Sony LinkBuds S assessment: Gentle as air, noise canceling as AirPods Professional

Following the over-ear Sony WH-1000XM5, not too long ago the Japanese firm additionally launched the LinkBuds S in its place choice to the older LinkBuds.

Being the smallest and lightest* earbuds on the planet proper now (with many asterisks), Sony’s new true wi-fi LinkBuds S are a worthy choice at $200, particularly if you happen to worth consolation and highly effective ANC (energetic noise canceling).

They’re out there now in Black, White, plus an extra Ecru coloration unique to Greatest Purchase.

*Smallest and lightest noise canceling, Hello-Res really wi-fi headphones.

Design and match

The LinkBuds S are available in a case just like the AirPods Professional’s case, besides matte. It feels good and clean to the contact, although. Its lid actually does not open way back to I might’ve appreciated, however it does snap shut magnetically with an assuring “clank”.

Inside now we have the tiny LinkBuds S earbuds themselves. In its design, at first look they appear pretty conventional, with rubber eartips, flat, touch-sensitive areas, and maybe most notably, a vent-like mesh on every one.

The earbuds do really feel as good because the case, being manufactured from the very same matte plastic, and are certainly fairly light-weight within the hand. Nevertheless, do not count on to be blown away by their measurement, they appear fairly average-sized, regardless of Sony’s “smallest and lightest” claims.

Talking of their design and construct high quality, the LinkBuds S are rated IPX4, which means they’re water resistant sufficient to outlive even the worst exercise sweats. Nevertheless, I would not danger it with something greater than that, like rain, precisely due to these aforementioned vents. These are undoubtedly not swim-proof earbuds, so preserve them away from the pool or seaside, and admittedly, preserve them away from the rain too.

So, how do the brand new LinkBuds S (which, by the best way Sony alternatively calls WF-LS900N) match and really feel within the ear? With these claims of being tremendous mild, most likely nice, proper? Did not imply to rhyme this. However yeah.

I’m usually somebody who cannot stand rubber eartips, they’ll irritate my ears, so I gravitate in the direction of earbuds that do not have them, just like the Galaxy Buds Dwell.

However to be trustworthy, the LinkBuds S are mild sufficient that it is a non-issue right here. And I am keen to wager most customers could be simply effective utilizing them for a lot of, many hours on finish. They’re so mild and straightforward to neglect about.

And it is a comfortable match too, they will not be flying off your ears throughout a vigorous train, even if you happen to’re shaking your head like a madman. Completely no complaints right here, with regards to the LinkBuds S design, match and really feel.

Contained in the field you get the earbuds of their case, 3 units of rubber eartips in several sizes to select from, and a USB Sort-C charging cable.


We now have the standard contact controls right here, that you simply’re undoubtedly accustomed to by now if you happen to’ve ever used Sony or Samsung earbuds earlier than.

You may faucet the flat, touch-sensitive areas on every earbud to play and pause, skip a observe, return to a earlier one, summon a digital assistant like Siri, Alexa or Google Assistant, change between ANC (energetic noise canceling) and ambient sound, and so forth.

The essential query is, are these contact controls on the LinkBuds S pretty much as good and correct as they’re on the XM5s?

Reply – they’re certainly. In contrast to most Samsung true wi-fi earbuds, the Sony LinkBuds S might be adjusted in your ear, taken off or placed on, with out you having to fret about unintentionally triggering a contact gesture, in any respect.

Sony was sensible to provide these earbuds a floor space you’ll be able to seize them by, separate from their touch-sensitive sides, which themselves are sufficiently small you can solely set off with intent. And the contact controls work completely in recognizing what you are attempting to do, no points there both.

Like I mentioned in our XM5 assessment, props to Sony for mastering contact controls, one thing I often dread having to cope with with regards to headphones and earbuds.

Sound high quality and noise-canceling

The Sony LinkBuds S sound nice, plain and easy. There’s an ideal stability between sound readability, definition and bass. Whereas the XM5s felt a bit underwhelming notably within the bass space for me, a bass lover, the LinkBuds S do not skimp on that fats bass you could be accustomed to. At the least if you happen to’re a fan of contemporary digital dance music.

Now, this may be undesirable to some preferring a extra “flat” sound with much less pronounced bass, however for me, and for what I assume is almost all of individuals probably to purchase $200 earbuds for informal listening – there’s nothing to complain about right here, I solely have good issues to say.

There is no distortion or ear-piercing highs you may need skilled with lesser earbuds, and do not get me flawed in regards to the bass – it isn’t some ultra-fat, muddy bass that utterly destroys a music. It is clear, and by way of loudness – good. And you’ll tone it down through Sony’s app, which we’ll discuss later.

