While in-ear buds have been in vogue for a while, they haven't been able to dislodge their wired fellows or larger headphones completely primarily because of the gulf in audio quality, comfort and sometimes looks. Their standalone nature also makes them pretty easy to lose and not all of them boast exceptionally good battery lives. However, when Apple announced AirPods last month, the company made a strong pitch about how AirPods offered brilliant audio quality and long battery lives, which is yet to be tested as the product isn't available in the market as yet.
However, Sony have quietly been working on wireless earbuds of their own and the new Xperia Ear, which the company calls 'an in-ear personal assistant', is now available to pre-order on the Xperia Online store for £179. The earbuds will be more like wearing Amazon Echo in your ears- letting you get things done by communicating with it through voice and head gestures.
In terms of looks, Xperia Ear looks quite suited to the ear and doesn't protrude downwards like Apple's AirPods. It's wide body looks like ensuring that it won't fall off the ear and will hang on even if you tilt your head in any direction. At just 6.8g, it is incredibly lightweight and comes with IPX2 water protection which should be sifficient to keep it safe in rainy weather. However, the battery is a tiny 65 mAh one and will support up to 4 hours of talk time on a single charge, making it not really ideal for a whole day's work.
Xperia Ear will come with a charging case which not only keeps them safe when you're not using the earbuds, but also packs a 300 mAh battery pack which charges them up for the next round of usage. The case weighs just 40g and will fit easily in your pocket, letting you charge your earbuds on the go whenever you're not using them. The earbuds can connect via Bluetooth and NFC and features sensors like Accelerometer, Gyroscope and Proximity sensor as well.
In terms of functionality, Xperia Ear can, if you ask it, do a range of tasks like making calls, writing texts, running web searches and offering directions. It can even read out incoming messages from social media apps and will let you respond to them by simply nodding your head first and them dictating to it. If you set it up accordingly, it will also let you know about the latest news, weather updates, traffic conditions and your next calendar event.
“As a photographer, I like to be aware of the world around me and I found it a liberating feeling not being tied to a smartphone. I was able to travel and work around the city, knowing Xperia Ear would remind me of my schedule and messages,” said Tom Oxley, a portrait photographer based in London. Sony have released a video documentary on how Xperia Ear can help users navigate through cities and help with their daily routines and tasks which should give you a good idea on its capabilities. If you pre-order the Xperia Ear on Xperia online store today, you should receive it around mid-November along with a £45 voucher which you will be able to redeem against any smartphone purchase at the Xperia Store online.