Sony just made all other wireless gaming earbuds obsolete

The Sony Inzone Buds stand out among other earbuds.
Jacob Roach/

I struggled to find an audio solution that worked for PC gaming. Over-ear headphones, even premium ones like the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pros, irritate my ears by pressing into my glasses. And earbuds, regardless of brand, either lack the features I want from a premium audio experience or come with terrible Bluetooth lag. The new Sony InZone Buds have finally solved my problem.

They are a set of true wireless earbuds made for gaming. This isn’t anything new, as we’ve seen with earbuds like the HyperX Cloud Mix. The difference here is that the InZone Buds come from Sony, maker of some of the best true wireless earbuds.

Why are InZone Buds special?

Case for Sony Inzone Buds.
Jacob Roach/

However, let me back up. After ditching the Arctic Nova Pros, I purchased a pair of the Jabra Elite 7 Pros. These earbuds are fantastic, as you can read in our Jabra Elite 7 Pro review. It is one of the few products that has received a perfect score from . high praise.

They are great, and have been constant companions for gaming, listening to music, and traveling. The only downside, and it’s a big one, is Bluetooth. The lag is so bad that YouTube videos are out of sync, and there’s off-putting lag when playing games. Apparently, this is a PC issue, as my experience with the Samsung Galaxy S22+ is absolutely fine.

Still, I dealt with it. I learned the delay and anticipated it, built it into muscle memory as if I was using a new gaming keyboard. It was a revelation to plug the InZone Buds in and come back to perfectly synced audio.

The earbuds support both Bluetooth and 2.4GHz connections via a USB-C dongle. This dongle has a Switch for PC or PlayStation 5, and in both cases, the latency is so low it may as well not exist.

Dongle for Sony Inzone Buds.
Jacob Roach/

The InZone buds are good for gaming due to the lack of latency. However, that’s not why I recommend them. It is a combination of Sony’s exceptional sound quality and world-class Active Noise Cancellation (ANC). The InZone Buds also don’t bring Sony’s usual expertise with true wireless earbuds. The InZone buds include Dynamic Driver X, which is the same driver you’ll find in the flagship Sony WF-1000XM5.

There are other products that do this Some? What the InZone buds do, but nothing that does it all. It’s the combination of great sound quality, ANC, and low latency that makes them the only pair of true wireless “gaming” earbuds to get excited about.

World Class ANC

One earbud is protruding from the case of Sony Inzone Buds.
Jacob Roach/

The biggest selling point for me is the ANC, which is some of the best I’ve ever heard (not heard?). It feels natural, and that’s the biggest hurdle for ANC in earbuds. With my Jabra, I had to swap out a larger tip to get that enclosed sound field that ANC is known for. It worked great, but it led to a situation where I could feel every movement of my mouth in my ears. no fun.

The InZone Buds don’t have that problem. It’s not a perfect seal like Jabras offers, but ANC still works exceptionally well at blocking out ambient noise. Battery life on the Sony isn’t terrible either, unlike the Razer Hammerhead Pros, which also have ANC. I’ve used them with ANC on 10-12 hours a day for about two weeks, only putting them in the case for a short while or overnight, and they’ve never come close to dying.

A big part of ANC is an ambient sound mode, which is another area in which the InZone Buds excel. A tap on the left earbud cycles through the sound modes, including an ambient sound. It’s the most natural I’ve heard, in my Jabra, Arctic Nova Pros, and even Sony’s over-ear WH-1000XM4s. The morning I wrote this article, I actually sat in my car to get coffee with the earbuds in, but after turning on the ignition I realized they were still in. Don’t worry, I returned them to their case before take off.

Half the reason I forgot they were in was because of the ambient sound mode. The second part was comfort, which is another area where the InZone Buds stand out. They’re remarkably light at about 5.6 grams per piece, which is a gram heavier than the Jabra Elite 7 Pro and a little lighter than the Sony WF-1000XM5. Unlike Sony’s previous designs in mainstream earbuds, the InZone Buds don’t concentrate all the weight on your ear canal, instead spreading it out along a thin bar that runs down the sides. I used them for eight hours straight without any issues, and I can’t say that about most earbuds.

tuned for gaming

The Sony Inzone buds sit outside the case.
Jacob Roach/

However, there is a compromise in sound quality with comfort. The InZone buds sound great, but they lack the skull-shaking bass that some earbuds can deliver. Bass is present but not ostentatious. I found myself turning to EQ for mixes that are less heavy on bass to fill out the sound. The InZone Buds never delivered the results I’d expect from something like Jabras for low-end, but with a little tweaking, they can come close.

