. The earbuds also pack integrations with Siri and Google Assistant based on which smartphone you have connected, allowing you to summon your preferred digital assistant with a single tap, similar to how AirPods work.
Tap and gesture-based controls are the main form of controlling your audio playback, alongside the typical smartphone controls. Turning your head lets you skip forward or backwards in your music queue, but you can also nod to answer incoming calls, or shake to decline them.
Audio notifications round out the Ear Duo, which will read you calendar events, news headlines and other useful tidbits from your connected device. Sony’s earbuds are said to get up to 4 hours of playback in a single charge, as well as an additional 12 hours thanks to the charging case.
If you’ve been holding out for a pair of truly wireless earbuds other than AirPods, Sony’s Xperia Ear Duo offer a similar array features. But with a $280 price tag, these may be a hard sell for many. They will be able in both black and gold finishes, with shipping dates estimated for late May. You can currently preorder the wireless earbuds at Amazon, should you desire to test them yourself.