Sony LinkBuds S Review : Sony Has Figured Out The “Middle Ground” | Tech Reviews
It’s clear that Sony is the brand to beat in the growing market for TWS earphones , but that doesn’t mean the Japanese brand is willing to give up ground. With the WF-1000XM4 , it became clear to us that they know how to adapt a series of benefits in a small space, while with the curious LinkBuds (see on Amazon) they knew how to experiment to obtain better results. However, there is a link that unites both concepts: a quality active cancellation system without neglecting the design. Is it worth investing in some Sony LinksBuds S? This is FADVICES’ opinion.
Sony LinkBuds S: Technical Specifications
|SONY LINKBUDS S WFLS900N|
|DIMENSIONS||CASE: 42.8 x 60 x 27.6 mm and 35 grams | Buds: 4.8 grams|
|DRIVER||5mm Closed Dynamic | neodymium magnets | IPX4|
|INTERACTION||Tactile recognition on both buds | iOS and Android apps|
|CONNECTIVITY||BT 5.2 up to 10m away | A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, HSP|
|FORMATS||SBC, AAC, LDAC | DSEE Extreme|
|ANC||Ambient mode, noise cancellation|
|BATTERY||51mAh in buds | 450mAh in case | USB-C charging|
|EXTRAS||Alexa & Google Assistant | Google Fast Pair | Speak to Chat|
Sony LinkBuds S: This is what you should know about the team
Light and comfortable. In this case, Sony goes back to classic mode and gives us closed LinkBuds similar to the WF-1000XM4 in shape, but trimmed down in material. We find a beige edition worked with recycled materials and a lighter weight. We do not have memory foam, but we do have a replaceable hypoallergenic silicone tip with different sizes available in the case and improve the passivity of noise cancellation.
The protruding part of these headphones is very subtle, without being an exposed and obvious button. The external surface is tactile and designed for programmable gestures, just like other products we have reviewed. The case is soft to the touch and features a button for pairing and reset, while the lid closes over a multi-color LED that determines connectivity and power.
Beyond the design, they are the most comfortable headphones I have used this year and, without a doubt, I would have kept them as the main ones for comfort. Zero friction, no problems with material that causes itching and easy to remove from the case. I’ve worn them for hours and frankly, I haven’t had any discomfort.
Sony improves matchmaking. For a few versions, Sony allows connection to smartphones through the Google Fast Pair protocol, a simple procedure that is integrated into all equipment under our Google account. Being Bluetooth 5.2, we can pair the LinkBuds S simultaneously with a PC.
Unlike other equipment in the category, here we find signal optimizers and compatibility with LDAC, the high-resolution audio codec. In addition to support for AAC and SBC, the Sony app allows you to integrate headphones with TIDAL and 360 audio, the two flags associated with Japanese audio.
This equipment has Sony’s “Ambient Mode” and compatibility with “Speak to Chat” to activate the conversational mode without removing the headphones. Since we are talking about “taking off our headphones”, the LinkBuds integrate sensors to pause and resume the multimedia just by putting on or taking off each bud.
Tactile feedback and Quick Access. Sony implements in its app the possibility of customizing the touch and pulse time in each hearing aid, in addition to incorporating “Quick Access to Spotify” to play our latest content without having to activate the app on the phone. The touches are arranged in preset banks that cannot be altered, but we can choose which bud each action is executed on, be it calls or multimedia.
We have access to assistants like Google and Alexa, but I couldn’t activate the latter locally. However, voice response is very good when interacting with Google Assistant.
Top-notch noise cancellation. As well as the WF-1000XM4, these LinkBuds S have the V1 processor for active noise reduction, and are supported by the passive cancellation of the equipment when sealing with the silicone tips. I’m not going to lie to you: they pass a minimum of frequencies that exceed the control of the equipment, but nothing that bothers or disturbs traffic or a flight.
And how do they sound? In practical terms, the sound quality is very even in the lows and mids, without distorting so much in the highs and giving a space in the mix. During my use, I have been able to notice that the distortion levels are between 85 and 90% volume. The sound response of the notifications is efficient, but they are a little below the music when we exceed 70%.
Despite the size of the driver, the sound was consistent. Of course, it increased its presence in the media compared to other frequencies. This is not going to bother anyone, seriously. It is imperceptible if you come from entry-level headphones or with prices less than 100 dollars. In that range, it is difficult to find a strong rival for the LinkBuds S although, I emphasize, they are subjectivities of the audio.
Power to spare. For the LinkBuds S it has not been a challenge to stay above 5 hours of playback on a single charge from the case, which gives us ample room to enjoy our content without problems. The case can contain a charge of up to 14 hours, with which we can extend the autonomy.
While the LinkBuds S can complete their charge in almost two hours, five minutes of contact with the case gives us between 50 minutes and an hour of playback. Unfortunately we do not have wireless charging, and it is an additive that we find in other lower-priced models such as the Galaxy Buds (see on Amazon) or the Redmi Buds 3 Pro (see on Amazon).
Sony LinkBuds S: are they worth it?
If you are looking for a “lite” version of the WF-1000XM4, this is the equipment. No doubts. Both in design and functions, the LinkBuds S aspire to be that “low cost” version of the famous Sony TWS. I would go for them if I had the money. There are solid mid-tier offerings from Samsung, Huawei and LG, but these are the most comfortable money can buy, as long as money can’t buy the XM4s.