Sony Xperia Ear Duo Review: Productive Bluetooth headphones
Sony's Xperia Ear Duo could be a good match for busy office workers who want a distraction-free lifestyle, but the audio quality will probably leave you wanting.
- Comfortable fit
- Works well if you want passthrough audio for an office
- Doesn't exactly look like you're wearing a Bluetooth headset
- Smart integration to take you away from your phone
- Ordinary audio performance
- Large carrying case
- Head gestures look weird and don't always work
Sony has a significant share of the headphone market and has put considerable resources into developing some of the very best headphones you can buy as well as more affordable everyday fare.
The Xperia Ear Duo is something a little different, however. Their Xperia branding is quite deliberate as they're part of a small number of Xperia designs that Sony has launched at successive Mobile World Congress events around the idea of providing accessories that take you away from your phone screen without depriving you of actual information or cutting you off from the world.
- Looped design ensures they stay on even when working out
- Not as discreet as other wireless earbuds, though
- Charging case is larger than most
- Open-loop design lets you keep track of noises around you
- The lack of noise isolation means audio quality is pretty mediocre
- Four hours of battery life is okay, and the charging case adds an extra 12 hours on top of that
- Touch controls are hit and miss
- Head gestures are a little unreliable as well
Pricing and availability
The Xperia Ear Duo retails in Australia for $399 from Sony Store and JB Hi-Fi.
There's not anything exactly like the Xperia Ear Duo thanks to its particular productivity focus, but there are products with much of the same appeal for voice control via either Google Assistant or Siri.
The Google Pixel Buds work with Google's Assistant and include touch panels for simple operation if that appeals to you. Apple's iconic AirPods offer better sound than the Xperia Ear Duo but a rather more obvious design style and are best suited for iPhone users, for example.