Smart headset Sony Xperia Ear drew a lot of attention at MWC 2016, but got to the shops just now. Gadget was one of the first of its kind: Xperia Ear is not only the possibility of voice communication and control functions of the smartphone, but will also have a digital assistant akin to Siri or Google Now. What other useful functions have the gadget and how it can be useful in everyday life — read the review.
Sony Xperia Ear is sold in a cardboard box of white color.
Inside the headset and plastic case, and under that is another box with replaceable ear cushions and ear mounts of different sizes, a cap for use without a headset attachment and a set of documents.
The headset has an unusual shape and seems quite massive, but exactly to the moment, as you put it — weighs less than seven grams, but the ergonomics are so good that the gadget is hardly felt in the ear. Of course, provided that you have correctly picked up the embouchure and the ear mount.
Most of the case is made of matte black plastic, but the trim done in silver and glossy. Looks flashy, but quite modern.
On the outer flat panel is a button, which was the only control element of the device. Under the button there is a place for led.
On the inner side, which when worn is addressed to the ear, are two flat contact charging and the proximity sensor.
The complete case is designed not only for money but also for charging the internal battery. Accessory is a small box with a hinged lid and rounded edges. It is quite compact and fits in any pocket or bag. The case is made from the same black matte plastic, pleasant to the touch and does not collect fingerprints.
At the back edge of the case located a micro-USB connector, led charge level indicator and hole for attaching the strap.
The space inside the case exactly follows the shape of the headset: if the last supply to charger and close the lid, even under strong shaking, the gadget will not move. Near contact is a mechanical button, a kind of presence sensor device. You can simply tap and swipe to see the remaining battery charge of the case. What appears to be led on the cover is actually a lens, which allows you to see the headset charge the battery in the closed state.
To complete the work Sony Xperia Ear must be installed on the mobile gadget of the same name the app from Google Play that requires the version not below Android 4.4 KitKat. On the programs page lists the unsupported devices, anywhere a number of gadgets from LG and almost all devices Xiaomi. IPhone support also provided: “Apple” smartphone to connect your headset will work, but to take advantage of its “smart” functions, no. But Xperia Ear with a smartphone Samsung Galaxy Note 3, any problems was not.
For the initial setup enough to get the gadget out of the box and make pairing via NFC. Power management in the headset is not provided: the unit will turn off automatically if I put it in a case. The first thing you will hear after you connect the headset to the smartphone and insert it in your ear (this is determined by using proximity sensor) — greeting virtual assistant. You can choose what information will be included in this message. For example, the Xperia Ear can tell you about missed calls, unread messages, calendar events and world news.
On the main page of the application displays information about the battery level of the headset and the tiles, clicking on which you can configure various functions of the Xperia Ear.
Headset control is voice — to gadget began to “listen” to you, just press the only button on the device. The default handler uses voice commands, brand assistant at Sony, but if you want you can change it to a standard Google Assistant (formerly Google Now). A list of sample commands is in a special section of the app: Xperia Ear you can make calls, type messages, control music, start navigation, learn about the weather, and perform many other actions.
It is worth saying a few kind words about the work of assistant Sony. The synthesized female voice was quite pleasant to the ear and does an excellent job of reading messages and news, and mistakes in stress, unable to meet except in some names. No problems, and voice recognition: assistant copes with the cases in the contact names and responds correctly to variations in commands. Before you perform any action, for example, call or send a message, Xperia Ear will ask for your confirmation, which you need to say “Yes” or just nod. If you are sure that will not be mistaken — confirmation at all you can disable by changing the management style to “Simplified”. All voice commands and responses assistant for some time will be available in the app as text and navigate to them by tapping on the floating button at the bottom of the screen. Of the observed weaknesses: even if the messenger selected by default Hangouts and SMS will be through the standard Messages app.
Xperia Ear is able to voice incoming messages (SMS, Hangouts, Twitter and Gmail), reading the name of the author and text. But on incoming calls the caller’s name, unfortunately, is not pronounced. Support instant messengers such as VK or Telegram as not. Hopefully, these features will be added in future firmware updates headset.
The additional features of Xperia Ear will be able to select the action to be performed when double pressing the button on the headset. This could be a replay of the welcome text, information about future events or response to the message.
Unlike most conventional headsets, Sony Xperia Ear supports Bluetooth profile A2DP that allows you to use the device not only for calls but also for playing other sounds. Of course, a quality headset for the dynamics of the music enough (and listen to it “in one ear” would be weird), but for listening to podcasts or audiobooks, the gadget fits perfectly. Problems with volume and clarity no sound in Ear speaker Xperia is used with balanced armature (“reinforcement”). This made the gadget quite loud, but at the same time, energy-efficient: the maximum volume level for most people will be even redundant.
Sony Xperia Ear belongs to the class of supercompact headsets, but because the battery capacity of the gadget up a modest 64 mAh. When playing music at maximum volume, the headset went dead in about 1.5 hours, and under normal wearing for talking and the smartphone device can work for 4-5 hours.
Using the case to charge the headset on the go: – capacity inlaid battery of 300 mAh will last about four full charge Xperia Ear. Time of full charging is about 35 minutes.
Headset Sony Xperia Ear has become quite a controversial device, but this fate is destined to any child other gadgets with the same features on the market simply no. Best device perfect for drivers: it allows to safely talk while driving, but also control the smartphone with voice commands, when it is in the holder. Xperia Ear allows you to quickly create a route, start the player or dictate a message without being distracted from driving: in this mode, the headset is really comfortable to use. In other cases, the Xperia Ear has no significant advantages over cheaper solutions, although we can recommend the headset to anyone who loves smart solutions. Similarmay gadget is neither more nor less than 13,000 rubles — this is the fee for the opportunity to be at the forefront of technology.
The author of the text: Vladimir Terekhov
Picture device: Daria Nesterovskaya
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