Sony LinkBuds The price in India is Rs 19,990 and they promise a comfortable fit all day long. They also have the convenience of listening to the surrounding sound and the call and audio performance is also claimed to be better. True wireless earphones that you can wear all day and use in a variety of ways, the Sony LinkBuds are quite different from the premium TWS headsets that you usually get. Do they fulfill all the promises made? Find out in this review.
Sony LinkBuds Design and Features
The design of Sony LinkBuds attracts the most. Many people, if not already aware, would not even think that these are earphones. Outer ear fit has been given in these and they do not go inside the ear canal. No stem has been given in them. There is a donut-like hole in the driver chamber of the earpiece, so that the surrounding sound can be heard clearly even when the earphones are on.
This means that even when they are on (without audio playing) I can hear my surroundings. If it is equally important for you to listen to the sounds around you, then you will not find a better design than this right now. This unique design also gives a comfortable fit, with which Sony also provides Arc support. There are five pairs of tips in the sales package for a customizable fit. According to the shape of my ear, I found the tips with the smallest size the most comfortable. But this affected the security. There was a fear of the earpiece coming out with a slight movement of the head, so you will have to try them on and choose the most comfortable and safe pair.
The Sony LinkBuds earpieces weigh 4.1 grams and are rated IPX4 for water resistance. An interesting texture has been given to the outside sides. They have been made touch sensitive for the controls. The interesting thing is that you do not need to tap the earpiece, for this a feature called Wide Area Tap has been given in it.
When enabled through the app, you can tap on your cheek in front of your ear. This gives control over the earbuds. For me it worked well. This made on-device control a lot easier.
Compared to most wireless headsets available in this price range, its charging case is quite small. Due to this, it takes up even less space in the pocket. At the front, it has a lid release button and indicator light. There is a pairing button and Type C port at the back. Charging requires the earpiece to fit in place, but it automatically pops off the lid, so it gets used to it soon. You don’t get wireless charging at this price point, which is disappointing.
Other features include voice assistant, Google Fast Fair, Spotify Tap and 360 Reality Auto. It doesn’t get any active noise cancellation but due to the position and design of the headsets, it doesn’t miss it.
Sony LinkBuds App and Specifications
Sony LinkBuds work like the rest of the company’s headsets through the Sony Headphones Connect app, which is available for both iOS and Android. The app has a long list of features for them which include Speak to Chat, Equalizer, 360 Reality Audio Configuration, Tap Control Customization, Adaptive Volume Control, Auto Play and Pause, and Firmware Update.
Some of these features are also present in the old Sony headsets. The Sony LinkBuds have adaptive volume control that adjusts the volume according to the noise or sounds coming from the surrounding environment. The Wide Area Tap toggle lets you use on-device controls without even touching the earpiece.
For connectivity, it has been given Bluetooth 5.2 with support for SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs. Advanced Bluetooth codec is not supported here, which is disappointing at this price point. The frequency response range of 20-20,000Hz has been given in the earphones. Apart from 5 pairs of arch support fittings, you also get a USB Type C cable in the box.
Sony LinkBuds Performance and Battery Life
Sony’s Linkbuds are designed in such a way that they cannot be compared with any other product in this price segment. There is no passive noise cancellation and no active noise cancellation. Nevertheless, the company offers a comfortable fit, a wide range of functions and usage with an awareness of the surrounding environment.
Initially, it was a bit difficult to get used to, but overall, they give a good experience, as I find in other earphones. The all-day comfort, multipurpose nature and ambient awareness make them my favorite earphones.
Hearing the audio playing on the earphones without passive noise cancellation was challenging to say, but the earphones delivered a decent feel in terms of volume and audio. The sonic signature felt a bit strange, with the sub-bass frequency being very weak and the mid bass too dull.
It was fine to hear Croatia Squad and Frey’s White Horse loudly in the house. However, thumps and attacks were missing in this aggressive house track and its deep and rhythmic beats sounded a bit hollow.
Still, the sound was fairly balanced and details were decent in the mid-range. The reason for this could be its form factor. Also, ambient sound coming with audio play can also affect it. But it can also be said with certainty that it does not fit into the music of the genre in many ways.
These earphones seem to struggle a bit in the outdoors. I was able to comfortably listen to the audio playing in the earphones when the volume was turned up to 80 percent. But at this point again the surrounding sound could not be detected. It didn’t cause much trouble in a quiet area, but the sound coming from a busy Mumbai road was obstructing.
Due to the tuning of these earbuds, they work well for voice based content like audio books, movies and TV shows and YouTube videos. The voice sounds quite clear. Along with this, the quality of voice calls is also very good. At a slightly higher level of volume, they get a good calling experience. Rather, having the ears open to outside noise during calls also makes calls more natural.
Their battery life will be said to be average. Neither battery-consuming active noise cancellation nor advanced Bluetooth codec support is provided, yet the average battery life disappoints. It lasted 4 hours 35 minutes on moderate volume.
Sony makes the best wireless headphones and earphones. It has a wide range of products which can be selected as per the requirement. Sony LinkBuds come in the company’s unique products. This is in contrast to the commonly found design and has been made to give a special kind of user experience.
Sony LinkBuds manage to deliver comfortable fit, ambient sound experience, sound quality. However, your music experience may be slightly affected in a noisy environment. Along with the weak bass level, some genre music can have strange experiences. I love using these earphones for calls, outdoor walks and everyday work at my work desk.
The Sony LinkBuds are expensive at Rs 19,990 and just looking at the unique design, they are expensive even in the pre-order price of Rs 14,990. These are good for users who want a great experience with voice based sound and are looking for earphones with good ambient awareness. But, if you are more inclined towards music then I would recommend Sony WF-1000XM4 in this price range.