Sony last year showed off its Xperia Ear Duo headphones as a concept product. Unlike most concepts which rarely get past the development stage, these are actually destined to reach the consumer market later this month.
The Xperia Ear Duo are truly wireless earbuds albeit with a twist. Whereas many headsets and earbuds boast noise cancelling properties, Sony’s latest features an open design that allows outside noises to easily pass through to your ears.
Obviously, there are pros and cons to this approach. Being able to hear the environment around you would be ideal, for example, when biking or taking part in similar activities that require attention from your surroundings. Other times, however, like at the gym or when on an airplane, tuning out background noises is preferred.
The headphones feature a four-hour battery life and can be recharged up to three times using the included carrying case. An additional hour of listening time can be achieved with just a seven-minute charge, Sony says.
They also afford both tap and gesture controls meaning you can nod your head to answer an incoming call (yes, the buds double as a headset) or turn your head left or right to skip audio tracks or go backwards.
In testing at CES, The Verge found the open-air design to mimic listening to music at a mall or shopping center. Everything sounds more ambient, the site said, noting that you can carry on conversations with friends or co-workers without music being too distracting.
Look for Sony’s Xperia Ear Duo buds to ship at the end of the month in your choice of black or gold color schemes for $279.99 (they're up for pre-order now over on Amazon).