Sony SBH80 Bluetooth Headset Review

Adding on to the lineup of SBH series products from Sony, the new SBH80 give consumers a whole new concept to bluetooth headsets. It is the first time we are seeing such form factors being implemented in a bluetooth headset. Will such form factor really work well under all user scenarios? How does this set of bluetooth headset sound like? We will review the brand new SBH80 Bluetooth Headset and tell you how we feel about it.


Sony SBH80 bluetooth headset is an unique product designed very differently as compared to the previous Sony SBH products. Both SBH20 and SBH50 series are both accessories which are clipped on to the user's clothing. The SBH80 on the other hand, it worn around the neck. There are various design thoughts that are put into SBH80. In the later parts, we will try to understand the headset from the designer's point of view and give our opinions on the practicality of it. 

Design and Specifications

Sony has decided to go with a straight in earbud design for their headset. The use of earbuds serve a few purposes. Firstly they secure the earpiece into the ears for optimal sound experience. Secondly, it also provides noise cancelling properties that blocks off all unwanted noise so that you can get 100% of the music. 

SBH80 is designed symmetrically. Both sides of the headset provides controls to control of either the music or calls. The controls on the left are focused on playback. Users can control the playback of their songs on the phone with the Backward, Forward and Play/Pause button. On the right side controls, the user can control the volume or pickup/hang up calls. Sony aims to create conditioned reflex on the user by separating the controls. This is great for users who are always on the move.

Never miss a call again. The back neck support of the headset vibrates to notify user of calls. It is in fact where most of the electrical component lies.

 The power button is also found at the main neck support of SBH80.  The button is also used to pair and unpair devices connected to it.

SBH80 runs on a rechargeable battery. This rechargeable battery is charged by a microUSB cable and is compatible with any USB chargers on the market. Therefore, a USB charging adapter is not included in the box. Sony expects you to charge it with a laptop or with your phone's charger.

Audio Quality

I found that the SBH80 bluetooth headset had quite a decent audio quality when playing songs of various genres. Bass was thumping and trebles were heard distinctly. However, highs reach a threshold and crackles at that certain level. However, this could be caused by the smartphone's bluetooth audio connection issue. 
I'll rate 4 stars out of 5 as it suits my personal audio preference. 

In fact, all audio that goes through the SBH80 are digitally tuned to give users a centre seat experience. No matter where you are, sounds coming out from SBH80 are heard exactly as what its creators wanted it to be. It's like seating at the acoustic sweet spot in the cinema.


 Sony has incorporated NFC technology within SBH80. This means that the SBH80 bluetooth headset can be easily paired with your NFC enabled smartphone just by simply putting both devices together. Forget about keying in passcodes to pair bluetooth devices as NFC authentication replaces that step, allowing seamless pairing to get you started with your new gadget quickly.
 Sony SBH80 weighs barely 15.8 grams. This is great for those who are highly mobile.
Choice of buttons separated at different sides
 Clever separation of buttons that supports the internalization of conditioned reflexes, allowing quick responses to calls,playbacks and volumes
Comfortable Ear buds
 Fit nicely in most ear sizes. Cancels out noise for optimal audio experience.
Precise Microphone Placement
 Microphone is precisely placed where your voice can be picked up easily in calls without needing to bring the microphone nearing to your mouth
Alerts all calls. Never miss a call again!
SBH80 is splashproof and can be used anywhere

Key features of SBH80

  • Bluetooth 3.0, NFC
  • Multipoint connectivity, HD Voice
  • aptX® audio enhancement
  • Acoustic
  • Speaker type: 5.8 mm dynamic
  • Ear coupling: In-ear canal
  • Nominal Impedance: 15 Ohm
  • Frequency response: 10Hz - 20000Hz, (diffuse field oriented mid-high range).
  • Max SPL: 100dBA (EN 50332-1)
  • Total harmonic distortion: <0 ..="" .5="" 10000hz="" dbspl="" li="" z="">
  • Microphone: Dual MEMS
  • Battery
  • Standby time: (up to) 650 hours
  • Talk time: (up to) 9 hours
  • Stream time: (up to) 6 hours
  • Battery: 125 mAh
  • General
  • Weight: approx 15.8g (without cord)
  • Compatible with Bluetooth-enabled smartphones, tablets and computers
  • Earbuds with sleeves in 3 sizes


In conclusion, the new Sony SBH80 bluetooth headset targets those users who are always on the go and want to be always connected to their smartphone. Its audio quality is above average and great for everyday music. Additionally, the vibration feature also ensures that every call will not be missed.

However, the device is plagued with poor battery life. It only last the most 6 hours on a single charge while playing music. The device will need to be charged after a day of use and this may not be the best choice for someone who is always on the move. 

I thought that it was cool to integrate NFC technology on the bluetooth headset, but I also thought that such technology is totally redundant as the user usually only pairs the bluetooth headset once. After pairing for the first time, the NFC feature seems a bit underused and in fact, quite useless. It will be welcomed if the NFC feature was removed to bring the cost of the device down for more mainstream adoption.

Would I have bought it?
No. In my opinion, this device is more of a bluetooth hands-free headset for the business oriented people rather than for teenagers who want to enjoy tangle free wireless music. People who truly value every single call they get will enjoy the SBH80 as many features target voice quality optization. For music lovers like me, the SBH20 or SBH50 will be a cooler solution for one to really show off his gadget. Moreover, the SBH80 which costs $158 seemed a bit too expensive for a bluetooth headset.


"Unveiled to the world at CES 2014, the sleek, highly durable SBH80 with ground-breaking audio technology now retails for RRP S$158 at Sony Style, Sony Centres, Best Denki, Gadget World, Newstead Technologies, M1 Shops, Stereo Electronics, Tech@Vogue and other authorised resellers."

You can also purchase SBH80 from lazada here.

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