Sony S2 Sports Headphones review: Sony S2 Sports Headphones

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CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars Good
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Lightweight and compact sports design; secure, comfortable fit; collapsible headband; decent sound quality.

The Bad No carrying case; dual-cord design more prone to tangles.

The Bottom Line The MDR-A35G headphones are ideal for active pursuits, such as jogging.

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Editor's note: We have changed the rating in this review to reflect recent changes in our rating scale. Click here to find out more.

Intended for active pursuits such as jogging and exercising, Sony's MDR-A35G headphones ($19.99 list) are lightweight headband models with in-ear drivers. Like other members of Sony's S2 Sports lineup, the 'phones feature a white-and-gray color scheme that's toned down compared to the bright yellow styling of the company's older Sports models. A comfortable, ultrasecure fit and sweat-resistant earphones make the MDR-A35Gs a leading choice for working out.

The MDR-A35Gs aren't exactly brimming with extra features. A collapsible headband makes the 'phones easy to store and transport, although a protective carrying case would've been a welcome addition. But that's not a major knock, since the streamlined design is among the most comfortable that I've ever auditioned for sweat sessions. While wearing the MDR-A35Gs, I jogged on the treadmill at the gym and outside in 80-degree weather. The results were so good that the MDR-A35Gs are now my primary workout 'phones. The in-ear drivers never felt sweaty and didn't budge from my ears, even during the most rigorous phases of my run. The four-foot dual-cord design (a cord runs to each earphone) is less tidy than that of single-entry cords, but tugging still wasn't a problem. Unlike neckband headphones, the MDR-A35Gs didn't interfere with the fit of my sunglasses (though, as with vertical headband models, those with well-coiffed hairstyles may want to look elsewhere). In comparison, the Philips Nike SBC HJ050 'phones also offer a very secure fit, but they clamped my head excessively, causing mild discomfort by the end of workouts.

Although the MDR-A35G's performance isn't superlative, it's better than average for a set of sub-$20 headphones. The MDR-A35Gs were efficient enough to play loud even when connected to my underpowered portable MP3 player. Snoop Dogg's classic track "Gin and Juice" had a respectable amount of low-end bass. Treble and midrange frequencies sounded smooth rather than brash or tinny. Essentially, the MDR-A35Gs deliver middle-of-the road-performance, not overemphasizing any part of the frequency spectrum. They sound fine.

If you're looking for a set of inexpensive sports headphones, the MDR-A35Gs should be near the top of your list. Although Aiwa's HP-JS36 Swoops offer better sound, they tend to require occasional adjustment while you're running.

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Where to Buy

Sony S2 Sports Headphones

Part Number: MDRA35G Released: Mar. 15, 2002

MSRP: $19.99

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Mar. 15, 2002
  • Weight 0.6 oz
  • Sound Output Mode stereo
  • Service & Support Details Limited warranty - parts and labor - 90 days
  • Additional Features gold-plated plug
  • Type headphones
  • Headphones Form Factor vertical
  • Connector Type mini-phone stereo 3.5 mm
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