One of the most comfortable pair of earphones I’ve ever used – the Sony MDR-EX310LP definitely looks different, but their comfort and price range make up for the weird stares you’ll get on the street. But will it be enough to cover they’re behind the head wire design and L plug?
Packaging: The earphones come packaged in the horrible plastic that no one likes opening, but luckily it wasn’t all wrapped in it, and the back cardboard came right off. I think they did a great job in displaying the main selling point of these headphones, which is the pods themselves and the 2 different earbuds that come packaged with it. Also included is the cord adjuster and carrying case (which no one really uses).
Features: There’s no buttons to press or special cords to attach, but every detail Sony worked into these counts.
- Hybrid and Noise Isolation Earbuds – It’s a very small detail, but from the user experience standpoint, a very useful one. Sony colour coordinates the sizes of the earbuds, which means no more fussing around trying to figure out which two earbuds match (not that many people go switching these in an out). But personally, if you’re going to offer two styles of earbuds, there is bound to be switching happening and thankfully Sony took that into consideration and made it one step easier.
As for the actual earbuds, I’ve tried both of them and there really isn’t any noticeable sound isolation difference. The Noise Isolation earbuds are packed with, what seems to be, foam, and the Hybrids are just without that. They fit very snugly and tight on the earphones themselves, and once you’ve chosen the right size for your ears, fit very comfortable. A strong shake of the head, possibly while bobbing to your favourite jam, will not loosen these one bit. This of course is not only due to the earbuds but also the new design of the earphones itself that I’ll discuss later. The best part, the isolation works, which can rarely be said about many other earphones.
- Cord Adjuster – A quick estimate, the cord is about a meter long; which is a really long cord for earphones. Thankfully, Sony includes a way to adjust that in a clean way, with their Cord Adjuster. You simply wrap it around and shrink it as far as you need. I personally don’t like things hanging off my cord as it just drags it down and moves the cord in uncomfortable positions, but if you don’t plan on moving and the you think the cord will bother you, definitely a plus to have this.
- “Newly developed stay-in design for a more secure fit” – Sony has added a rubber bumper design to the back of the earphones to add a new style of grip while in your ears. I can tell you now, it works amazing. It’s a great material choice, flexible and durable, I can see myself using these just for the comfort alone for a long period of time.
- Carrying Case – I don’t think anyone really uses these for headphones that cost under $100. But these do retail for ~$70 so they come close to being worth the time to put away. Sony includes a hard shelled carrying case and a cord organizing inside (also fits your Cord Adjuster). Underneath seems to have enough space to fit in a spare pair of earbuds or two as well. I doubt I’ll be using this but It’s nice to have.
- Works in Walkmans – Because Sony is possibly the only company left out there that still makes CD players, they still include the fact that these earphones do work with CD players. You know, in case you’re still into that kind of thing.
Judgement: I can’t emphasize enough how comfortable these are in the ears. Unfortunately Sony did make some weird decisions to make it a behind the head wire design, because, because as people have noted, they tend to weigh down the single wire on one side and everything just gets dragged down and pulled off your ear. What they used to do is include a clip so that wouldn’t happen, but they didn’t do so for this, so I’m just curious why they would go with such a design decision. Another personal tidbit that bothered me is the L connector. I’m a fan of a straight connector, but this isn’t a deal breaker. It would’ve been nice to also see a music controller on there too, as it seems that’s the standards nowadays.
But because I nabbed these for $19.99 before taxes at Best Buy (New Years sale), you really can’t complain about anything. They sound great, they isolate to a tolerable degree, and they don’t feel like cheap plastic toys. I’d recommend these even at their full retail price of $69.99.