Let’s get on to the noise canceling, which in typical Sony trend – impresses. You may faucet the left earbud with a purpose to change between ANC and ambient sound, with the latter utilizing the earbuds’ mics to let the encircling sounds (voices, and many others.) in so that you can hear. However change to ANC and the world goes silent.

I child you not, there are loud seagulls flying round and no less than two constructions happening in my neighborhood, all of it went useless silent as soon as I put the LinkBuds S on. I can not promote you on them sufficient – even when I stretch to listen to one thing, it is simply the keyboard keys clicking as I write this, together with faint, muffled high-frequency outdoors noise reminiscent of fowl chirping.

Like with the Sony XM5s, I am very impressed with the ANC right here, particularly contemplating we’re coping with tiny earbuds, and never over-ear headphones. In actual fact, Sony claims that the ANC of the LinkBuds S is on par with the XM5s, which after utilizing them each, I am keen to consider.

App and options

And now to speak about one thing I am not fairly as keen on. You need not, however if you need, you’ll be able to obtain Sony’s Headphones Join app, with a purpose to additional improve your LinkBuds S expertise.

After you conform to its phrases and situations and it pesters you to create an account with Sony (fortunately you’ll be able to skip that), you get entry to some further options.

Most notably these embody the underwhelming 360 Actuality Audio characteristic, which solely works with a couple of apps and is barely price mentioning, but Sony does so on a regular basis.

But additionally you’ll be able to arrange your most popular voice assistant, so you’ll be able to summon it with instructions (e.g. “OK Google” or “Alexa”).

You should utilize the app’s built-in equalizer to make your music sound kind of bassy, you too can see a useful tutorial on methods to use these earbuds and notably – their contact controls, nice for novices.

From the app you too can allow Converse-to-Chat, which is a very useful characteristic that pauses your music robotically while you begin speaking to somebody, and continues it shortly after you’ve got stopped. Very useful if you happen to’re, say, in a pub and somebody brings you a pleasant chilly beer, as you’ll be able to instantly strike a dialog with out touching something; your music will pause by itself, for so long as that dialog lasts!

From the app you too can allow DSEE Excessive, which is off by default. Now that characteristic is unquestionably price preserving on, because it upscales any compressed music that you simply play, elevating its sampling frequency and bit charge. Will you are feeling a distinction? Who is aware of, maybe with YouTube you may. In any case, it does not damage preserving it on, proper?

After all, you will additionally use this app to replace your LinkBuds S’ software program when new variations come out. However in the end, if nothing right here piques your curiosity, you’ll be able to simply go with out downloading this app in any respect.

Name high quality

The Sony LinkBuds S have computerized wind noise discount, and it undoubtedly exhibits. Even within the wind, my voice was clear and concise in calls, even when a bit mono-ish-sounding, as if I am talking by means of a tube.

Suffice to say, voice readability is superb, and you will be effective utilizing the LinkBuds S for the occasional Skype or Zoom name. However this may not be the high-end microphone you will need to use to begin a podcast or for Twitch streaming and what not.

To be truthful, most wi-fi earbuds’ mics on this worth vary sound about on par with LinkBuds S on common, so do not let my minor points with the voice high quality discourage you from getting these.

Different noteworthy options and specs

Like with our Sony XM5 assessment, listed below are among the worthy options and specs in regards to the LinkBuds S that we both did not point out, or did not point out sufficient, for the additional tech savvy amongst you…

  • 5mm drivers, high-power neodymium magnets
  • Hello-Res audio, LDAC and DSEE Excessive assist

  • Frequency response (44.1 kHz sampling): 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz
  • Frequency response (LDAC 96 kHz sampling, 990 kbps): 20 Hz – 40,000 Hz

  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • Bluetooth vary: 32.81 ft (10 meters)

  • ANC energy is on par with Sony WF-1000XM3
  • Swift Pair / Quick Pair
  • IPX4 water-resistant
  • USB Sort-C charging, no wi-fi charging

As well as – sure, the LinkBuds S will pause your music robotically while you take them off, which is all the time useful. In addition they are available in eco-friendly packaging, which – once more – is all the time good to see.

Battery life

On their very own, the Sony LinkBuds S earbuds are rated to final about 6 hours on a single cost with ANC on, or as much as 10 with ANC off. However paired with their case, they’ll simply final you as much as 20 hours of utilization.

Particularly for the earbuds’ small measurement, these 6 standalone hours are fairly spectacular, and the extra 14 hours you may get while you retailer them of their case means you are set for the weekend. Or for effectively past two days, relying on how lengthy your music-listening classes are.

It is also price noting that Sony says a 5-minute fast cost of the case will get you as much as an hour of further playback, so if you happen to’re all the time on the go, you will undoubtedly respect this.

There is a draw back – regardless of their $200 worth, the LinkBuds S’ case does not assist wi-fi charging. Solely wired, through the USB Sort-C port on its again.

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