Sony LinkBuds S is available for $198 in the global market. The earbuds are not launched in India yet. They are available in two colour options: Black and White.
You can buy the Sony LinkBuds S TWS earbuds directly from Sony’s official website or Amazon.
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The Sony LinkBuds S packs the following items inside the box:
- Charging case
- 4 sizes of silicone earbud tips
- USB-C charging cable
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Before we talk more about the Sony LinkBuds S, let’s see what on-paper specs look like:
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2
- Supported OS: Android and iOS
- Weight: 4.8g (earbud), 35g (case)
They don’t look like standard Sony LinkBuds, which have a hole running right through the middle of each earbud. The Sony LinkBuds S, on the other hand, are a lot like the Sony WF-1000XM4 (review) in terms of design and features.
The LinksBuds S case looks like a mix of the WF-1000XM4 case and the AirPods case. It has a rounded lid and a flat bottom so it can stand up on a flat surface.
I really like the clean, rounded shape of the earbuds that can be worn all day without any discomfort. As Sony claims, the LinkBuds S is meant to be worn all day, so I put them through their paces.
The small size and super-light design allowed them to be worn for long periods of time without discomfort. Sony includes a set of eartips in four different sizes. In most cases, I go for the smallest size of ear tips, but in this case, the standard one worked just fine.
A capacitive touch control is given on the outer surface of each earbud. The right bud allows you to play/pause/skip music; while the left bud lets you switch between ANC and transparency mode. In addition, you can customise these as per your choice via the app.
They have an IPX4 rating, which means they can withstand the light rain or the sweat while working out in the gym. The packaging does not contain any plastic, and the earbuds and the case are made from recycled plastic from automobile parts.
The sound quality of the Sony LinkBuds S is excellent, with rich, subtle tones. But do they have the same high-quality sound as the flagship XM4 earbuds? To answer your question directly, no; however, given the lower cost, you probably shouldn’t expect them to. I don’t mean to say that the LinkBuds S don’t sound good, because they absolutely do. Sound clarity, definition, and bass all come together in a perfect harmony.
They sound natural and accurate, with a well-balanced tonal signature. The vocal and instrument midrange is crystal clear and powerful, but the high end isn’t as impressive.
I have to say that the ANC was pretty good and most of the users will be more than happy with it. I was able to watch a number of YouTube videos and enjoyed my Spotify playlist without interruption in a number of environments.
When it comes to the call quality, Sony claims that the mesh-covered microphones will help reduce wind noise. My experience with voice calling was typically satisfactory but not up to my expectations.
That being said, for this size and weight, you won’t find a better set of earbuds on the market. Additionally, if you are using an Android device that supports LDAC Bluetooth connection, you will be able to get slightly better sound quality.
Sony claims the LinkBuds S can last for about 6 hours with ANC activated, and the case holds an additional 14 hours. A total of 20 hours is reasonable, especially when the noise cancellation feature is on.
Even though it’s not the best in its class, the best-performing buds are significantly larger and heavier. In comparison, the fairly light Apple AirPods Pro get 4.5 hours of battery life per charge when using ANC, so Sony has a significant advantage here.
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You only get the option to charge the earbuds using the Type-C cable since there is no wireless charging support. This was a little disappointing to see, considering their price tag. Sony, on the other hand, claims that charging the earbuds using the Type-C cable for five minutes will provide an hour of playback time.
The Sony LinkBuds S features Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity, and you can download the companion app on your phone to access all the features. Pairing begins as soon as you open the case and these earbuds also support Google’s Fast Pair (only for Android devices).
LinkBuds S is compatible with Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant, just like most other Sony headphones. You can use it to change the playback or ask other questions.
Now, let’s talk about the noise cancellation, which, in typical Sony fashion, is quite impressive. You can toggle between the noise-cancelling feature and ambient sound by tapping the left earbud. The ambient sound feature makes use of the microphones in the earbuds to bring in sounds from the environment in your ears.
In addition, the earbuds can detect when you’re moving and automatically change the ANC/transparency modes. You also get the Speak-to-Chat feature that recognises when you are talking with another person and automatically pauses your music and switches to the Ambient Sound Mode. These features and listening preferences can be customised based on your activities through the companion app.
The music pauses and resumes automatically when you remove one or both of your earbuds from your ears, thanks to ear-detection sensors. Also, you can use only one of the two buds — left or right — and keep the other one for charging in the case.
Sadly, there are no volume controls on the earbuds themselves, however, that doesn’t bother me much. The lack of the Multipoint connection feature is a little disappointing.
For the price, the Sony LinkBuds S are an excellent choice for those looking for a pair of noise-cancelling earbuds that also sound good. In addition to their small size and lightweight and comfortable fit, these earbuds offer decent battery life and an impressive number of customisable controls.
More expensive earbuds, such as the XM4s, do provide better audio quality, but they are bulky and heavy. However, if audio quality is your primary concern, we’d recommend you getting the AirPods Pro or Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds.