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Sony’s new INZONE gaming earbuds aren’t compatible with the PlayStation Portal

Published Oct 10th, 2023 4:05PM EDT
Sony INZONE Buds
Image: Sony

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Sony needs to consolidate some teams because this is getting confusing.

Today, Sony announced the INZONE Buds, a new set of wireless earbuds that are focused on providing features that gamers are looking for. In addition to the 12 hours of battery life that the earbuds will get per use, the INZONE Buds also feature the usual amount of focus you’d come to expect around reducing latency so the audio from games is in sync with the video.

The earbuds also feature spatial audio, which Sony is calling 360 Spatial Sound. The company says that the feature allows gamers to hear what direction things are coming from in their games as long as the game itself also supports surround sound (which most games do nowadays). Users will be able to customize their experience in a companion app:

Sound Field Optimization creates a personalized hearing profile by taking photos of the user’s ears using the 360 Spatial Sound Personalizer smartphone app. The INZONE Buds go one step further through the Sound Tone Personalization feature, individualized to the ear canal by playing test sounds from the driver units and using feedback microphones to measure how the sound fills the ear canal. Based on the acoustic analysis, the sound is then uploaded onto the INZONE Hub PC software, where further personalization can be done to curate a truly personalized spatial listening experience with unparalleled spatial sound precision.

INZONE Buds join the acclaimed INZONE range as its first truly wireless gaming earbuds, bringing the industry’s longest 12-hour battery life with less than 30ms low latency

The earbuds also support noise canceling and ambient sound modes so you can either hear what is going on around you or, if you want to focus, shut out all exterior noise. The earbuds pack 12 hours of battery life and 24 hours with the included charging case. Oh, speaking of latency, the company says that the INZONE Buds are capable of latency of less than 30ms — not too shabby for wireless audio gaming.

The earbuds don’t support the PlayStation Portal?!

While these new gaming-focused earbuds from Sony look great, there is one glaring omission when considering the devices gamers — especially PlayStation gamers — will want to use their new earbuds with. The INZONE Buds, unfortunately, don’t appear to be compatible with the PlayStation Portal, Sony’s upcoming streaming handheld for the PlayStation 5.

This is due to the INZONE Buds not supporting PlayStation Link, Sony’s proprietary audio technology that it is packing exclusively into the Pulse Elite wireless headset and Pulse Explore earbuds. This…makes absolutely no sense. If you buy the INZONE Buds, you can play on the PlayStation 5 but not the PlayStation Portal. If you buy the Pulse Explore, you can play on both.

Pulse Elite and Pulse Explore can simultaneously connect to a PlayStation Link supported device (PS5, PC, Mac, or PlayStation Portal) and a Bluetooth supported device. For example, Pulse Explore can be connected to PS5 (via the USB adapter) using PlayStation Link and also to a mobile phone through Bluetooth at the same time. While playing on PS5, gamers can instantly answer a call and hear it through the same Pulse Explore earbuds.

Between the Portal not supporting Bluetooth to the INZONE Buds not supporting PlayStation Link, Sony has created its own compatibility mess that will certainly plague unsuspecting customers. Even worse, both earbuds are $199.99, so gamers are going to have a choice to make on which earbuds make sense to them. I can’t even imagine having to buy both to cover all of your gaming setup.

Hopefully, Sony’s teams will work closer together in the future so that its OWN products support each other. The INZONE Buds are available to preorder today for $199.99 in both Black and White colors with deliveries expected to begin next week.

Joe Wituschek Tech News Contributor

Joe Wituschek is a Tech News Contributor for BGR.

With expertise in tech that spans over 10 years, Joe covers the technology industry's breaking news, opinion pieces and reviews.