Thankfully, Inzone buds sound great elsewhere. The high-end is very present without being harsh; A tough balance for even the most luxury earbuds. The middle sections are also clear with clear dips in the lower and upper areas to keep the earbuds from getting dirty. The InZone buds don’t have the mid-scoop that some cheaper earbuds have, instead having what seems to be a surgical cut to make music, games, and movies sound clear in the mid-range.

Still, it’s clear that the earbuds are tuned for gaming. The focus on midrange cut and high-level fidelity on bass is clearly designed to help your awareness in games. This compromise means the music doesn’t sound as good. You can still hear music – I haven’t had any problems on that front – but you’ll need to resort to EQ to get everything sounding the way you like it.

inzone hub

Settings inside the Sony InZone Hub.
Jacob Roach/

Thankfully, Sony gives you access to EQ through the InZone Hub. This utility is an essential companion to InZone Buds, allowing you to customize the functionality and sound profile of the earbuds. As for EQ, Sony sets up bass boost and music/video presets for you, as well as a custom preset. Unfortunately, you’re only able to customize that single custom preset, so you can’t set up multiple EQs and quickly swap between them. The cool thing is that the InZone Hub applies this EQ to the earbuds, even when you don’t have the software open.

Still, this EQ is not very powerful. Sony includes 10 bands with a range of 24 decibels (+12dB to -12dB), but there’s no way these numbers are accurate. I could push the sliders all the way to both ends and hear only minor differences in the overall sound profile. I gave up the built-in EQ for the SteelSeries Sonar, which offers much more flexibility. I have to keep sonar on to apply EQ, but it’s a better solution than Sony’s built-in EQ.

Elsewhere, the InZone Hub is more useful. For starters, it creates two virtual channels in Windows, so you can route your game and chat audio separately and adjust the balance between them. You don’t even need to go to the InZone hub to control the balance. You can configure the earbuds to adjust game and chat volume by tapping them.

Tap Settings in the Sony InZone Hub.
Jacob Roach/

Each earbud supports single, double and triple tap, as well as a long press, each of which you can assign a command. Sony includes a few categories – for example, you can assign ambient sound controls to the left earbud and playback controls to the right – but you can also configure custom profiles on each.

Sony also brought some of its mainstream technology to the InZone Hub. You can use the app to measure your ears with a picture, creating a custom profile for spatial audio. Additionally, the app can play test tones to personalize the sound profile and can also tell you whether the earbud tips provide an airtight fit.

InZone Hub becomes even more powerful when you bring in a profile. You can create profiles that save all your settings, as well as export them for use with other systems. Additionally, you can sync profiles with apps, and InZone Hub will automatically swap profiles to yours when that app is in the foreground.

An extraordinary pair of earbuds

Sony Inzone Buds on pink background.
Jacob Roach/

It seems like every week there’s a new peripheral from a gaming brand (you know the ones) that promises to completely change the way you play games. The vast majority of these peripheral devices don’t do anything special, usually just being based on a trend that will surely die out in a few years. InZone buds are different.

They bring some much-needed expertise to the world of true wireless gaming earbuds. Brands like Razer, HyperX, and Asus have tried their hand at true wireless earbuds with varying success. None of them can deliver what Sony has delivered with the InZone Buds, however, mainly because of how much the company has invested in this area with its mainstream earbuds. From audio tuning to ANC to fit and comfort, Sony has it all with the InZone Buds.

The InZone Buds are now available for preorder for $200, as you can see featured in this article, in both white and black. There are cheaper options, Asus’s ROG Cetras is the best option for under $100. But if you want a premium true wireless experience for gaming, the InZone Buds are your way.

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