Sony Electronics recently announced the Inzone Buds, the company’s first gaming-focused wireless earbuds. But aren’t the Pulse Explore earbuds it announced in May, and then again in August, the company’s first gaming-focused buds, we hear you ask? Well no, Sony doesn’t seem to think so.
Sure, those are the first PlayStation-branded wireless earbuds that you’ll surely be able to use for gaming, but gaming wasn’t the focus so they don’t count. The features and specs of the Pulse Explore buds are still a mystery so they may well differ from the new Inzone Buds, but that chance looks rather small.
Sony’s Inzone Buds will get you in the… sorry
The real “first gaming-focused buds” from the Japanese company come with a $200 (R3,800) price tag and boast up to 12 hours of battery life on a single charge with another 12 hours in the case. They might not have planar magnetic drivers like the Pulse Elite and Explore but Sony’s used the same “Dynamic Driver X” driver unit last seen in the WF-1000XM5 so their audio quality shouldn’t disappoint.
These new buds support connections with the PS5, PCs, and smartphones. For the first two, you’ll need to plug in the USB-C dongle found wedged between the buds in their case. If you’re not fond of dongles, they also support Bluetooth LE Audio. Active noise cancellation is present but no mention was made of the HD Noise Canceling Processor QN2e, so just regular ANC.
Sony is putting extra emphasis on these buds’ spatial audio chops but that’ll require a bit of leg work on your end, like taking pictures of your outer ear and setting up what Sony calls ‘sound field optimisation’ and ‘sound tone personalisation’.
The former will “create a personalised hearing profile by taking photos of your ears using the 360 Spatial Sound Personaliser smartphone app,” while the latter will “play test sounds from driver units and use feedback microphones to measure how the sound fills your ear canal. Based on the acoustic analysis, the sound is then personalised using the INZONE Hub PC application.”
Alongside the Inzone Buds, Sony expanded the over-ear Inzone headphone family with the Inzone H5. If the numbers are anything to go by, these will be slightly better than the Inzone H3 but not as good as the Inzone H7.