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Sony Float Run review: For when you want mini speakers hanging outside your ear

Sony Float Run

Source: Sony

The Sony Float Run headphones are an innovative take on outdoor workout audio gear, designed for you to stay aware of your surroundings. So, to provide you with an authentic feel for these headphones, I thought we’d take a walk outdoors and review them in their natural habitat. You can watch the full video review linked below.

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Unlike your traditional in-ear or on-ear headphones, these over-ear headphones feature an open design, which allows environmental sounds to pass through. Whether you're jogging or cycling, these headphones are meant to let you enjoy some music while remaining aware of your surroundings.

At first glance, the Float Run headphones may remind you of an old-school hearing aid due to their chunky ear hook design. The design does look a bit unconventional, but it serves a specific purpose. These headphones are extremely lightweight, coming in at a mere 33g, which ensures they don't weigh down your ears. However, if you wear glasses, the ear hooks might interfere with your frames. They are also IPX4 rated to deal with sweat from your runs, and a 10 hour battery life.

Source: Sony

One peculiar feature of these headphones is the neckband. It doesn't actually rest on your neck while you're wearing the headphones or offer any kind of support, true to its “Float Run” name. Instead, it's only there for you to rest your headphones when you take them off. It's an interesting design choice that sets these headphones apart.

Audio quality, while not the primary focus of the Float Run headphones, is adequate and does its job. They come equipped with 16mm drivers, which is larger than your typical earbuds, but smaller than proper headphones. The Float Run is able to deliver punchy sound, emphasizing bass to keep your energy levels high during your workouts. The mids, however, can be a bit muddy, but it's not a significant drawback for their intended purpose. The great thing about using these for workouts is that you can have a chat with others without constantly having to dig out an earbud and go “I’m sorry, what did you say?”

Source: Sony

Here’s the caveat though. If you’re thinking of using these to listen to music for leisure, the Float Run only performs well in quiet environments due to the lack of active or passive noise isolation. Remember, they’re basically little speakers that sit outside of your ear. Because of this, I find the effective volume range quite limited. Anything below 50% volume is almost inaudible in outdoor environments with ambient noise. The sweet spot for volume is between 60% and 80%. Anything above 80% becomes uncomfortable and screechy, making it feel like someone is shouting right next to your ears.

Another side effect of this is that I find myself actively listening to my music or videos more intently, and this constant effort to listen to speech while filtering out surrounding noises can be quite exhausting.

The Sony Float Run headphones are priced at S$199. While they offer a unique experience, the open design and limited use case make it challenging to justify the cost. If you're looking for more versatile options with advanced features and functionality, you might want to consider Sony's LinkBuds instead (S$270).

There are other alternatives in the market that work just like the Float Run, such as the Mu6 Ring, which I’ve previewed before. A quick check on Amazon shows that they currently go for about S$115.

If you're a dedicated outdoor fitness enthusiast and prioritize safety during workouts, these headphones might be the right choice for you. However, if you're looking for versatile headphones with advanced features, there are more suitable alternatives available.

You can buy the Float Run from the Sony Online Store, Shopee or Lazada, all of which are currently discounted to S$165 from the original price.

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