Sony’s latest earbuds are going to be the biggest competitors to Apple’s much-loved AirPods with impressive sound quality.
There may finally be a rival to Apple’s AirPods Pro with Sony’s latest release of the Sony LinkBuds S. They feature a lightweight design for all-day comfort, along with impressive active noise cancellation and an adaptive transparency mode.
Earlier this year, Sony released a bunch of funky-looking earbuds called LinkBuds, with little donut-shaped holes in them. They were lightweight earbuds made so that not only could you wear them all day without discomfort, but the donut shape still allowed surround sounds to reach your eardrums, providing some seriously good transparency mode whether you’re watching something. listened or not.
In my opinion, it was a clever design for our new age of working from home. Earplugs that keep you comfortably connected, while still hearing the doorbell, so you don’t miss that package arriving or the kids calling to you. While I think they wanted to do what they offered, I feel like they have fewer use cases than the new LinkBuds S, which offer better sound quality with active noise cancellation.
I’ve been using the LinkBuds S for a few weeks now. They come in 3 colors – black, ecru (beige) and white. I picked up the black ones, which are housed in a matching black slim and lightweight charging case – perfect for even the tiniest of pockets.
They are charged via USB-C and the case also has a flat base so that it can be placed standing on a table.
What’s even more impressive is that the earbuds themselves are ridiculously light, weighing in at 4.8 ounces. The box comes with ear tips in different sizes so you can find your perfect fit and for me the little rubber tips were perfect. I love the fit of these earbuds, they sit almost flat in my ears and I think they look really aesthetically pleasing compared to most earbuds out there. You can still feel them resting in your ear canal like all earplugs and earplugs, but I think I found them more comfortable than usual because of their weight.
Sony has also tried to improve their portability by adding a high-quality ambient sound mode that leaves surround sound in the buds while you’re not listening to anything to combat the design’s innate passive noise cancellation. I admit, while Sony’s goal is to make you forget you’re wearing earbuds, the transparent/ambient mode doesn’t sound quite natural. However, it’s a good way to balance out that feeling of earplugs, allowing you to have a conversation with someone without feeling like you have to take them out of your ears. This is also great for crossing busy roads or listening to a delivery (and ambient modes can be used with or without music or content). There is also an adaptive sound control that can smartly adapt your ambient sound to your surroundings.
Plus, the active noise cancellation is really great. It does a great job of generally blocking out surround sounds when you need to focus. And while these earbuds are so small and light, they have new 5mm drivers inside that deliver really crisp, clear music playback with punchy bass – it’s the Sony sound quality you’ve come to expect. The tops are also very easy to use. They have touch controls that let you adjust things like volume, turn noise cancellation on or off, or skip tracks. And if you’re using Sony’s ‘Headphones Connect’ app, you can adjust the touch controls and other useful settings, such as whether or not the earbuds pause playback when you take them out.
One of my favorite features of these earbuds is that just 5 minutes of fast charging can provide up to 60 minutes of playback time. And this feature is something I really rely on with my fast-paced life and, well, forgetfulness. See, there’s a lot of technology to charge on a daily basis – my phone in the first place – so this is super handy. In addition, the earbuds alone have a battery life of 6 hours and a further 14 hours are charged in the case. I was able to use the earbuds occasionally throughout my workday without the battery draining.
Worth the price?
The LinkBuds S launched at a price of $349.95, which I think is a bit overpriced, but right now you can find them for a very reasonable $268, making them cheaper than AirPods Pro and many other premium earbuds. with noise reduction. If you’re an Android person, these are probably one of my top recommendations for earbuds with ANC right now. And if you’re an Apple user but the AirPods Pro fit doesn’t work for you, it may be a better fit for you. If you like what you’ve read, jump on that deal!