Sony XBA-3iP review

Best in-ears £200+, Awards 2012. A commuting audiophile’s best friend Tested at £225

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Best in-ears £200+, Awards 2012. These Sony in-ears sound amazing, and are a commuting audiophile’s best friend


  • +

    Good isolation

  • +

    fine detail

  • +

    impressive clarity


  • -


  • -

    a little bulky

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In a market where smaller is often seen as more attractive, the earpieces on the Sony XBA-3iP earphones aren’t quite as slender as on comparable models from Klipsch or Beyerdynamic, but that’s because they accommodate the triple balanced armature drivers complete with tweeter and woofer.

But while they may be bigger than some, they're comfortable: In the box, there’s a selection of colour-coded silicone eartips, ranging from extra small to large, and we found them to be a secure fit and good at isolating the listener from outside noise – that helps when it comes to using the inline, iPhone-compatible mic.

Sony XBA-3iP: Sound quality
Call quality is crystal clear, as is the sound produced when spinning tunes.

The Sonys are detailed, beautifully balanced and display an excellent sense of timing. Highs are crisp, lows expertly judged.

They’re not cheap, but if you’re constantly on the move and demand optimum sound quality, then the XBA-3iP will be a fine investment.

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

Read more about how we test