Sony LinkBuds S

The Sony LinkBuds S has higher cost performance among the TWS earbuds sold in the market in the first half of the year. earbuds have excellent low frequency performance, intelligent interactive experience, and small size, which is convenient to wear when going out. Friends who need to replace the true wireless earbuds may wish to consider it.

Sony LinkBuds S specs and features:

  • Bluetooth 5.2 with LDAC Codec
  • 6-20 Hours of Playback (ANC ON)
  • 5mm Dynamic Driver
  • 360 Reality Audio/Hands Free Call
  • IPX4 Waterproof Rating
  • Support Dual-Device Connection
  • $198 – Check latest price on Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Germany or other Amazon countries

Appearance Design & Accessories

The Sony LinkBuds S charging case uses a rounded square box design. Although the charging case is made of renewable materials, the overall feel is close to the skin-friendly silicone texture. There are LED indicators at the opening and closing positions of the charging case to indicate the power status of the product.

The back of the charging case is designed with function buttons for bluetooth pairing and a Type-C interface for charging.

Sony LinkBuds S has been greatly improved in appearance, and the overall size is smaller, allowing users with small ear canals to have an excellent wearing experience. The bean-shaped in-ear style is complemented by the design of the eccentric structure, which makes the earbuds more stable when worn. The material of the earbuds is the same as that of the charging case, and they all use recyclable materials. The overall texture is like silicone, which is skin-friendly to wear.

The earbud is equipped with the same new integrated processor V1 chip as the Sony WF-1000XM4, and adopts the SiP system-in-package process to reduce the size of the circuit board.

The noise cancelling microphone pickup hole on the back of the earbud is designed with a special wind noise reduction structure. A grid design is used on the periphery to wrap the microphone pickup holes to reduce the impact of wind noise and make the noise cancelling experience more comfortable.

After actual measurement, the weight of a single earbud is 4.7g. The overall weight of earbuds and charging case is 42.1g.

Sony LinkBuds S packing list: USB A to Type-C charging cable*1, charging case*1, instruction manual*1, warranty card*1, SS/S/M/LL eartips*4 pairs.

APP Function Experience

Connect your phone to earbuds. If the mobile phone is Android 8.0 or above, you can enter the developer mode of the mobile phone and turn on the transmission mode of LDAC in the bluetooth audio decoder option. In this way, the LDAC transmission function of earbuds can be turned on, bringing the ability to support 24bit/96KHz audio file transmission.

Users can set various special functions of LinkBuds S by downloading the Sony Headphones APP on their mobile phones. These functions include “360 Reality Audio”, “Hands Free Call”, “DSEE Extreme”, “EQ Adjustment”, “Adaptive Sound Control”, “20-level Ambient Sound Switch”, “Quick Access” and more.

360 Reality Audio provides users with a live listening effect. After the user needs to wear the earbuds, upload the wearing picture to the Sony server under the reminder of the APP, and the server will return the optimization data after intelligently analyzing the wearing effect. These optimized data will be transferred to an app that supports 360 Reality Audio, enabling a listening experience similar to spatial audio.

Currently in the official website list, only the Sony Hi-Res APP supports the 360 ​​Reality Audio experience. A large number of 24bit high-definition lossless audio files are also provided in the APP for user experience.

In daily use, the realization of adaptive sound control and hands free call provides considerable convenience for heavy headphone users.

The first is the hands free call function, which allows earbuds to detect the user’s own voice at all times. When the user speaks, the earbuds will automatically pause the music and turn on the ambient sound mode, which is convenient for the user to communicate. The function is responsive and fast, eliminating the tedious process of taking off the earbuds or tapping the earbuds to switch modes.

We deliberately conducted the identification test of the hands free call function. Through the test of human voice, music and other sounds, earbuds can accurately identify the sounding position and determine whether to switch the ambient mode.

Sony LinkBuds S feature AI Adaptive Sound Control. After it is turned on, it can automatically detect the user’s activity status and activity location, identify frequently visited offices, gyms or shops and other places, automatically switch the preset ambient sound and noise cancelling scheme, or manually switch the 20-level ambient sound.

Calling & Battery Life

In the call scene, Sony LinkBuds S is equipped with deep neural network technology (DNN), which filters out environmental noise and preserves human voices by judging different sounds during a call, so as to obtain high-definition call sound quality. At the same time, LinkBuds S adopts a dual-microphone design, the inner microphone is used to improve the clarity of vocals, and the outer microphone adopts a special anti-wind noise design.

