We don’t have much to go on except for a federal Communications Commission filing, but that’s more than enough to predict that Sony will soon launch the successor to its gym-oriented WF-SP700N noise-canceling true wireless earbuds, which will unsurprisingly be called the WF-SP800N.
The filing doesn’t reveal much. We can see a diagram of the WF-SP800N’s case (or a portion thereof) accompanied by some labeling around charging specifications. Still, the shape of the charging case is a clue — the WF-SP700N uses a fairly chunky, square charging case with rounded corners, while the more recent WF-1000XM3 uses a more compact design. If the diagram is any indication, we can expect the WF-SP800N to follow this evolution, making for a more pocketable product overall. Though it’s risky to infer the size of the earbuds from the profile of a charging case, it certainly looks like the new buds will be smaller than their predecessors.
If the WF-SP800N are indeed a hybrid of their WF-SP700N predecessor and Sony’s current true wireless flagship, that could make for a really compelling new product. We were impressed with the WF-SP700N’s sound quality and IPX4 water resistance when they debuted, but many of their other features seemed like afterthoughts. Active noise-canceling, one of Sony’s major strengths in the headphone market, isn’t especially effective on the WF-SP700N, and battery life — at just 3 hours — was barely acceptable by 2018 standards. It certainly doesn’t hold up at all now that we’re in the final days of 2019.
Sony’s WF-1000XM3, by contrast, get almost everything right: Great sound, excellent noise canceling, and until recently, some of the best battery performance we’ve ever seen in a set of true wireless earbuds with or without ANC. But the WF-1000XM3 debuted without one critical feature: Water resistance. Although they might survive a modest workout, officially they have no IPX rating for either water or dust resistance. It’s one of the many attributes Apple’s AirPods Pro possess that make them such a shockingly good alternative to the Sony WFs.
The WF-SP800N, when they eventually make their way to retail, could just be the true wireless option Sony fans have been waiting for: Active noise-canceling earbuds that sound great, fit in your pocket, last all day, and can withstand all of the sweat and water associated with even the most grueling of workouts.
At this point, it’s unlikely the WF-SP800N will see the light of day before the end of 2019, but CES 2020 is around the corner and the annual Las Vegas electronics megashow is the most likely event for Sony to officially announce the existence of the WF-SP800N, along with a possible date for sales to start and details on pricing.
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