SONY h.ear in 3 (WF-H800)
Design & Construction
Sony isn’t resting after their laurels after the successful launch of the WF-1000XM3. They are back again, this time adding a new model to the lineup while complementing the h.ear Series of wireless headphones. Dive straight in to the design, Sony created the WF-H800 to look stylish and youthful for the fashionable youth of today’s modern world. Styles includes the classic matte black to subtle mint and blue to flamboyant orange and reds. The earbuds itself have 2 different complementary hues with a stronger main colour as the front face of the buds while the less striking colour at the rear angled in the other way. Sony is still implementing the same tri-hold structure design of its true wireless since the WF-1000XM3. Personally, it seems to me as a over-engineered solution to keep earbuds staying in place. Regular round circular-shaped earbuds do as well and sometimes even better than these Sony earbuds, but ultimately it’s the choice that Sony has decided to take to create something different. However, with this larger earbud size, the WF-H800 is definitely nowhere near comfortable. It sticks out more than I would like it too and the sound duct goes in too deep into my ear canal. While wearing them, you will always be aware that they are in your ears. The earbuds does come with different size silicone ear tips to ensure a tight seal and secure fit. Throughout long listening sessions, I never experienced any wearing fatigue or pain in my ear canal. All controls for music playback and calls are controlled via both buttons underside the earbuds themselves. Since they still use trusty physical old school buttons, button presses are tactile and responsive. And of course, the best thing is that you have the ability to customise the controls. Now for the controls, a single press on the left earbud will gradually increase your volume and holding it down will decrease the volume. Moving to the right earbud, a single press will play/pause your music, a double press will skip forward and a triple press will skip backwards. You can hold down both earbuds for a few seconds to enable Bluetooth pairing or simply use the NFC tag on the case itself to connect the earbuds to your device. The earbuds also do a great job at resisting fingerprints smudges. When you remove either earbud from your ears, the music does auto pause and resume when you put the earbud back in your ear. Moving on to the case, it is rounded and fits right into my palm of my hands, it isn’t the smallest true wireless case when compared to the competition but it will still fit in tight jeans pockets with a bulge. A USB Type-C port can be found on the bottom of the case. The hinges holding the cover and body of the case is strong and is likely to survive a couple of accidental drops. The earbuds do magnetically click into place when they are docked into the case. Throughout my use, I dropped the earbuds couple of times and no signs of damages and scratches can be found on the exterior of the finish and also no compromises on the sound quality itself. Like all true wireless earbuds, they do dock in fairly easily and will not fall out when the case is flipped since there are magnets inside to keep them secure.
The h.ear in 3 may be a true wireless option to the wireless headphones option, the h.ear on 3 wireless, but the sound signature of both these listening devices are very different. Instead on putting the focus on the mids and vocals, the WF-H800 features a all-rounded sound signature with its excellent 6mm dynamic drivers. So let's start off with the bass response. It sounds deep, fast and full. It never managed to distort at loud volume nor did it bleed into the mids. However, it doesn't hit as deep bass-heavy kings such as the Jaybird Vistas and does not resonate that much. The highs sound very bright and filled with plenty of details. The mids do sound very crisp with vocals being in the forefront. The soundstage definitely not as wide as compared to those of the WF-1000XM3. The instrument separation is excellent and distinct left and right channels could be heard. If you are not so much of an EDM or Hip-Hop fan, I am glad to report that they do work perfectly with all other genres ranging from Pop to Jazz after you fiddle with the customisable sound settings in the Sony Headphones Connect App available for download from the App & Play Store. In the app, you will first see the battery life status of both earbuds as well as the case charge on the top. Next, there is the Status settings, which has the music player controls to enable you to play/pause or skip forward and backwards right in the app itself. You can also adjust the volume levels. In the Sound settings, you are first greeted with the equaliser option where you can choose from the presets or customise your very own. You can save up to 3 presets and switch between them seamlessly. Moving on, there is the 360 Reality Audio, Sony’s object-based spatial audio technology that enables users to be immersed in music as intended by artists. However, this feature is currently only available to users of Deezer, nugs.net and TIDAL. There is no support for mainstream music streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Music or YouTube Premium as of yet. The app will bring you through set-up process of scanning your ear and face shape to determine and fine tune the music. You can also switch the Sound Quality Mode to put a Priority on Sound Quality or Stable Connection and enable or disable DSEE HX. Lastly, we have the System settings, where you can choose to enable or disable auto-pause upon removal of earbuds from your ears. You can also customise the buttons function scheme to your most used settings so you don’t have to take out your phone to control the earbuds themselves. There is also automatic power on/off to help you conserve battery life in case you forget to turn it off. Lastly, you also change the language of notifications and voice guidance and enable or disable automatic download of software. Call quality was okay, the caller manages to hear me on the other end but the mics do pick up surrounding noises and it is nowhere near the levels of what the Apple Airpods Pro can achieve. It is important to note that there is no active noise-cancelling on the WF-H800, only passive noise isolation. However, the passive noise isolation is still done very well with a good seal from the outside noise. Those looking for a noise-cancelling option should consider the WF-1000XM3.
Connectivity & Portability
The earbuds support the basic AAC and SBC codecs together with Bluetooth Version 5.0. The earbuds also automatically power on/off when docked or taken out from the case. The battery life peaks at 8 hours per use and up to a total of 16 hours. They also feature quick charge. With a 10 minutes charge, you will get 70 minutes of playback. The package also comes with a USB Type-C cable for charging. If you are planning to watch videos or movies with these, I am glad to report that they do not suffer from any latency. Should you also wish to only use one earbud at one time, both earbuds allow for that since they use the L/R connection.
Next Generation Wishlist
In the next generation, I would like to see Sony use their higher quality codecs like LDAC or AptX. Secondly, a reduction in the size of case and earbuds together with wireless charging is always welcomed with some form of noise-cancelling and Quick Attention. Thirdly, some form of water-resistance will help users gain a peace of mind when using these during wet weather days or at the gym.
Bluetooth 5.0 & NFC
Controls For Music Play & Calls
Long Battery Life
No Wireless Charging
No High Quality Codecs
The Bottom Line
In all, the Sony h.ear in 3 definitely marks it position as a stylish alternative to basic black and white options. With the excellent sound customisation, colourful colourways and easy to use hardware and app interface, it makes it worthy of its price.
WE RATE IT!
Other Notable Competitors
Watch The Video Review