Sony LinkBuds presented: How to listen with open in-ear headphones?

Remember those curious Sony headphones we reported about the other day? The Sony LinkBuds have now been officially unveiled! This also reveals the question of how exactly you should wear the headphones in the ear. Check out below for details on pricing, and other features included in the earbuds!


TL;DR

  • Sony introduced the LinkBuds.
  • A new headphone design is supposed to let more ambient noise through.
  • Available from mid-February for $179.99.

Sony LinkBuds TWS headphones

Sony introduced a real eye-catcher with the new LinkBuds! The headphones do not look particularly good, but original. There is a kind of donut instead of a silicone tip, which is inserted into the ear canal as in most models. According to Sony, the open ring design lets more ambient noise through when listening.

Sony Link Buds Nextpit 02
Donuts or rather motorcycles – what do you see in the Sony LinkBuds? / © Sony

So basically, it’s the exact opposite of what most in-ear Bluetooth headphones with ANC try to do. Technically, Sony has put an opening in the middle of the speaker membranes for this, which allows noise to enter the ear. However, the design also contributes to the fact that the individual Earbuds weigh just four grams.

Smart Earbuds with Fast Pair and Swift Pair

As you can see in the photos in the article, the Sony LinkBuds are inserted into the ear. How good the hold and the wearing comfort are we will only know for sure after testing them. Technically, the headphones offer a frequency response of 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz and support DSEE. Besides Bluetooth 5.2, the support of Fast Pair and Swift Pair is especially interesting for Android and Windows users. As you can read in the review of the Beats Studio Buds, the headphones are connected to the Google account and can be used conveniently on other devices.

The support of Bluetooth codecs looks pretty meager at first glance. AAC and SBC are available, but HD codecs like AptX and Sony’s own codec LDAC are not on board. The battery life is also below average with 5.5 hours of active music playback. Many rivals last longer here even with activated ANC.

Sony Link Buds Nextpit 03
The LinkBuds’ case is compact / © Sony

There are touch-sensitive surfaces for control, which could lead to incorrect inputs in the rain – as the headphones are IPX4-certified. Alternatively, you can use Alexa or Google Assistant. Another thing I found interesting about Sony’s press release is an adaptive volume control that automatically adjusts the sound to the environment. As we know from the WF-1000XM4, Sony is quite advanced with such technologies!

My take on the LinkBuds:

“Sony’s new design looks interesting and is already being praised in initial reviews. However, I doubt that it offers many advantages over current ANC headphones. After all, these usually support transparency modes, where ambient noise is digitally injected. This works very well in practice and has one advantage: You can only use the LinkBuds as open headphones – ANC headphones are much more flexible there.

One more thing: The battery life looks really poor for headphones without ANC. I’m curious whether Sony can improve this in the next generations despite the new design.

Last but not least, the price and availability: the LinkBuds, which Sony also calls “WF-L900”, will start shipping in mid-February in white and anthracite. To try them out, you’ll have to invest $179.90! Interested buyers can simply go to Amazon here* or follow the link just below this article.

What do you think of the new Sony LinkBuds? Exciting or not? Let me know in the comments.

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