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Sony Japan launches the WF-H800

Sony WF-H800

When Sony introduced the WF-H800 back at IFA 2019, there were no plans to introduce the model in Japan or Europe. So I was a bit surprised when I saw a tweet from Sony Japan launching the new headset for Japan.

I will not be going into too much detail, I go over the WF-H800 details in my main WF-H800 post and the teardown post.


The WF-H800 will officially go on sale on February 29th with an estimated price of around 22,000 yen. The headset will be offered in 5 different colours, red, black, ash green, orange, and blue. Battery life is rated up to 8 hours on a single charge with another 8 hours in the charging case. A quick charge of 10 minutes provides up to 70 minutes of playback.

Sony WF-H800

So why would anyone buy the WF-H800, when the WF-1000XM3 is around 4000 yen more? Good question. Both headsets feature the same chipset and same battery, but the WF-1000XM3 offers active noise cancellation and the QN1e chip. Battery life is almost similar between both models, depending on which settings are used. Below are the playback times for both models. Apart from the price difference, the WF-H800 weigh a bit less then the WF-1000XM3, 7.6g versus 8.5g, likewise the charging case is smaller and weighs 29g less. Check out AV-Watch's hands on here and here.

WF-1000XM3

Sony WF-1000XM3 playback time

WF-H800

Sony WF-H800 playback time

The WF-1000XM3 takes a hit with NC turned on but that is understandable. So it seems that the QN1e does not affect the battery life that much, not surprising as it only draws 7mW of power.

Of course the WF-1000XM3 is a bit more expensive and only comes in 2 colour options, so anyone wanting more colour in their life and a slightly less expensive device, the WF-H800 seems to be the better choice if ANC and sound quality are not a priority. 



So why did Sony launch the WF-H800 in Japan? That is a mystery to me. Perhaps more wireless competitors were coming into the Japanese market and Sony wanted something new. Sony is also doing a promotion with the Singer Iri and her new album, so that might encourage more sales.

But I do have one more speculation why Sony decided to launch the WF-H800 in Japan now. The coronavirus outbreak. Apple already has confirmed the virus will affect future iphone sales and production, so Sony suffering the same fate is possible. While true, Sony does not manufacture many of their headphones in China, mostly in Malaysia, and some in Vietnam, parts for the headphones are probably coming from China. So if these parts are held up and in short supply, new models might not launch right away and could be delayed. 

The models I am thinking of are the WF-SP800N (Malaysia) and WF-XB700 (Vietnam). While I do not have a precise timetable for their launch, I was expecting them to launch in late Spring, possible early Summer. If the launch date for both these new models has been delayed due to the virus, then perhaps the already in production WF-H800 was launched in Japan to fill the spot of the delayed headsets. I do not have any solid evidence to support this, only speculation but I do recall reading that Sony Japan had no plans to launch the WF-H800, so this decision change is interesting.

Hopefully the virus will not affect the production and launch of the WH-1000XM4. Finally will Sony launch the model in Europe or North America? Should they? Leave your thoughts below.

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