Sony has shown off a new concept in its Xperia Ear lineup. The company has learned quite a bit from its Xperia Ear that it announced a couple of years ago and finally made available for purchase last year, and now it's making a new model that should be even better. This is an Open Back concept, and the reason for making this an open back model is so that you aren't isolated from the sounds around you. Since many customers wear the Xperia Ear while they are commuting to or from work and crossing streets and such, they need to be aware of the sounds around you. And that's where the open back concept comes in.
As expected, this is a very early prototype for the Xperia Ear Open Back Concept, in fact it is so early that some of the models that Sony had on hand to show were not working. There were about four models shown off and only one was fully working, which we did check out, and it's definitely not ready for store shelves yet. Looking at the Xperia Ear Open Back Concept, you'd expect it to go over your ear, but instead it goes under. We were perplexed as to why Sony did it this way, considering the fact that it feels weird in that position. And this is because not everyone has the same size ears, but ear sizes and shapes usually differ at the top and not the bottom. Making it work better for more customers, by having it go under the ear.
Google Assistant is on board here, and it does support Siri if it is connected to an iPhone – this means that the Xperia Ear Open Back Concept is not limited to just Android devices. You can tap on the unit to open up Google Assistant and start talking to it like you would on your phone or on Google Home. The Google Assistant portion works really well, but the music side of things could use some help. Considering this is a product from Sony, many expect that the audio quality would be really good – since that is what Sony is known for. But unfortunately, the audio quality is actually rather muddy. Of course, this isn't the final version and it is still being worked on, so that could change, but as for now the audio quality really isn't that great.
Sony will be offering the Xperia Ear Open Back Concept in two colors, one which is black and the other is a pale gold. This is to help it blend in with the person's ear, so that it looks like nothing is in their ear. The case that the Xperia Ear Open Back Concept sits in does look a lot like a makeup case, and that wasn't by design, that's just what has worked so far. So the case has a USB-C port on the back for charging the Xperia Ear Open Back Concept which takes about two hours to fully charge. The battery inside the Xperia Ear Open Back Concept will last around 4 hours of usage, and the case can charge it about 3 times. It does seem pretty low for battery on a earbud, but given how light these are, it sounds about normal. You don't want something extremely heavy hanging off of your ear.
The Xperia Ear Open Back Concept did feel pretty good in the ear, although it took a few minutes to get used to it being under the ear instead of over it. But after those first few minutes, it works well. There are obviously some things here that Sony needs to change before it can be available for sale – which Sony did not mention a price, since it's not going to be available anytime soon. But the concept here is spot on, and it should be an even easier sale than the original Xperia Ear. Especially if you're in a busy city, and listen to music while you're heading to work, the Xperia Ear Open Back Concept is perfect for making sure you get there without getting run over, or anything like that.