Sony still holds a reputable position when it comes to a niche segment like headphones. The company known to produce some quality ANC headphones is ready with its new true wireless earphone - Sony WF-SP800N. These buds are IP55 rated and have a premium build. More importantly, they bundle Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) and Sound Transparency features. Now, if you want a chic pair that sounds good and also packs plenty of features, then it's natural to get confused between Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus and Sony WF-SP800N earphones.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus have a cumulative battery life of around 22 hours and boast of being tuned by AKG. Also, they are almost in the same price bracket.
So, should you pick the Sony WF-SP800N over the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus? Or is it the other way around?
That's what we shall discuss in this post today as we pit the Sony WF-SP800N against the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus.
One of the first things you will notice about the Sony WF-SP800N is each earbud's size. Yes, the SP800N buds are huge compared to their peers and end up giving your ears a goofy look. At the same time, the heavy outer body means you have to live in the constant fear that the buds might fall off. However, if you can see past that, there's a lot that these wireless earbuds offer.
For one, the build is premium, and the fit is snug, thanks to the wingtips which make sure that the buds stay hooked to your ears. We have tried a variety of intensive workouts using these buds. So far, we haven't had any bad experience like the buds loosening or falling off.
Plus, the bigger body also means you can take them off or put them on easily. However, unlike other earphones, you'll have to twist them a bit to unplug them. It's not inconvenient, and like me, you will slowly grow used to this habit.
Sony ships two pairs of wingtips and three sets of ear tips with the SP800N. Just like any earphones, wired or wireless, the trick here is to find the right fit. The right fit will ensure that your buds stay in your ear and also isolate ambient noise from creeping in.
Sony's buds bundle touch-based controls which are a breeze to use. They are responsive and even a small brush over them will push them into action. The good thing is that most of the actions can be customized as per your preference (more on that later). The best thing is that you can summon your phone's virtual assistant with just a long tap.
As opposed to it, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus is small and compact. If you keep the buds next to each other (or their cases), you will see the massive difference is size.
Thanks to the compact design, the Galaxy Buds Plus gently slides into the ear and fits within the outer ear cavity. The fit is comfortable, and the best part is that they are lightweight and do not weigh down on your ears even when you wear them for long periods. They boast of a premium finish with the dual combination of matte and non-matte material.
Samsung ships three pairs of ear tips with the Buds Plus, and the medium size should fit well on most ears. As you may already know, a proper fit ensures good sound isolation, and you won't find any noises distracting you when you are grooving to your favorite songs.
Like the Sony earphones, these truly wireless also pack touch-sensitive buttons. They are smooth to operate and are responsive. In my almost 6 months of usage, I have had no issues in operating these buds. Again, you have to keep in mind not to touch them with overly sweaty hands.
As we mentioned above, the fit is great. However, if I were to choose the best ones amongst these two, I would side with the Sony WF-SP800N since Samsung's buds tend to loosen up during workouts.
The charging case of Sony earphones is a huge setback. It's big and is quite a task to carry around, as opposed to the small and compact case of the Galaxy Buds Plus. Interestingly, the SP800N case packs strong magnets and keeps the buds securely packed. So even if they were to fall accidentally, the buds won't be all over the place. The case is quite the opposite in the case of its competitor, which conveniently manages to fall apart when dropped. Bummer, I know.
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2. Connectivity and Battery
Bluetooth 5.0 is the new flavor of the season, and both the Sony WF-SP800N and the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus bundle this Bluetooth version. Along with good connectivity, this new Bluetooth version also brings a better range.
We haven't had any sour experience with both the buds. Both the phone and the earbuds managed to stay connected even when I walk around the house.
The best part is that both the earphones sport automatic ear detection and pause the music as soon as one of them is removed from the ear. Cool, right? In the case of the Galaxy Buds Plus, both the buds are independent of each other and you will be able to listen to songs only with one earbud, regardless of the side.
When it comes to battery life, there is not a vast difference between the two. With ANC off, the SP800N can last for 9 hours on a single charge at a moderate volume. Even though it has a massive charging case, it provides only a single charge cycle. That means you will get around 18 hours of playback time on battery before the case needs a recharge. Again, this charge cycle goes for a plunge if you switch on Active Noise Cancellation (ANC).
Oddly enough, the Galaxy Buds Plus sports a battery life of 11 hours, with the charging case providing an additional charge cycle which puts the playback time at about 22 hours. The Galaxy Buds Plus also come with wireless charging. So, if you have a wireless charging pad like the RAVPower Fast Charge or the Anker PowerPort Wireless you can top it up by simply laying the case on top of it.
3. App Features
It's 2020, and the plain simple earphones do not cut it anymore. Today, the companion app has to be as rich as the earphones themselves. In this regard, the Sony WF-SP800N and the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus do not disappoint.
The Sony Headphones app (yep, that's the name) offers EQ controls, button assignments, and the in-house spatial 360 Audio feature. It was the EQ that enticed my curiosity the most. It comes with a quirky blend of presets. And well, depending on the kind of songs you are listening to, you can just pick one from the menu. At the same time, you choose to turn on/off the active noise canceling with just a toggle (you can assign a touch function as well). And wait, that's not the end of the story.
Sony's Adaptive Sound Control feature automatically tweaks the sound isolation and noise cancellation settings based on your location. Of course, it would need access to your phone's location to function. Apart from that, there's the feature to tweak the earphone's touchpads' actions as per your convenience.
Galaxy Buds Plus' Wearable app bundles several useful and interesting features and the sound transparency feature and the EQ finds its place at the top. You can adjust the degree of sound isolation by simply dragging the slider. I found the Notification feature handy, especially when I needed to shut off notifications from apps I didn't want.
Last but not least, the Galaxy Buds Plus lets you customize only the long-press action. All the others are hard-wired. Sad but true.
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3. Sound Performance
When it comes to sound performance, the Sony WF-SP800N takes the lead. It delivers a clear sound with pronounced bass and the basshead in you will love the riveting bass. You can also play with the output. For instance, if you want slightly more bass, switch on to the Extra Bass preset.
On top of that, the noise isolation and Active Noise cancellation are spot on. Of course, it's not as great when you compare the experience to this model's pricier cousins. However, the ANC feature is worth the price.
At the same time, calls are clear. We had a noisy air-cooler running next to us during one of our tests, and the noise cancellation did its job. Strangely enough, the earphones do not cancel out the background music during calls.
Apart from that, when listening to podcasts or music, the Active Noise Cancellation feature of the Sony earphones manages to get rid of any unwanted noise, and you get to enjoy your favorite music without background distractions.
Samsung's wireless earphones are great for casual listeners. The sound is balanced (AKG tuned, remember), but it seriously lacks in the bass department. In short, if you are a basshead, you will be disappointed by the mellow bass.
On the bright side, the buds seal your ears perfectly, and the noise-isolation is spot-on. Or, if you want to stay on top of the going-ins around you, enable the Ambient Sound feature with a tap, and you will be sorted.
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Verdict: Sony Reigns
If you seek a nearly audiophile-grade audio, love a good thump of bass, and like tweaking the sound as per your taste, you should opt for Sony WF-SP800N. The overall sound quality is way above the Galaxy Buds Plus. The fit is great, and the overall feature-set is sufficient for a great sound experience. Plus, the IP55 rating means you can use them freely in the gym or outside without worrying about sweat and water damage.
If you can ignore the slightly biggish looks, these buds are (almost) worth the price.
On the other hand, the Galaxy Buds Plus is great for casual listeners, someone who works while listening to music or listen to podcasts for a great deal of time.