Sony may have achieved the impossible today, launching an innovative pair of truly wireless earbuds, the LinkBuds are unlike anything we have seen before. Starting at $179, they face an extremely competitive spot in the earbud market, but Sony's reputation for innovation and quality in the audio realm may be enough to entice buyers to this exciting new offering.
Sony claims the LinkBuds will help users "Stay connected and aware at all times with the help of an open ring design with audio transparency, ultra-small super fit, and crystal-clear sound and call quality. By leveraging LinkBuds’ unique design, sensors, and spatial sound technologies, Sony will create new sound experiences with our partners, with a focus on AR gaming, sound AR navigation, new work from home experiences, and quick access to music."
The ring design gives the LinkBuds a look all their own with a focus on giving users the ability to stay connected to the outside world without compromising sound quality thanks to a newly developed "ring driver" featuring an open central diaphragm for audio transparency.
The LinkBuds arrive with a new 12mm ring driver and I'm very curious to hear the kind of thump and audio quality they can produce as most earbuds feature 10mm drivers. Sony's LinkBuds use " precise voice pickup technology that performs advanced voice signal processing. Sony’s noise reduction algorithm was developed with AI machine learning...to suppress ambient noise and extract voice clearly. Even when they’re used in noisy environments, LinkBuds offer a quiet space for clear calls."
Sony claims the LinkBuds are rated at up to 5.5 hours of continuous use, 17.5 hours during normal daily use with the charging case. If you're in a hurry you can pop them in the charger for ten minutes and get an additional 90 minutes of playtime. Pairing should be easy as the LinkBuds support Google's Fast Pair and Microsoft's Swift Pair technology which allow you to quickly connect to phones, tablets and laptops via Bluetooth. The LinkBuds are rated IPX4 Dust and Water-resistant, so they will easily survive your sweaty jogs around the park.
You can unlock a host of additional features if you use the Sony Connect app. This includes familiar features like Adaptive Volume Control and Wide Area Tap, along with more unique offerings like Speak to Chat which automatically pauses your music if you start to speak with someone. Of course, for hands-free fans there is also support for Google and Alexa.
The Sony LinkBuds are competitively priced, and feature-rich but, how do they sound? We will let you know as soon as we get a pair to review. I admit I am very curious about how they will fit in my massive ears and what Sony has come up with for fitting options given the unique design.