INZONE Buds are the new pair of wireless earbuds from Sony, aimed at gamers who love to not miss out on any action on the go, but how good does it stand out?
In 2024, there are oodles of options to choose from, and now another brand is throwing its hat in the ring. Sony’s INZONE Buds are the latest arrival from the tech giant, which advertise several features optimized specifically for gaming on PlayStation devices like PS VR2, PS5, and the PlayStation Portal.
With wireless earbuds like the Beats Studio Buds + or the AirPods dominating the category, does Sony manage to stick the landing with an accomplished pair of low-latency buds that you should pick over the heated competition?
- Connectivity: 2.4GHz wireless
- Driver diameter: 8.4mm
- Weight: 6.5g (per bud)
- Compatibility: PC, PS5, Nintendo Switch, Mobile (USB-C)
- Features: Active Noise Cancelling, 360 Spatial Sound, long battery life, built-in mic with AI
- Price: $199.99
Build quality & design
The Sony INZONE Buds feel very premium. The buds come enclosed within a sturdy magnetic case that has a matte finish with a lot of curves, and two colorways – Black and White. Unlike other earbuds on the market, you get enough room to grip them properly while wearing them, and they don’t feel like they’ll slip out of your ears when you tilt your head.
The new pair of gaming earbuds from Sony look modern, unique, and feel very comfortable. The two earbuds sit inside the enclosed magnetic case perfectly on each side, with the USB-C port in the middle.
The charging port and connectivity button are located at the back of the case; only USB-C charging is supported. I didn’t need to change the ear tips, as the default one fit perfectly in my case. However, it does come with a plethora of options within the box, so comfort is not the issue at all with the Sony INZONE Buds.
The most handy feature of the Sony INZONE Buds is its ANC or Active noise cancellation. Despite being a tiny piece of tech, it works flawlessly on PS5 and mobile, eliminating every ambient sound for more immersive gaming sessions.
It works equally well on PCs, however, you’ll need to use the INZONE Hub app to adjust the levels to your liking. With the feature turned on, the battery life takes a hit, but not by too much.
Long battery life
Right off the bat, Sony INZONE Buds will give you almost 12 hours of battery life on a single charge. Yes, the case stores some charge that can be used later and when combined, the battery life could be as high as 24 hours.
The long battery life matched my schedule perfectly, which involved a bit of gaming and listening to music. Being truly wireless, my worry about wires getting tangled was completely out of the picture.
When the battery is completely drained, it will take approximately two hours to charge. However, it would’ve been better if there was support for a magnetic charger or simply wireless charging. Since it doesn’t take that long to charge, a wireless charging option would’ve been the perfect cherry on top, especially on the go.
Lacks standard Bluetooth
Sony INZONE Buds have LE Audio integration, which is great, but the lack of a standard Bluetooth connectivity option feels like a missed opportunity.
Yes, you do get lower latency while using the transceiver, which is ideal for gaming. However, I like to worry less about additional attachments to my phone, especially when I’m going out or simply working out. The presence of standard Bluetooth could’ve also improved the battery life further.
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Responsive controls with a finger tap
Sony INZONE Buds’ customizable functions allow you to control the device using your fingertips and it makes everything effortless. Be it pausing music, adjusting the volume, or simply moving over to the next song, the experience is very seamless.
The default presets worked like a charm with my phone and PlayStation 5, but if you’re on a PC, you can customize them using the INZONE Hub app.
The Sony INZONE Buds offer remarkably high-quality audio in a compact size. Sony has a reputation for creating high-quality audio products, so it’s great to see this replicated with a gaming-focused piece of kit.
The balance of lows, mids, and highs was ideal when paired with the PS5 and mobile, but when connected to the PC, it required some tweaking via the app. It would have been great if Sony provided a similar app for phones, as I believe it could enhance the audio customization experience further.
If you’re someone who plays a lot of esports titles like Counter-Strike 2 or Valorant, the Sony INZONE Buds are very reliable. The ability to hear various audio cues makes it quite easy to distinguish the footsteps of enemies. While 360 Spatial audio was flawless while gaming, it doesn’t function quite as well while listening to music.
The microphone on the Sony INZONE Buds relies on AI technology, and despite this claim, it could be better. and I believe the output could have been better. The default microphone quality lacks depth and if I had to compare, I would happily choose the AirPods Pro for their microphone quality alone.
Considering these are wireless gaming earbuds, delivering a top-of-the-line audio quality over the microphone is very difficult to achieve. I would consider getting a dedicated microphone for communicating with my teammates while playing multiplayer games. For mobile gaming, however, the Sony INZONE Buds stand out as a decent option over other competitors.
Should you buy it?
If you’re looking for a pair of gaming earbuds at the $200 price point, the Sony INZONE Buds will be a great fit. The build quality and design are far superior to other options in a similar price segment and don’t forget, the 12-hour battery backup on a single charge will be enough for a full day of gaming.
The default audio quality is ideal for all types of gaming, but if you want to get an awesome-sounding microphone with the package, then you may consider other options from the likes of Apple or Bose. But, one crucial factor plays a part here. Do you really want to buy a pair of $200 earbuds that lacks support for a basic function like Bluetooth? It severely hampers the use-case of the Sony INZONE offering.
The Sony INZONE Buds is a great pair of headphones that is tailor-made for gaming, and gaming alone. The lack of Bluetooth support in this price range is damning, as you’ll only ever want to use them with your console or mobile. This appears to be quite an oversight for Sony, who has otherwise created a decently accomplished pair of earbuds.
There is a lot of room for improvement when it comes to pairing with devices. It required me to reset the earbuds multiple times and it was very time-consuming. Having a standard Bluetooth connection could have made the Sony INZONE buds a more enticing purchase, but, unless you have an extremely specific use-case for them, there are better alternatives out there, such as the JBL Quantum TWS Air.
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