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Sony Float Run headphones review: For the athlete in you

It’s hard to find a pair of ‘perfect’ earphones especially if you are one of those who prioritise fitness. By ‘perfect earphones’, we mean the ones that not only provide great sound quality, sweat and water resistance rating but also the ability to talk to others without having to remove them. Sony recently launched Float Run headphones aiming at solving these problems.

The Sony Float Run are a unique pair of wireless headphones that are designed for runners. They have an open-ear, off-ear design that allows users to hear their surroundings. We used the pair for a few weeks and here’s our review.

The Sony Float Run headphones feature a distinctive design, deviating from conventional headphone norms. They closely resemble neckband-style earphones, equipped with ear hooks for a secure fit and extending into a neckband that offers both comfort and stability.

The ditching of the traditional in-ear or over-ear design for a suspended, off-ear style fulfils the basic requirements for a runner – they do not put pressure on ear canals as they remain away from the ear cavity, making them a suitable choice for extended hours of usage. During our use we did not feel any discomfort while wearing it even for longer hours. But there were some other problems.

Sony said that the Float Run headphones can be worn with sunglasses/ spectacles on. This was correct to a certain extent. Firstly, wearing the headphones with specs was a bit difficult. We had to remove our specs, fit the ear hooks of the headphones, then wear glasses and finally adjust the fit of both the glasses and the headphones.

The reviewer wears a pair of spectacles and was able to use the earphones with no discomfort due to the thin temples. However, when used with glasses with thick temples, adjusting for the right fit is all the more difficult. Thankfully, the neckband is flexible enough to help on that front but it does take some time to get the right fit.

Sony Float Run headphones are as simple as a Bluetooth headset – just switch them on and start listening (if already paired). The pairing process is seamless and there is an announcement in the headphones when they are turned on and are connected to an input device. There is no app support so neither there is a hassle to download another app nor do you get any extra features to personalise music.

Sony Float Run headphones sound different and are not anywhere near to the sound that we are used to. The 16mm drivers blast the audio right into your ears from a distance so there is no stuffiness while listening to music. While the clarity is top-notch, the bass associated with Sony headphones is missing. This is because of the suspended, off-ear design.

We tried earphones in multiple situations. When used during a run outdoors, they work perfectly as most of the sound that we listened to was of the song that was playing. Simultaneously, the sound that creeped was enough to keep us aware of the surroundings. When used in the gym, the level of sound that creeped in was a bit more due to the music large speaker system.

The audio from the headphones sometimes got mixed with the audio in the gym and the crowd [thanks to New Year resolutions (pun intended)] talking in our vicinity. So, the headphones do a good job in an environment that is not too noisy and work well in a mildly noisy environment like a newsroom.

We used the earphones while sitting in the middle of a newsroom. The person sitting right next to us was able to listen to the beats, so there is some level of sound bleeding when music is being listened to at the highest volume. It is not distracting when the volume levels of the headphones are low and environmental noise is also filtered well. We could hear the person adjacent to us speaking but the other commotion was completely removed.

The Sony Float Run headphones are claimed to offer 10 hours of playtime on a single charge and it can charge under 3 hours. We found the company’s claims in line with our use. Notably, battery levels deplete according to a person’s usage so you may get a longer or shorter playback time. They are IPX4 water resistant, come with Bluetooth 5.0 and support multipoint connection.

Launched at a price of Rs 10,990, the Sony Float Run are a unique pair of headphones that aim to solve certain real-world problems for a specific set of users. While they can be used as a regular headset during work or at home, they are particularly designed for a niche audience (runners and athletes). If you are a bass lover and do not exercise that much, these earphones may not excite you. Overall, the Sony Float Run are a good pair of headphones for runners who are looking for a comfortable and stable fit. However, the sound quality is not the best, and the headphones lack bass.