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Review: Sony LinkBuds S

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Sony launched the original LinkBuds wireless earbuds in March 2022 with a unique ring driver design, and the company quickly followed up with the launch of the new LinkBuds S. Unlike the LinkBuds, which focus on allowing ambient sound in, the S model is designed to block out ambient noise with an in-ear fit and active noise cancelling (ANC) system.

These earbuds are also similar in appearance to the Sony WF-1000XM4 but are made of recycled plastic, making them lightweight and comfortable to wear. In terms of sound profile, Sony has moved away from a heavy bass, boomy sound, and towards a more balanced audio experience. Inside the box, you get the Sony LinkBuds S earbuds, four tip sizes, a charging case, the USB-C to USB-A charging cable, and user manuals.

The Sony LinkBuds S come in three colour variants such as Black, White, and Ecru. We tested the Black variant for this review. The design of the LinkBuds S is familiar and easy to use. The earbuds come with four different sizes of ear tips, and their ergonomic shape fits comfortably in my ear.

The sealed fit of the earbuds means that you won’t be able to hear your surroundings as well as the original LinkBuds, but it also means that you can hear the bass in your music more clearly. Additionally, the sealed fit can also help to protect your hearing by reducing the need to crank up the volume during loud environmental noise.

One aspect that carries over from the original LinkBuds WF-L900 is the matte textured plastic of the LinkBuds S and its charging case. On one hand, the texture feels nice, and it’s hard to imagine them ever slipping out of your hand. However, they are also quick to attract dust which actually isn’t a biggie if you are used to regularly cleaning your earbuds.

The LinkBuds S are also IPX4 water-resistant, making them suitable for workouts and commutes. In addition to active noise-cancellation, they also feature an ambient sound or transparency mode that allows you to hear more of your surroundings.

The Sony Headphones Connect app offers 20 levels of adjustment for this feature, providing a significant amount of flexibility. The earbuds come equipped with the same Integrated Processor V1 and DSEE Extreme processor found in the LinkBuds and the WF-1000XM4, allowing it to upscale digital music files to near-high-resolution quality.

The LinkBuds S is easy to control – all the functions can be controlled by tapping on the flat exterior of the earbuds. The controls include toggling between active noise cancelling (ANC) and transparency mode, activating your virtual assistant, controlling volume, and controlling playback.

There is also an awareness mode, which you can activate by holding the side of an earbud for a quick hit of transparency mode, similar to other Sony audio products like the WH-1000XM5. You can customise the control profile of each earbud in the Sony Headphones Connect app, but you cannot set individual controls – you can’t set the left earbud to control playback and the right earbud to control volume, for instance.

The LinkBuds S features Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity and support for LE Audio, in addition to Sony’s high-resolution LDAC codec, SBC and AAC. They also have the ability to connect to two devices simultaneously, thanks to a firmware update that allows for Bluetooth multipoint connectivity.

Sony claims that the LinkBuds S can last up to 6 hours on a single charge, and in testing, we found the earbuds to come close to that claim. With a constant output of real music peaking at 75dB (SPL), the Sony LinkBuds S lasted for 5 hours and 41 minutes on a single charge, which is pretty good. The charging case also provides an additional 14 hours of charge, bringing the total to nearly 20 hours.

The Sony LinkBuds S have outstanding consistency in their frequency response. When you get a good fit and seal, you will experience consistent bass and treble delivery with every use. They also have excellent mid-range accuracy. Their frequency range is fairly neutral, which makes vocals and lead instruments sound clear and detailed.

Additionally, the peaks and dips in the frequency response of the Sony LinkBuds S are excellent. In terms of noise isolation, the LinkBuds S perform excellently as well.

Sony is already well-established in the world of in-ear earbuds, with its WF-1000XM4 being a highly sought-after pair of truly wireless earbuds. The noise cancellation and audio quality on the WF-1000XM4 are superior to the LinkBuds S, making them the top choice if you’re considering Sony earbuds.

However, the Sony LinkBuds S still offer many of the same features at a lower price point, and their more lightweight and compact design may appeal to those who find the XM4 to be too bulky. At their current price of AED 450, they are a solid investment and a marked improvement over the original LinkBuds.

Price: AED 450

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1 Comment

  1. Thank you very much for sharing, I learned a lot from your article. Very cool. Thanks. nimabi

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