Find out all about Sony’s newest earbuds
January 10, 2023
It was only February 2022 when Sony released the LinkBuds, with their unique donut-hole design that allows for constant awareness of the world around you. But despite being designed to be worn all day, its fully open style limited their usefulness.
That’s why, the company decided to present the next iteration just three months later.
Hence, the LinkBuds S (available at Amazon for approximately $141.00) were introduced to the market, and its more traditional design increases their versatility and improves their sound, with a $200 price tag. Although, these new Linkbuds struggle to stand out in a crowded field. Let’s see how it goes.
About the Sony LinkBuds S
The specs for the Sony LinkBuds S are as follows:
- Price: $200
- Battery Life: Up to 6+ hours, 20 hours total with the case
- Fast charging: 5 minutes charge for 1 hour of listening
- Colors: Black, White
- Ambient sound modes: Adaptive Active Noise Canceling (ANC) with Sony V1 chip, Transparency mode
- Speakers: 5mm drivers
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2
- Audio codecs: AAC, LDAC, DSEE Extreme
- Dust/water resistance: IPX4
- Fit: Four sizes (SS, S, M, LL)
- Weight: 4.8 grams per bud, 35 grams for charging case
Small, sleek, and light
This is probably one of the most important aspects of these earbuds. Especially if you’re a user that is expected to wear them most of the day, as they’re comfortable and unobtrusive, and fortunately, the LinkBuds S fit the bill.
As you see, they fit your ears well without going too deeply into your ear canal but you’ll never feel like they are in danger of falling out, even when you’re working out. Plus, it should be noted for its visual style, since they’re flush to the ear in a more attractive way than the original LinkBuds. The body of the S isn’t as bulbous, revealing a flatter top that blends better into your ears.
A bevy of customization options
Apart from having touch controls on the sides, these earphones rely on the excellent Sony Headphones app for most functions. Likewise they have Sony’s Adaptive Sound Control, with which you can allow noise canceling and transparency mode to be automated depending on the activity or even location. Sitting, walking, running, or riding the subway can all be assigned to have noise canceling on, transparency (labeled Ambient Sound) on a 20-point sliding scale, or everything off.
Plus, there is Speak-to-Chat, an equalizer with 12 sound profile settings (including two custom options), 360 Reality Audio Setup with supported apps, DSEE Extreme for improving compressed audio, and quick access customization for Spotify and Endel, an app that provides relaxing soundscapes.
Impressive noise canceling
They feature noise cancelliing within what is expected from Sony, but also, according to some experts, they are better with the crowd noise than the Apple’s AirPods Pro, and they’re certainly more expensive. While the AirPods Pro are quite functional with low-frequency sounds such as airplane noise, for everyday external noises, the LinkBuds offer a better experience.
Fuller audio performance
For this new generation, Sony implemented a sound equalizer (EQ) that allows you to reduce the pushy midrange in some songs, which provide you with an even more satisfying listening experience.
Improved battery life
Previously, Sony delivered some disappointing results with the limited battery life of the first LinkBuds. Actually, for a pair that doesn’t include the power-sucking ANC feature, only having 5.5 hours of battery life for earbuds meant to be used all day is a bit disappointing.
Even now, with the added ANC functionality, Sony lists the LinkBuds S at 6 hours, which you can find to be on the conservative side. Nonetheless, according to some testing (playing a constant stream of music at around 75% volume with ANC turned on), they made it just past 6.5 hours. This, although not a big difference, is quite positive.
Should you buy them?
Although the new LinkBuds S are original and have some advantages over their predecessors, like the improvement on the sound of music and calls, add in ANC, and are more comfortable. The truth is that they’re yet another model with ANC and transparency mode in a very crowded field, a field where you can find other good brands for less money.