Gadget of the Week – Sony Xperia Ear Duo

Published on April 19, 2018

Have you ever been waiting at a train station with headphones on, only to have your music completely drown out the sound of an incoming announcement from the PA system?

Or maybe you’ve been hard at work with your favorite podcast in your ears, only to have your supervisor yell at you for not perking up right when they called your name?

Both of these situations have certainly happened to us Geeks - maybe even more times than we can count!

Noise canceling headphones are great, but it’s hard to deny that they can sometimes work a little too well, creating a whole set of new problems. Wouldn’t it be great if you could combine a powerful listening experience with the ability to also tune into the most important noises in your environment?

Take that promise, multiply it by the power of “truly wireless,” and toss in seamless voice and gesture control for good measure, and you’d wind up with a set of headphones a lot like Sony’s new Xperia Ear Duo earbuds.

The Xperia Ear Duo system promises to offer users a completely unique “dual listening” experience, combining your chosen audio with the environmental sounds happening all around you. Unlike traditional earbuds, the Xperia Ear Duo’s innovative design does not completely block your ear canal, making it easier to hear ambient noises, which are processed and transmitted straight into your ear by the device’s in-unit spatial acoustic conductor.

Even better, the Ear Duo system promises to be adjustable and ergonomically designed for comfort. It also boasts integration with many of your favorite apps, letting your earbuds act as a sort of wearable assistant and remind you of meetings, handle incoming calls, or listen to the news of the day, hands-free.

That’s right: hands-free. The Xperia Ear Duo system offers compatibility with Google Voice and Siri systems, and supports not only tap control, but also head gesture recognition (like, say, nodding your head up and down to receive an incoming phone call, or shaking your head from side to side to reject it).

Now, it’s important to recognize that this system isn’t for everyone! If you want an immersive listening experience that can block out distractions, you’d be better suited to another set of truly wireless earbuds. But for anyone who’s looking to try out the potential of “dual listening,” the Xperia Ear Duo may be worth a shot.

You can currently preorder an Xperia Ear Duo system for $280 through Amazon. Sets are projected to start shipping in late May, 2018.

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