Sony InZone Buds Review: Best Wireless Gaming Earbuds

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Sony InZone Buds Review: Best Wireless Gaming Earbuds

Sony is making a significant push into the PC gaming market with its latest offering – the Sony InZone Buds, a pair of wireless headphones tailored to the world of gaming. This is a domain in which Sony boasts a wealth of experience and expertise.

In the realm of in-ear headphones designed specifically for use with gaming consoles, options have been limited, especially when it comes to first-party solutions. However, the introduction of the Sony InZone Buds seeks to change this landscape and bring a new dimension to the gaming audio experience.

What sets the InZone Buds apart is the incorporation of AI technology. Sony has taken the foundation of its class-leading noise-canceling earbuds and combined it with some innovative features to create a premium and intriguing audio experience.

Sony INZONE Buds Truly Wireless Noise Cancelling Gaming Earbuds, 12 Hour...
  • Active noise cancelling and personalized spatial sound helps you stay on top.
  • Wireless gaming headset with the industry’s longest battery life (up to 12 hrs).
  • Reduced ear contact for increased comfort.
  • INZONE Buds only supports 2.4 GHz wireless connection via USB Type-C dongle and Bluetooth LE Audio connection...
  • The AI-assisted microphone helps you be heard in action .

The InZone Buds earbuds hold the potential to become a top choice for gamers, particularly those who are gaming on the PlayStation 5. Their performance and features are poised to offer an immersive gaming experience, setting them up as strong contenders in the world of gaming audio.

Sony InZone Buds: Video Review

SpecsSony InZone Buds
Driver8.4 mm, Sony Dynamic Driver X
Communication systemBluetooth Specification version 5.3
OutputBluetooth Specification Power Class 1.5
Maximum range10 m / 32.8 ft
Frequency bandBluetooth: 2.4 GHz band (2.400 0 GHz - 2.483 5 GHz)
Wireless Transmitter Receiver Section: 2.4 GHz band (2.400 0 GHz - 2.483 5 GHz)
Bluetooth profilesTMAP/CSIP/MCP/VCP/CCP
Supported CodecLC3
Transmission range20 Hz - 20 000 Hz (Sampling frequency 48 kHz)
SoftwareSony InZone Hub
Battery Life12 hours (2.4GHz wireless), 24 hours (Bluetooth)
Charging case provides an additional 24 - 48 hours
WaterproofIPX4
Weight6.5g/0.23 (headset), 50 g/1.77 oz (charging case), 2.9 g/0.11 oz (USB Transceiver)
ColorWhite, Black

Sony InZone Buds: Design and comfort

The Sony InZone Buds bring a distinct Sony style to the world of wireless earbuds. Upon opening the charging case for the headphones, one can’t help but notice the unmistakable Sony design influence. These earbuds bear a striking resemblance to the iconic XM3s, which were renowned for setting a benchmark in their time.

Sony InZone Buds Review: Best Wireless Gaming Earbuds

The exterior design of the buds is a blend of matte and glossy finishes, giving them an appealing look. However, this combination may be susceptible to accumulating grease and grime over time, which is something to keep in mind with prolonged use.

Sony InZone Buds Review: Best Wireless Gaming Earbuds

The inclusion of five different-sized ear tips ensures that users can find the perfect fit for optimal comfort. While these tips are comfortable, they differ from the high-end models like the XM4 and XM5, as they use latex rather than the premium shaping foam.

Sony InZone Buds Review: Best Wireless Gaming Earbuds

In terms of aesthetics, the InZone Buds steer clear of flashy RGB lighting, opting for a more understated appearance. This minimalist approach is also reflected in the charging case. It’s worth noting that, compared to similarly priced active noise-cancelling (ANC) earbuds, the InZone Buds’ charging case is somewhat chunky and thick. This could make it a bit challenging to fit into clothing pockets with limited space. The case features an engraved Sony logo and a USB-C port for convenient charging.

Sony InZone Buds Review: Best Wireless Gaming Earbuds

The earbuds themselves are held securely in the case by a magnet system, ensuring they won’t fall out accidentally. Additionally, a USB-C dongle, dedicated to the radio connection (which we’ll discuss further), is also neatly stored in the center of the case.

While the InZone Buds offer a Sony-inspired design, it’s essential to acknowledge that they aren’t a premium product in terms of features. They lack broad resistance to water and dust, boasting only an IPX4 certification.

Compatibility

The Sony InZone Buds come with some notable distinctions in terms of connectivity, although they may lack some of the premium features seen in high-end audio equipment.

One significant aspect that separates these buds from the competition is their compatibility with the 2.4 GHz radio band. To utilize this feature, you’ll need to connect a small USB-C dongle to your target device, such as a PC or a PS5. This choice provides a more stable connection and boasts very low latency, with a response time of less than 30ms, making them ideal for gaming. 

Sony InZone Buds Review: Best Wireless Gaming Earbuds

Sony offers the InZone Hub application for PC, which grants users the power to fully personalize their InZone Buds. This customization extends to configuring various shortcuts based on the number of “taps” made on the touch-sensitive areas of the earbuds, each with four different settings: 1, 2, 3 taps, and a long press. In addition, users can fine-tune the equalizer and activate the ambient sound mode, a feature that retains noise reduction while allowing some external sounds, like voices, to filter through. The application also supports Sony’s 360 Spatial Sound, which involves taking a picture of your ears to optimize the sound experience. While the PC application is quite well-executed, some may find it slightly rudimentary in certain aspects.

