The Sony LinkBuds are a great alternative to AirPods, especially for those who have difficulty keeping Apple earbuds in their ears and for Android users who don’t have access to Apple’s exclusive feature (spatial audio).
The Sony LinkBuds are slightly more expensive, at $180. While it feels good enough, it lacks features like wireless charging, and both the charging case and earbuds feel less sturdy and fleshed out than the Sony WF-1000XM4. If you’re looking for open earbuds, the LinkBuds earbuds are well worth checking out.
Sony LinkBuds specs and features:
- Bluetooth 5.2 with AAC/DSEE
- 12mm Ring Drive Unit
- Adaptive Volume Control
- 360° Surround Sound
- Support Smart Pick-free
- Wide Area Click
- IPX4 Waterproof Rating
- 5.5/12 hours Battery Life (earbuds/charging case)
- $158 – Check latest price on Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Germany or other Amazon countries
If a user needs to wear the earphones for a long time, in addition to the high sound quality of the earbuds, there is still a lot of time to wear the earbuds to communicate with the outside world. Then Sony’s latest LinkBuds wireless bluetooth earbuds are prepared for these users.
Speaking of the naming of LinkBuds, Sony said that LinkBuds is a new series for “new lifestyles of young people”. “Link” is a connection, establishing new connections through sound, connecting the inner and outer worlds of the earbuds. The open form captures natural external sounds and achieves a comfortable wearing experience to meet the needs of users who need to wear headphones for a long time.
This part of users who wear wireless headphones for a long time often needs to switch between the sound quality/noise reduction/transparency mode repeatedly, and may need to take off the headphones when they want to communicate with others. Although many earphones have a smart pick-free function, wearing the earphones for a long time will cause the ears to swell to some extent.
Therefore, the Sony LinkBuds emphasize “comfort”, a TWS headset that can be worn all day. It is not designed for specific scenarios such as exercise or sleep, and it is not a sports headphone or a sleep headset. However, it has also been reinforced when wearing it, and the pressure on the ear or the situation of falling off has also been greatly improved.
It should be the smallest TWS earbuds, extremely comfortable to wear
The overall packaging of Sony LinkBuds is full of minimalist style, using 100% recycled ABS environmentally friendly materials. Since the Sony WH-1000XM4, Sony has adopted such a minimalist and environmentally friendly packaging. Whether it is headphones or boxes, it will not pollute the environment after being discarded, and contribute to environmental protection.
Open the box and you can see the LinkBuds charging case. The charging case is also a minimalist design, with no other decorations except the SONY LOGO. Regardless of the size of the charging case or earbuds, it is the smallest among Sony’s previous TWS earphone products, and even the smallest among almost all TWS earphone products. The size of the LinkBuds charging case is only 48.5mm*41mm*31mm, which is only about half the size of the Airpods Pro, making it very convenient to carry.
The Sony LinkBuds charging case is designed with two buttons. The front button is used to turn on the charging case, while the rear button is used for bluetooth pairing. Next to the button at the back is the Type-C charging port.
In addition to the smaller size of the charging case, the overall size of the LinkBuds earbuds is further reduced, with a size of only 26.8mm*15.6mm*15.7mm. Also the smallest TWS earphones I’ve ever seen.
Sony LinkBuds has a very good ergonomic design, with five sizes of curved brackets, different brackets are selected according to different ear sizes, and the wearing is very stable.
Most earphones will fix the various parts of the drive unit to the housing first, and then have a protective cover on the front. The Sony LinkBuds designed the protective cover and the body together. This “housing and protective cover merged” approach directly and significantly reduces the size of the ring drive unit, thereby achieving a more compact body.
Not only that, but every component inside the earphone has been further reduced and integrated. For example, the bluetooth antenna and microphone are integrated on a circuit board. At the same time, in order to avoid the situation of “one’s head is heavy and one’s feet light”, the shell extends to the round body next to the driver unit, so that the Sony LinkBuds show an unprecedented headphone shape. A semi-circular ring (ball drive unit) + a circular ring (ball integrated protective cover) + half a circle (arc bracket), spherical drive unit and spherical integrated protective cover in a similar stacking or nesting manner connected.
