After reviewing the MDR-XB50BS and the MDR-XB70BT, what’s left in the trio of Extra Bass sports headphones series is the MDR-XB80BS. This model is also the highest-priced at S$199, but I feel it is also the best-designed earphones among the 3 for sports use. And right now, Sony Singapore is having their year-end sale which brings down the retail price by 20%.
The main units are built behind the ears which offers the most secure fit to wear for active sports. Having said that, the controls are a little harder to reach compared to the other 2 models. Since since the units are IPX5 rated, the buttons are harder to press, and I find it easier to change tracks on my device instead. Battery life is 7 hours compared to 8.5 hours for XB70BT and 6 hours for XB50BS.
Needless to say, the bass response is full and engaging. But I felt the bass is less full than the other 2 units, while the treble remains adequately clear but given lower priority if the bass comes in strong. This works well for me because I’m not really a basshead and I like a balance between treble and bass. Since the XB80BS is able to offer me fat cushy bass without affecting the treble sparkle, it will work for me. In fact, the XB80BS makes modern pop more listenable for middle-aged people like me. Classical genres won’t work that well as it lacks that extra sparkle that sends chills along your spine. But you aren’t going to listen to classical music when you workout, are you? Instruments with strong treble overtones like saxophones still sound pretty good and piercing.
Which of the 3 earphones would I buy? If budget is not an issue and you need a pair of sports earphones with big bass for that adrenaline boost, the XB80BS is the top choice for me. I also prefer the audio balance of the XB80BS.
The XB70BT are great for consumers with sensitive ears and prefer to wear lighter earbuds, plus ease of controlling music from the buttons around the neck. The XB50BS is only for budget conscious shoppers who can stomach the large controls hanging from your ears.
All 3 Extra Bass sports headphones are on sale this year-end at all Sony Singapore retail stores, selling at 20% discount off retail price. The MDR-XB80BS retails for S$199.
Official Product Website: http://www.sony.com.sg/electronics/in-ear-headphones/mdr-xb80bs