In what will likely split opinions, the new Sony LinkBuds earbuds have been designed to wear all day without removing them, linking “online and offline” worlds in what Sony describes as a “Never Off wearing experience”.
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Sony LinkBuds Earbuds
So when it announced the radical new design with LinkBuds, you’d be right to wonder if Sony had changed the landscape of earbuds?
Sony LinkBuds Earbuds// Features
Unlike today’s other earbuds, the Sony LinkBuds have an in-ear ring replacing the usual nub that sits in the ear canal entrance.
The ring, a 12mm driver, is designed to deliver crystal clear audio when you want it and allow the outside environment in when you need to have a conversation or be aware of your surroundings.
At just over 4g, each bud is light enough to be worn for an extended period, but I can’t help but think you’ll need the right ear shape for the LinkBuds to fit and remain comfortable.
Open Ear Music Experience
For audio playback, the Digital Sound Enhancement Engine (DSEE) and Sony’s V1 Processor combine to deliver a high-quality and well-balanced sound with minimal distortion, they claim.
There’s no active noise cancelling on the LinkBuds, which could be a hard stop for some travellers. But, I can see a benefit here for some.
The LinkBuds have not been designed just for killer audio like the WF-1000XM4 buds; they compromise between enjoying that Sony sound and delivering on all the other expectations many require of earbuds in 2022. Such as remote working.
With 360 Reality Audio, music becomes an immersive audio experience and evokes feelings of being in a music studio or live concert venue.Sony
Bringing the Outside, In
With no bud section stuck into your ear canal, Sony expects you to keep the LinkBuds in even with no music playing, and you’ll still be able to hear your surroundings. Great for when you’re listening out for a tannoy announcement, maybe.
But, even if you are enjoying music, the open-air Ring design and controls combine to give you immediate access to what you want to hear.
Instead of physical or even touch-sensitive buttons, the LinkBuds use Wide Area Tap controls. This works by tapping just in front of your earlobe to control the LinkBuds.
Alternatively, Speak-to-Chat technology will pause music when you start talking or are being spoken to and resume playback when the conversation is over.
If this isn’t for you, or you enjoy singing along to your music, the Sony | Headphone Connect app (Android | Apple) gives you complete control and can turn these features off if required.
Power & Connectivity
LinkBuds come with a travel charging case to prolong their performance. On their own, the buds deliver around 5.5 hours of playback, depending on use.
The case, when fully charged, stores a further 12 hours’ worth of power to replenish the buds, and it supports quick charging with 10 minutes giving 90 minutes of playback.
Android users will benefit from Fast Pair, Google’s new pairing feature, which is supported on LinkBuds and Swift Pair for those needing to pair with Windows-powered tablets and laptops.
Apple devices go through the standard pairing process with Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity.
Sony LinkBuds Earbuds// Specifications
|Bud Weight||4.1g each|
|Case Dimensions||41 x 49 x 31mm|
|Colour Options||Grey | White|
|Battery Performance||Up to 5.5 hours|
Up to 17.5 hours w/ Case
|In the Box||LinkBuds|
Sony LinkBuds Earbuds// Pricing
The new Sony LinkBuds earbuds are $179 | £149 from Sony.