Sony InZone Buds Review: Best Wireless Gaming Earbuds

However, it’s worth noting that the InZone Buds are not limited to their radio connectivity. They also support Bluetooth, and not just any Bluetooth, but Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) with the LC3 codec via integrated Bluetooth 5.3. This advanced Bluetooth technology is typically compatible with high-end smartphones and tablets released within the last two years. If your Android device doesn’t meet these requirements, you can always fall back on the USB-C dongle, which offers broader compatibility across various platforms.

Sound quality and ANC

The Sony InZone Buds showcase the prowess of Sony’s audio engineering, featuring the same Dynamic Driver X found in their premium offering, the WF-1000XM5. This shared component brings about an exceptional audio experience that doesn’t disappoint.

Sony InZone Buds Review: Best Wireless Gaming Earbuds

The sound quality of the InZone Buds is indeed a highlight. The highs are delivered with brilliance, allowing for intricate detailing in your music. The mids are handled with precision, capturing the subtleties of every note and instrument. Even the bass, though not as impactful as larger headphones, retains a respectable level of quality for earbuds. While they may not deliver bone-rattling bass, it’s the finesse and separation in the warmth of each note that showcases the true quality of the listening experience. This level of audio quality holds true whether you’re using the InZone Buds in Bluetooth mode or in radio mode, making them versatile for various audio applications, including video games.

However, where Sony’s InZone Buds may not shine as brightly is in the realm of audio spatialization. Sony’s proprietary 360 Spatial Sound system, while functional, doesn’t necessarily stand out as a game-changer in audio spatialization. On the PS5, 3D audio is well-reproduced, but achieving a truly immersive experience would still require a more elaborate sound system than just a pair of headphones.

Sony InZone Buds Review: Best Wireless Gaming Earbuds

One aspect where Sony’s expertise is undeniable is in the field of active noise reduction. The InZone Buds maintain this tradition with excellence. In fact, when compared to the XM4s used daily, the quality of the active noise reduction in the InZone Buds is even better, approaching the level of the XM5. This feature ensures that external distractions are effectively minimized, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in your audio or gaming experience. However, it’s worth noting that in the absence of audio playback, the InZone Buds might emit a faint white noise, which can be mildly distracting.

Microphone 

While the Sony InZone Buds excel in various aspects of audio quality and noise reduction, there’s one area where the limitations of their compact design become apparent: the quality of the built-in microphone. 

In the case of the InZone Buds, noise reduction works effectively to minimize external distractions, ensuring that your voice remains clear to the listener. However, the trade-off is that the microphone’s timbre tends to sound somewhat robotic. 

Sony InZone Buds Review: Best Wireless Gaming Earbuds

It’s worth noting that achieving a perfect balance in this regard is quite challenging. Apple’s AirPods have managed to provide a more refined and natural-sounding voice quality in the realm of true wireless earbuds, setting a high standard in this area. However, for most competing earbuds, including the Sony InZone Buds, the inherent constraints of their form factor make it difficult to achieve a completely natural and unaltered timbre in voice transmission.

Battery life

The Sony InZone Buds offer an advantage that comes with their Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) technology over the traditional Bluetooth Classic connection: notably, improved battery life. 

In radio mode, you can expect an impressive 12 hours of continuous use on a single charge. When you switch to Bluetooth mode, the battery life is equally impressive, providing a solid 24 hours of usage before needing a recharge. The included charging case takes these numbers to even greater heights, doubling the battery life to 24 hours in radio mode and a whopping 48 hours in Bluetooth mode. 

Enabling active noise reduction only slightly reduces the radio mode battery life, and in Bluetooth mode, it’s still quite respectable at 18 hours. 

If you find yourself in a hurry or with low battery, a quick 5-minute charge in the case can give you an extra hour of battery life. This “fast charge” capability is a handy feature for those moments when you need just a little more listening time without the hassle of a long wait for a full charge.

Sony InZone Buds: Conclusion

The Sony InZone Buds, as a first attempt, have emerged as a fantastic pair of gaming earbuds. These earbuds manage to tick off many boxes, providing comfort, style, impressive battery life, and even a handy companion PC application. 

Sony INZONE Buds Truly Wireless Noise Cancelling Gaming Earbuds, 12 Hour...
  • Active noise cancelling and personalized spatial sound helps you stay on top.
  • Wireless gaming headset with the industry’s longest battery life (up to 12 hrs).
  • Reduced ear contact for increased comfort.
  • INZONE Buds only supports 2.4 GHz wireless connection via USB Type-C dongle and Bluetooth LE Audio connection...
  • The AI-assisted microphone helps you be heard in action .

PROS

  • Excellent Audio Quality
  • High-Quality Active Noise Reduction
  • Long Battery Life
  • Light and Comfortable.

CONS

  • Average 360 Sound
  • Limited Bluetooth Compatibility

If you primarily use devices with a USB-C port or possess a very recent smartphone, you’ll find remarkable value for money with these earbuds. They offer a premium listening and gaming experience without the premium price tag, making them a superb choice for audiophiles and gamers alike.

You can also check out the best-selling Truly Wireless Gaming Earbuds on Amazon:

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