I Actually Like These Sony Headphones?!
Updated: Dec 19, 2023
If you happen to be in the market for a pair of lightweight fitness cans, Sony has your back with their Float Run headphones.
My thoughts, in gist, are that I'm deeply saddened by the fact that I have to return these soon.
On the surface, the Float Run adopts an off-ear design similar to those bone-conduction headphones. They stay on your ears using an ear hook on each end and are held together via a neckband that goes around the nape of your neck.
The headphones are just 33g and the weight is well distributed, making them exceptionally comfortable for my runs or sitting at the desk for long hours; ear hooks are secure and don't put a lot of strain on my ears in extended usage. However, I do recommend trying them out at a store first before pulling the trigger, as the fitting might not be for everyone.
Being a fitness-oriented pair of headphones, its IPX4 rating will have you covered in the event of a drizzle, but given how sweltering the weather is in Singapore at the time of writing this, you probably won't have to worry about rain for a bit.
Overall, a comfortable experience; if I had to nitpick about anything, it would be how the neckband portion curves around your nape. You won't be able lean back on taller chairs with a neck rest and of course, while you are lying down as well.
Controls & Connectivity
The Float Runs connect to your device via Bluetooth 5.0, supporting SBC and AAC audio formats. In stark contrast to most standard earbuds nowadays, downloading and application isn't a requirement so it's simply a "pair and play" solution.
On the topic of pairing, it's also a very straightforward process here. Buttons for control are found on the right side of the headphones; holding the middle button will turn the headphones on and holding it a few more seconds longer will initiate pairing mode.
Beside the power button, you'll also find the volume up and down buttons which also double as the forward and backward skip when you hold them. The power button is also slightly elevated so you'll be able to tell them apart without looking.
In the sound department, it's powered by a dynamic 16mm driver on each end. Due to the open-back nature of the headphones, sounds are more airy and spacious, with a strong emphasis on highs and mids.
Spatial separation is also somewhat discernable in a quiet environment; I usually listen to my music one click above 50% and while it is more than enough for running and working, it will get drowned out when you are using it in crowded places like buses or trains. Raising the volume to about 75% in a quiet environment such as an office will enable others to listen in and jam along with your tunes.
In a situation where someone is right next to you, they might still be able to guess the song you are listening to at 50% but at 75%, it will be audible in most situations unless you are in an extremely noisy environment like a bazaar where the external sounds will just drown your music out.
The battery life of the Float Run is rated for 10 hours of continuous playback, which holds up in my rough estimation. I daily-drove it for about two hours daily for commutes, runs and work and the battery went flat after about five days.
When it's flat, you can juice it up with an included type-c cable and it takes approximately three hours for a full charge.
Pricing & Availability
The Sony Float Run is priced at S$199 and is available on most e-commerce platforms. Unfortunately, it's only available in white.
At that price point, it most certainly isn't the most affordable, but you can justify the purchase if you regularly go for runs or do other sorts of cardio exercises. Otherwise, there will be other better alternatives if you are looking at getting a pair of cans for general work and commuting.
Surprisingly, I found myself using the Float Run quite a lot even after my testing period; they're a comfortable pair and I like that I can hang them in random places like my bag strap without the fear of losing a part of it like true wireless earbuds.
Its open-back design also allows me to make conversation without taking them off which is very convenient, although it does attract a bit of attention in public places but if it doesn't bother you, then all's good.
TL;DR, Do consider this if you run a lot, don't listen to your music at high volumes and you can reap the various benefits of open-back headphones.