Sony Bluetooth NFC Headset SBH80 – review

As much as I like my phones, I also like headphones. I have reviewed several pairs already on here. Go to menu, reviews, accessories, headphones. I have owned far a fairly broad selection of headphones, so feel free to ask for a comparison to another make if necessary.

First up the official specifications –

– Bluetooth 3.0, NFC, Multipoint connectivity
– HD Voice, Noise cancellation
– AptX audio enhancement (must have)

Box Contents

– SBH80 unit
– Sony AI-1000 cicroUSB charging cable
– Earbuds (3 sizes)
– Documentation (useless)

Supported Bluetooth Profiles:

-Handsfree profile (HFP) v1.6 (HD ready)
-Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) v1.2
-Audio Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP) v1.4 – Control and Target role

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% (100Hz .. 10000Hz @ 100dBSPL)
Microphone: Dual MEMS


-Power key
-Answer/Call end
-Play/Pause music key
-Next/Previous track keys

Connectors: Micro USB charger connector

Battery Capacity:

Standby time: (up to) 400 hours
Talk time: (up to) 8 hours
Stream time: 8 hours
Battery: 115 mAh

First up, the enclosed documentation is rubbish. The manual or quick start pamphlet is all full of meaningless pictures. So head over to the online user guide by Sony. Click here. There is also a link to the PDF manual.

Sony advertise the headset as splash proof, so if it rains there is nothing to worry about. However, there appears to be no official IP rating so I would be a little careful.

Pairing was simple. I fully charged the headset, and pressed the tiny button to switch on. It takes 2.5 hours to charge the band for 8 hours usage. Then using the NFC from the headset and the Note 3 paired the two together. The headset allows for 2 devices to be paired.

So the million dollar question. What are they like to use? And what do they sound like? The band sits on your neck, and once there you won’t know it’s still on your neck. It also takes the strain off the ear buds which is important since the cable from the band to the ear buds is rather thin. This in turn takes the weight off your ears. These in ear buds are so comfy. The band has the flap concealing the micro USB slot and the on / off switch. On the left hand side is the control for the volume up and down and phone. Press the phone button to accept the call. Press and hold to reject call. During the call, pressing the phone button mutes the mic, pressing and holding rejects a call whilst on a call. Whilst on a call, if another call comes in, you can switch back and forth between the calls. The right side has the music controls. Play/Pause. Track rewind and fast forward. Holding down the music controls scrolls forward or back along the track. The band also contains a tiny notification light -:

-Flashing red light: battery level is between 0% and 4%.
-Yellow light: battery level is between 5% and 29%.
-Green light: battery level is between 30% and 100%.
-Flashing cyan-coloured light: headset is in pairing mode.
-Flashing purple light: a call is coming in.

If you have a Sony smartphone like the Xperia Z1 or upcoming Z2 you can set to receive a notification when the headset battery is critically low. The main antenna for the device rests on the right cable, so it’s best to have your phone on the same side to ensure perfect sound without any drop outs in sound. In the time I’ve used the headset I’ve not suffered from this.

Sound and call quality. Making and receiving calls, peoples voices were crystal clear. The sound quality as a music player was very good but not as good as say the Sony XBA-H1 or anything more expensive. There is sub bass attack if the tracks include it, and at sometimes this might feel too much, but it’s a fairly neutral musical sound in the mid and treble. In fact, the overall presentation is fairly neutral with a slight hint of bass at times, although some bass driven tracks will explode with bass and muddle the midrange. It’s an odd experience at times. The soundstage is slightly closed in, but separation is reasonable. The presentation is trying to be too accurate at times, and the the treble is the weakness in this setup. But I am being super analytical. Overall it’s a great all round package. The sound is private so I didn’t get any complaints that the sound was leaking and in the same light I couldn’t hear anyone either. In terms of volume I’ve not had issue with the sound volume not being loud enough.

These are very popular headphones/headset and if you want to know more headover to Amazon’s Deal on the Sony SBH-80 Stereo Bluetooth Headset

If you have any questions, please leave a question in the comments section.