This smaller ring-shaped design is obviously more friendly to people who wear earrings than the in-ear or handle design.
In theory, the larger the diameter of the ring drive unit, the better the ability to capture sound quality, but the larger the diameter, the more uncomfortable it will be in the ear. On the premise of ensuring sound quality, Sony has reduced the diameter of the drive unit.
Sony added a battery to the spherical protective case, maintaining a unified design language with the ring-shaped drive unit, and the shape fits the ear more closely. Wearing and removing earbuds is easier with a friction surface.
The Sony LinkBuds earbuds are very radical in the idea of ”miniaturization of the overall component”. The Sony LinkBuds are also different in the way they are worn. When wearing, fix the ring first, then turn the circle and fix the arc support. Because the Sony LinkBuds will have different gaps for each person when they are placed in the ear, you must choose a suitable curved bracket to adapt to your ear shape.
After selecting a suitable arc bracket and wearing it skillfully, the sound inside and outside the earphone can be effectively separated, minimizing the possibility of possible sound leakage. After wearing, the overall center of gravity of the earphones will come to the depths of the ear, making it more stable to wear. The advantage of this is that it can bring the center of gravity closer to the ear and prevent the earbuds from falling off. The rubber ring on the earbuds will be firmly fixed in the ear, because the rubber ring is very soft, so there is no pain after wearing it for a long time.
Transparent and natural, farewell in a vacuum
People often encounter embarrassing situations when wearing headphones. For example, taking the subway or bus and not getting off the bus because of missing the station. Wearing headphones and listening to music at home did not hear the knock on the door of the courier or takeaway. Or miss greetings from friends or colleagues while listening to music. The launch of SONY LinkBuds is to solve these problems faced by users.
I experienced the transparency mode of Sony LinkBuds through several scenes. First of all, in the case of not playing music, there is basically no difference between wearing headphones and without headphones, and the received sound information is basically the same. Then adjust the volume to 50% to take the subway, the sound of the station announcement can be heard very clearly, and the music will be slightly disturbed by the noise of the subway operation, but it is not serious. Then increase the volume to 100%, you can still hear the sound of the station announcement, but because the sound of the music is too loud, it is definitely not as clear as when the volume is 50%, but it is still audible. At the same time, the noise brought by the subway will also be covered by the music. Generally speaking, it is more appropriate to listen to songs at 50% volume outside, so as not to miss the announcement or some important information, and it will not affect the listening experience.
Experienced at 50% volume in an office environment. Just like on the subway, basically when listening to music, you can hear the conversation of colleagues about 2 meters away. The sound of typing on the keyboard can also be heard clearly. SONY LinkBuds has a very good experience of listening to music while working. Compared with ordinary TWS, it will not cause others to be unable to hear due to noise reduction, and the sound quality is also comfortable to listen to.
I don’t know if everyone has the habit of listening to music while cooking. There is no shortage of “listening” in the ultimate mystery of cooking. Whether it is the sizzling sound of oil in the pot or the sound of boiling water, it is a crucial part of cooking. Come to the kitchen to experience the Sony LinkBuds earbuds. The volume is also 50%. Under the huge wind noise of the old range hood, the sound is relatively loud, which will cause the sound of the music to be covered. At this time, the volume is increased to 60%, and the overall feeling is more appropriate.
The transparency function of Sony LinkBuds is indeed excellent enough that people will not miss communication with others when listening to music. In addition, Sony LinkBuds has an adaptive volume function, which automatically adjusts and optimizes the volume of the earphones based on our current environment. For example, when waiting for the subway, the overall noise is small, and the music volume of the headphones will also be reduced accordingly. When the noise is too loud during subway operation, the music volume will also become louder. Considering the protection of hearing, the music volume will be locked when it is raised to a certain level.
