Sony LinkBuds: perfect sound without disconnecting from the outside
“Sony did a tremendous engineering job on these headphones”
Small and light design
Excellent audio quality
Large area spotting option
no wireless charging
For some people they can be annoying
Sony turns the world of wireless headphones upside down with its latest model, the Sony LinkBuds. These are completely different from anything we’ve seen so far, as they have an open ring design instead of the classic in-ear format.
I tried out this pair of ultra-lightweight headphones for $180, and if you want to know what I thought, I recommend reading on.
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As expected, the first point we stop at in this analysis is the design of the new sony linkbuds. They are very small and only weigh 4 grams. In fact, when I put them next to the Sony WF-1000XM4 and WF-C500 they almost looked like toys, but they are not.
The headphones and their case are made from recycled plastic materials from vehicles. You may think that since they are made of plastic, their finish is of low quality, however, this is not the case. They are very well built and come in two colors: dark gray and white.
These small “donuts” are introduced into our ear canal and are suspended in the ears through comfortable silicone earmuffs. As each ear is different, Sony includes four sizes of adapters in the box so that you can use the best one for you. Putting them on and removing them from the headphones is very simple.
The LinkBuds are light, easy to put on and also fit very well in the ear. However, in my case (I have very small ears) the experience was not entirely good. And it is that, even with the smallest adapter, after a long time with them on I noticed a slight discomfort in the ear, since the rubber band pressed me too much on the inner fold.
I emphasize that this is my case, so the experience will depend a lot on each person and the anatomy of their ear, but the main conclusion is that they do not weigh anything, they do not move and therefore they do not fall out.
To continue with the design, these headphones are 50 percent smaller than the Sony WF-1000XM4, something that is also reflected in their case. In this case, the case is 26 percent smaller than the 1000XM4’s (which in turn was 40 percent smaller than the WF-1000XM3’s) and 17 percent lighter. This size reduction has a clear winner: our comfort.
It is a real pleasure to carry these headphones, since the whole set barely exceeds 40 grams and does not bulk at all. Finally, note that they are IPX4 rated, so if you are someone who exercises with headphones, sweat and rain will not be a problem for you.
Sound quality and controls
First of all, we have to mention that these headphones do not have noise cancellation (impossible with that hole), so they are more focused on day-to-day use, where we do not want to disconnect from the outside.
Instead of using bone conduction drivers or speakers, the LinkBuds have a ring format that allows all sounds from the outside world to enter through the hole. At the same time, the digital sounds you play reach the hate through the inside of the ring.
The sound quality is excellent, but more powerful bass is missing (it is the price to pay for those large holes that open a window to the outside).
With a low volume, the most subtle ambient sounds are heard; however, if you turn it up a bit you can hear louder sounds like screaming or a car horn, but not much else. By this, what I mean is that these headphones do not isolate you, but they do allow you to enjoy what you are listening to above the outside noise.
For example, I took them on a trip when I went to the MWC, in Barcelona, and I could listen to music or make calls on the street or in the subway without any problem. Of course, to work on the train or in the press room I had to use headphones with active noise cancellation.
As for the controls, at first it becomes a bit awkward to handle them, since the surface is very small, but Sony has a solution for this: the large area tapping option. With this we can perform the gestures in regions close to the ear (below the lobe and the pin) to handle the controls more easily.
Another function that I loved is “Speak to chat”, with which the headphones are able to identify when you speak to someone to stop playback.
Just like the rest of Sony headphones, we can manage them from the Headphones Connect app for Android or iOS. Although it is not strictly necessary, we do recommend it, since after pairing them with the phone the app allows you to calibrate them to fit your ear.
Sony has not officially confirmed the size of the battery of these headphones or the charging case, but claims that they are capable of giving us a range of 5.5 hours with continuous playback.
During my tests, more or less this was the time of use that I got, always depending on the volume at which I used them. The case gives an additional 12 hours with a full charge and in just over 10 minutes you have two hours of autonomy.
As a weak point I will say that they do not have wireless charging; This is done via USB-C (it has a cable for it).
Sony did a tremendous job of engineering on these headphones. If you are one of those who usually always wear one and not the other to be able to hear what they tell you, without a doubt these are perfect for you.
In addition, this brand is always a guarantee of quality in terms of sound, and both its size and weight are perfect to always carry with you. Of course, if you are looking for headphones with noise cancellation you will have to opt for the WF-1000XM4 (quite more expensive) or for cheaper ones such as the Echo Buds second generation.