28 thoughts on “Sony Bluetooth NFC Headset SBH80 – review

  1. With recent Z1 Kit Kat my SBH52 sounds even better – I know it has not got aptx. The main thing for me is I find the reproduction really enoyable and my experience from high end hifi (Linn/Naim) is that if the reproduction is musical it probably is good reproduction. At nearly £80 the SBH80 may be too expensive. I’ll wait 6 months and see what happens to the price.


  2. Hey can you tell me which charger I can use to charge this headset? I have ordered one online and it’ll arrive in a few days. I fear to use the one I got with my Xperia Z because it is a high capacity charger, I feel it will damage the little battery in the headset. Or am I wrong?


      1. Yeah, thanks. Also the official user guide in the link that you provided says any Sony charger is recommended. So I guess it won’t do anything bad.


  3. Hey. I need a suggestion. I am planning to buy a sony headset to use it with my tablet. Sony Sbh 52 can be used directly without an earbud to answer calls. which will be convenient with tablet. And at same point of time I need an headset with good sound. SBH 80 has AptX audio enhancement. So suggest me whether I should go with Sony SBH 52 or SBH 80. Which of the two sounds best ? or they both delivers almost similar sound.


    1. Look, I got my SBH80 delivered a few days after the first comment I made here. I must say that it is an awesome one! I am in love with it and also my friends. It is so light and so comfortable that you don’t even feel something is tucked in your ears or something is resting on the back of your neck.

      The sound quality is also awesome as per my need. Now I seriously can’t compare it with SBH52 for you as I have never used that one. It is your need that will decide which one you should buy. If you feel that the 52’s direct usage for calls will really help you more than this then buy 52, I can only say SBH80 is a brilliant one!


  4. I chose SBH80 because it is the only one in SBH serious that keeps you free from ‘clipping something’ to your shirt. It has a little and light plastic unit which contains all of its circuit and battery which rests on your neck whereas for all others it has to be clipped to your shirt which makes them uncomfortable.


  5. I am having problems with volume levels. If I get the right tips and get a good seal in my ear, then the music quality is good and I have to turn it down to about 80% or it is too loud. However, the phone volume is much lower and if I don’t have the tip totally jammed in my ear canal, the volume in not loud enough at 100%. If I force the tips in my ears, I can hear very clearly, but if there is any outside noise or a slight loss of a seal (which happens every time you open your mouth very wide) it is not loud enough. Anyone else having this problem?


  6. Hello Friend,
    Need your valued expert advice,
    I am looking for similar in the ear headset bud type bluetooth headset with mic with stereo and Mute function for calling especially, currently I am using Jabra UC150ms
    for my office work,
    I need a good one similar to this SBH80, however the housing with battery i am avoiding as that may explode… maybe so strict no no for Jabra sport plus,
    but i do need a good ear bud fit, and lesser package to carry, and i dont mind to keep the battery housing seperately.
    please suggest something if you know of,



  7. I just got these to go with my Sony Smart Watch 3 and Z3C. Agree with pretty much all of your review – bass is slightly emphasized, but pretty balanced and great-sounding overall. A post above says these are balanced armatures, but they’re not – just small 5.8mm dynamic drivers.

    Can’t believe quite how ell BT headsets have come along over the years.


  8. It’s successfully paired with my lenovo p780, but undetected on my Samsung Galaxy Tab 2, and my windows 8.1 laptop.

    Do you have any idea what might happened?


    1. I can send you one, but you will have to pay me the shipping costs (won’t be much I guess). You can reach me on edusmits atsign gmail dot com


  9. Good day guys, I ve had this earpiece since it lunched and I hav really enjoyed it so far but lately when am calling someone or I have a call the other party don’t seem to hear me and am wondering wht the problem might be bcus every other thng is working perfectly, I can still play my some from my phone, oh, by the way am using a Samsung Galaxy Note 4… Pls y’all I need some help as I still luv this piece, thanks….


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