Sony didn’t have a ton of new products to show off at its annual press conference for CES 2016, but the company did show that its ready to rumble with the likes of Beats, SMS, and other stylized headphone brands with its new h.ear Bluetooth headphones.
These cans come in a wide variety of colors, and they’re nimble frame is one of the lightest we’ve ever encountered from the brand, which is impressive considering that these headphones harbor a Bluetooth battery, Active Noise Cancelling (ANC), and of course, on-board amplification.
That’s a nice selection of features to pile into one set of headphones, but perhaps the most intriguing is Sony’s claim that the h.ear on are hi-res, which, given the high compression used for Bluetooth transfer, is essentially an oxymoron. However, Sony has bet big on its new LDAC coding technology, which claims to offer four times the audio resolution streaming as traditional Bluetooth signals. We’re a little wary of that claim — physics is physics, after all — but the headphones do sound very balanced, and from what we could tell in the crowded venue, pretty accurate and present as well.
The h.ear on is one of three new products in the h.ear series, followed by a new Bluetooth speaker in the h.ear go, and the new h.ear in, which we didn’t check out as we were told that what was being shown on the show floor was simply a production model.
Sony has really run the gamut this year in the audio space, expanding both its hi-res line, and adding a pile of new boom-tastic speakers for its Extra Bass lineup, essentially trying to get a piece of both margins of the headphone market. We don’t yet know how that gamble will pay off, but we’ll find out when the new cans hit the market sometime next year, with price points yet to be disclosed.