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Sony INZONE Buds Review

I’ve been anticipating the arrival of Sony INZONE Buds, the so-called in-ear wireless headphones designed primarily for gaming, for quite some time. Finally, the INZONE Buds have arrived, but let me emphasize that Sony specifically designed these headphones for gaming. Perhaps only about 10% of their design caters to music, which may not be acceptable for all-around headphone enthusiasts. I must also note that for a price of $199, I was expecting a somewhat broader utility from the Sony INZONE Buds.

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Wearing glasses, I’ve experienced discomfort with over-ear headphones—some heavy and pressing on my temples. In summer, larger headphones with synthetic leather cushioning can be sweaty. Of course, there will be a generation of gamers who won’t consider INZONE Buds as real headphones at all. Still, for me, INZONE Buds seem ideal for those who don’t want to deal with the weight and size of larger headphones, given their price tag of $199

Technical Specifications of Sony INZONE Buds

  • 4 GHz wireless connection with PC or PlayStation 5;
  • 4 mm speakers;
  • 360° spatial sound and precise 3D audio;
  • Lightweight (6.5 g per earbud);
  • Active noise cancellation;
  • Battery life up to 30 hours in wireless mode, approximately 2 hours for a full charge;
  • IPX4 moisture resistance equivalent;
  • Price $199.

Sony INZONE Buds Design and Build

INZONE Buds are available in black or black and white. The pair I have is in black, which seems like a more practical choice from a maintenance perspective. The headphones may seem large in size, but I don’t think there’s any reason to be afraid of that. They appear light and very comfortable. I don’t believe users with smaller ears would have any issues using INZONE Buds.

Sony INZONE Buds Review (2)

Handling the USB dongle with care is essential, as it may not withstand accidental impacts or catching on clothing. Losing or damaging it could affect the headphone’s functionality. It’s worth noting that the USB dongle has only a Type-C connection, which might pose a problem for users of older laptops and desktop computers. Unfortunately, there’s no transition to USB-A in the package.

Read Also: Sony WF-1000XM5 Review: Exceptional Sound & Noise Canceling

What’s in the Package

In the package, you’ll find the headphones themselves, placed in a fairly large charging case. The case also contains a connection dongle for the computer, smartphone, or PlayStation 5. The promise also includes the assurance that the dongle establishes a connection with Nintendo Switch and other devices with USB Type-C. Unfortunately, connecting INZONE Buds to Xbox Series S/X is not possible, and Bluetooth compatibility is limited. On the headphone case, you’ll find a button that allows you to create a Bluetooth connection.

Sony INZONE Buds Review (5)

The packaging box also includes a charging cable and several silicone tips for you to find the size that suits you. The technical data notes that the headphones are equivalent to IPX4 moisture resistance. This implies they lack a formal certification, yet the manufacturer estimates potential approval for moisture resistance. The headphones exhibit a level of water resistance despite the absence of a specific certificate.


Sony INZONE Buds are officially designed for use with PlayStation 5 and Windows 10/11 computers, using the aforementioned USB dongle with a 2.4 GHz wireless connection.

In theory, a Bluetooth connection is also meant for use with Android devices, but it is widely known that Apple devices do not recognize INZONE Buds via Bluetooth. Additionally, Bluetooth cannot connect INZONE Buds to Nintendo Switch. The issue is that INZONE Buds only support Bluetooth LE Audio (codec: LC3) connection. INZONE Buds do not support common (perhaps even considered classic) Bluetooth codecs like SBC, AAC, aptX, and LDAC.

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Therefore, if your device does not have Bluetooth LE Audio, then you cannot connect INZONE Buds in this way. This means that the Bluetooth connection goes beyond not only all Apple devices (iPhone, iPad, Mac computers) but also to a very wide range of Android devices. I was unable to connect INZONE Buds to Xiaomi 13T using Bluetooth, and Samsung Galaxy A33 also did not recognize INZONE Buds in the Bluetooth case.

Sony INZONE Buds Application

INZONE Buds come with the INZONE Hub application for the computer, handling headphone sound and microphone settings. Additionally, the application may facilitate future software updates for the headphones. In the application, you can also adjust the sound for each program and game separately. There are also Spatial Sound virtual multi-channel sound settings.