If you need to pause your music for a serious conversation, the LinkBuds earbuds are equipped with a smart hands-free conversation feature. When the earbuds detect our voice, Sony LinkBuds will pause the music and automatically introduce ambient sound to better help us receive information from the outside world. Even when your hands are holding something, you can communicate effectively with others without taking off the earbuds.
After structural changes, it still maintains excellent sound quality
Sony LinkBuds not only achieve a high-quality experience in a fully open way, but also make music or calls still excellent in ambient sound. Sony’s newly developed ring drive unit just mentioned, the center of the diaphragm is open, which is one of the reasons why we can still hear ambient sounds when listening to music. In order to ensure better music quality, the Sony V1 processor is integrated into the small earbuds. This chip has a D/A conversion circuit with high signal-to-noise ratio and low distortion characteristics and a portable headphone amplifier.
Due to the high-sensitivity, high-flexibility diaphragm and high-performance neodymium magnets specially designed by Sony for this earbuds, the Sony LinkBuds perform very well in mid-high frequency and vocal performance, and friends who like pop music can rest assured.
Sony LinkBuds incorporate the DSEE digital sound enhancement engine to improve the overall quality of lossy music files. In addition, you can set the music style you want by adjusting the equalizer. The Headphones Connect App has built-in 8 preset modes including cheerful, passionate, mellow and relaxing, as well as 2 custom tunings.
In the mode of turning off the equalizer and turning on DSEE, I listened to the brisk “Marry Me” and the “I’m the one” with a strong sense of rhythm. The overall sound quality of Sony LinkBuds is very satisfactory. Especially in the middle and high frequencies, the vocals are very delicate, clean and full, while the performance of the low frequencies is slightly less than that of the middle and high frequencies, or it is not so prominent.
It can be seen that in the design idea of Sony LinkBuds, the open design does not emphasize bass. The low-frequency attack is not strong, but the rhythm control is relatively good.
In addition to the feeling of music, Sony LinkBuds also added precise voice pickup technology, which can help us improve the quality of calls. It will accurately identify the human voice during the call to improve the overall call quality.
Wide area click
In operation, Sony LinkBuds also supports wide-area click function. The operation of clicking can not only be performed on the earphone panel, but also can be clicked “around the ear” to operate the earphone, commonly known as “face control”. It responds by using motion sensors on the earbuds to detect vibrations caused by clicks in the area in front of the ear.
Unlike bone conduction technology, bone conduction uses the vibration of the skull to transmit the vibration to the eardrum to produce sound. Wide-area clicks can respond to motion sensor detection through bone and skin vibrations.
Wide-area click, a relatively new technology, is limited by motion sensor detection. Currently single-click, double-click and triple-click are supported (only single-click is supported on LinkBuds earbuds), and swipe operations are not supported.
TWS earphones that can be worn for a long time
The Sony LinkBuds are a great headphone product for long-wearing. It is neither noise-cancelling earphones, nor sports headphones, nor sleep earbuds. But it can perfectly balance the needs of daily use scenarios.
Sony, which is persistent and enterprising on the road of earphone miniaturization, has given new solutions to various problems that young people encounter when they wear earphones to listen to music and watch videos every day. It brings a more comfortable listening experience without compromising communication with people and receiving information.
In order to allow users to wear it for a longer time, the innovative appearance and ergonomic design make the Sony LinkBuds earbuds unique and comfortable. Friends who like “small” headphones will definitely shine.
As a trendy product, the heavy users of the earbuds can talk to the people around them while listening to the class, will not miss important information from the outside world when listening to music, and can interact with offline colleagues during online meetings. During yoga exercise, you can maintain communication with the outside world, etc. All of these usage scenarios do not need to put on or take off the earphones multiple times.
It’s hard to describe Sony LinkBuds in traditional categories. In Sony’s words, it is an “always online connection”, a brand-new concept, and a product that fits the lifestyle of modern young people. The category of headphones should also change, and we look forward to more outstanding performances from Sony LinkBuds in the future.
Check the Sony LinkBuds price:
- Check price on Amazon US
- Check latest price on Amazon UK
- Check price on Amazon Germany
- Check price on other Amazon countries
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