I'm sure Sony's new $200 Hi-Res Audio compatible headphones sound pretty good, but their name is a bit of a head-scratcher: h.ear on.
That's pronounced "hear on" for the befuddled. Never mind that everything is lower-case. What exactly does it mean?
Chalk it up to a one of those ideas that sounded good in Japanese but didn't end up translating all that well into English. (See our list of worst-named tech products to see how the h.ear on stacks up).
Anyway, so it goes. The 8-ounce (227-gram) headphone does look attractive, is supposed to be comfortable, and comes in five vibrant colors: viridian blue, cinnabar red, charcoal black, lime yellow and Bordeaux pink.
Of course, to get the most out of it you'll need a Hi-Res Audio-compatible portable music player, such as Sony's, which I like. But I should warn you that in the past we've tried more modestly priced high-res audio headphones and come away a bit underwhelmed. In other words, just because you put the Hi-Res Audio label on a box doesn't make the headphone a truly high-resolution headphone. At around $225, is the cheapest true hi-fidelity headphone we've tested. (We use the term "hi-fidelity" to describe highly transparent headphones.)
But Sony says the h.ear on "headband-style" headphones have Hi-Res Audio chops, with 40mm HD drivers that reproduce sounds up to 60 kHz, augmented bass that's "complemented by lightweight CCAW voice coils which yield high-linearity responses in high-pitched sounds" and domes of the acoustic diaphragms have been titanium-coated to minimize unwanted vibrations. Additionally, a ground separated cable "reduces cross talk and is balanced compatible for balance output supported equipment."
On a more mundane level, the headphone cable has an in-line remote and microphone and the headphones come with a carrying pouch.
The h.ear on will hit the US in November "for about $199.99," according to Sony. No word on when we'll see it in the UK or Australia (where that price converts to around £130 or AU$285) or what it will cost, but we'll update this post when we h.ear more.
reading•You won't believe what Sony named its new $200 Hi-Res Audio headphone
Sep 28•Inside 'devil's mountain,' a reclaimed Cold War spy station
Sep 27•This former NSA spy station explodes with Berlin street art
Sep 14•Dell's Visor brings comfort, convenience to VR headsets
Sep 5•Alexa was everywhere at Europe's biggest tech show (The 3:59, EP. 278)