Sony INZONE Buds App

Spatial Sound is one of the tricks of INZONE Buds, which does not really work well. Or at least this trick is quite complicated with a rather regrettable end result. Interesting, but not more than that. The most interesting section of INZONE Hub might be the accompanying smartphone application, which allows you to customize the sound directly for your ears. The idea involves taking a photo of your ears and sending it to Sony, where ear images are analyzed. It’s logical to assume that the analysis distinguishes between the right and left sides, potentially enhancing the determination of sound direction vertically. However, this improvement does not extend to sounds from the rear.

Sony INZONE Buds App (1)

Taking pictures of the ears is associated with a double sign-in with a Google account and then with a Sony user account, which is not a particularly fast process. After that, the smartphone app instructs you in a rather dreadful, synthetic voice to turn your head; at first, I didn’t really understand what the synthetic voice wanted from me. In the first two attempts, we (or it) failed to achieve the desired result.

The idea of adjusting the sound to your ears seems interesting, but something doesn’t quite work yet, or the perceived differences are more of a placebo effect. Here, it must be noted that Sony recently announced INZONE Buds headphones, and improvements are anticipated. The function is so well hidden in the application that it might suggest Sony is somewhat ashamed of it.

Sony INZONE Buds App (2) Sony INZONE Buds App (3)


Sony INZONE Buds headphones offer a gamer-centric sound, highlighting distinct steps and reducing bass. The INZONE Hub app allows adjustments, but these don’t transfer to other devices. With a Windows computer and the INZONE Hub, the audio aligns with gaming expectations.

For some reason, during quiet periods, the Sony INZONE Buds headphones make a white noise, which is somewhat like a shushing sound. One might expect this from Bluetooth headphones costing around $50, but not from $200 Sony headphones with a self-made 2.4 GHz wireless connection. Moreover, this shushing noise is quite pronounced.

Sony INZONE Buds Review (3)

Unfortunately, I don’t have a PlayStation 5, so I can’t say anything about how this console cooperates with INZONE Buds headphones. Connected to an Android smartphone (2.4 GHz with a dongle), INZONE Buds sound excessively quiet, even at maximum Android volume. Adjustments made on Windows don’t carry over to the headphones in the Android scenario. Consequently, the sound appears flat and lacks the expected impressiveness.

The 2.4 GHz connection ensures imperceptible audio latency, and there should be no complaints here. The connection is the same as used by many other gaming wireless headphones.

For noise suppression, INZONE Buds use the same Sony algorithms and good external microphones, achieving impressive results. INZONE Buds perfectly suppress loud keyboard and mouse activity, and the headphones handle uniform noises well, even a TV playing in the background won’t be a disturbance.

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With machine learning algorithms, the Sony INZONE Buds microphone successfully removes various background noises; you can hardly hear the keyboard and mouse. Still, one can observe that the headphones allow the first click to pass through before subsequently eliminating the remaining clicks. Louder sounds are audible, but discerning the exact nature of what sounded, scratched, or rubbed proves challenging. Overall, this is a pretty cool feature. The microphone itself sounds quite average, and in my opinion, it is too quiet. But from headphones of this size and the microphone’s distance from the mouth, you shouldn’t expect anything significantly better.

Sony INZONE Buds Review (1)

Review Conclusion of Sony INZONE Buds

In conclusion, I would like to say that INZONE Buds headphones perfectly fulfill what Sony has promised – these are excellent headphones for gaming with Windows computers and, most likely, PlayStation 5. Everything else is (as modern people say) outside the comfort zone of INZONE Buds.

It is clear that Sony’s excellent noise cancellation is one of INZONE Buds’ strengths, and it also forms a significant part of INZONE Buds’ price. But then the question arises – who exactly will use this noise cancellation? If you have 6 children, 3 cats, 2 wives, and a mother-in-law from a previous marriage at home, then you probably won’t have time for games with or without background noise.

Sony INZONE Buds Review

I wouldn’t listen to music with Sony INZONE Buds, and I wouldn’t consider other connection methods, except for the native 2.4 GHz dongle, in these headphones. This means that these $199 wireless headphones have a rather narrow application. I would still expect a somewhat more universal application for this price, but everything advertised has been achieved.

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