At present, most audio manufacturers on the market use physical windproof methods to deal with wind noise, in the form of special acoustic structure design, microphone mask layer and so on. Sony LinkBuds S uses a combination of “physics + software”. First of all, the designer uses a grid wrapping at the microphone position to reduce wind noise. Secondly, earbuds are used to identify wind noise and reduce resonance through DNN.

How strong is the noise immunity of the Sony LinkBuds S? We tested the microphone with a fan. First of all, the earbuds do not completely filter the wind noise, and we can still feel the wind noise when the fan is blowing directly. But the feeling of the wind in the earbuds changes from a squally to a breeze. When making a call with the fan blowing directly, the other party on the call said that the voice of the call was not affected by the wind, or even felt the wind.

In terms of battery life, the Sony LinkBuds S has a single battery life of up to 6 hours after the noise cancelling mode is turned on, and the charging case can provide an additional 14 hours of battery life, for a total battery life of 20 hours. When the noise cancelling mode is turned off, the single battery life of earbuds is enhanced to 7 hours, and the comprehensive battery life reaches 22 hours. In addition, the earbuds also support the fast charging function of charging for 5 minutes and listening to songs for 1 hour.

Wired charging test for Sony LinkBuds S using a portable power tester. The charging voltage is about 5.12V, the charging current is about 0.38A, and the charging power is about 1.96W.

Sound Quality & Controls

In terms of sound quality, the Sony LinkBuds S use a 5mm highly flexible diaphragm dynamic drive. Equipped with an integrated processor V1 chip and a better amplifier, a digital-to-analog converter (DAC) with a higher signal-to-noise ratio. Support Sony audio hardware technology and LDAC bluetooth transmission technology, certified by Hi-Res Audio Wireless. Through the Headphones Connect App to freely adjust the equalizer, users can set their preferred style when listening to music, or they can choose the Clear Bass bass boost function to improve the sound atmosphere and low frequency elasticity.

Next, let’s enter the audition session of the headphones. Due to time constraints in this audition, earbuds spent about 10 hours of burn-in, and conducted a 6-hour audition for review.

The dynamic response of earbuds is very fast, even comparable to armature headphones. The first song is Naruto’s theme song “Lovers”, which has very dense drum beats, especially the first few hits. The opening drum sound of the Sony LinkBuds S went straight to my heart.

If the drum sound at the beginning shows that the earbuds have the advantages of deep extension and fast dynamic response in the low frequency part. Then the drum sounds in the back of “Lovers” are constantly performed with vocals, sometimes light and sometimes heavy, sometimes slow and sometimes fast, all of which can be perfectly controlled by earbuds. The most important thing is that these low frequencies do not have the turbidity that existed in some Sony headphones before.

Of course, the Sony LinkBuds S also has a relatively good performance in terms of vocals. On “Vulnerable Woman”, Faye Wong’s voice is ethereal, clean and penetrating. The earbuds have a clear image in the mid-frequency vocals, accurate mouth shape, and have a relatively good vertical and horizontal vocal sound field, bringing a more penetrating listening experience. Of course, the tuning direction of earbuds is more popular for warm sounds. If friends are like me and like colder sounds, you can consider adjusting them according to the EQ in the picture above, and you may get different results.

The earbuds sound clear in the high frequency part, and the resolution and dynamic response are better in dynamic earphones. It can accurately restore the undulating sound of the violin, and the sound field is similar to the size of a chamber music room.

Sony LinkBuds S also supports DSEE Extreme sound quality enhancement technology, which is a great boon for mobile phones that do not support LDAC transmission technology. After DSEE Extreme™ is turned on, earbuds can dynamically identify the style and elements of the music, restore the high-frequency signal lost during compression, and restore the song to a nearly lossless state, bringing a richer and fuller listening experience.

Controls of Sony LinkBuds S:

  • Tap Once L Earbud: ANC/Adaptive Sound Control
  • Double/Triple Tap L earbud: Quick Access
  • Long Press L Earbud: Quick Reminder
  • Tap Once R Earbud: Play/Pause
  • Double Tap R Earbud: Next
  • Triple Tap R Earbud: Previous
  • Long Press R Earbud: Wake the voice assistant

Check the Sony LinkBuds S price:


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