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The LinkBuds are Sony's newest true wireless earbuds and they look weird for a reason

By Kenny Yeo - on 24 Feb 2022, 2:01pm

The LinkBuds are Sony's newest true wireless earbuds and they look weird for a reason

Note: This article was first published on 16 February 2022 and it's republished now because it goes on sale today.

Sony LinkBuds (Image source: Sony)

Sony has just announced new true wireless earbuds called the LinkBuds and they are truly weird-looking.

Available in grey and white, the portion that sits in your ear features a doughnut-style ring. The idea is that this open design will allow users to hear what's going on around them more clearly.

This is ideal for users who want to wear their earbuds but do not want to remove them whenever they are doing something where situational awareness is important – like cycling on roads or jogging through a park.

The LinkBuds' unusual design lets wearers hear their environments clearly. (Image source: Sony)

You might argue that this can be achieved with transparency mode, but the problem with transparency modes is that they often sound unnatural and digitised, and this throws some users off. 

To make the LinkBuds work, Sony designed a special 12mm-wide ring-shaped driver. And to ensure a good fit, the shape of the LinkBuds was designed with extensive ear shape data collected since 1982 when Sony introduced their first in-ear headphones.

The LinkBuds also have an IPX4 water-resistance rating so they will hold up to splashes of water and sweat, making them perfect for workouts.

The driver is ring-shaped. (Image source: Sony)

To ensure clear voice pickup, the LinkBuds feature a noise reduction algorithm developed using AI and over 500 million voice samples.

The LinkBuds support Bluetooth 5.2 and supported codecs are SBC and AAC – no aptX or LDAC, sadly. However, they feature Sony's DSEE technology (Digitial Sound Enhancement Engine) which claims to restore data lost when listening to lossy music. Also supported is 360 Reality Audio but that requires special content.

And like most high-end earbuds, the LinkBuds feature touch controls. To make the touch controls easy to operate, Sony designed the LinkBuds to have "Wide Area Tap" so touch inputs can be recognised more easily and accurately.

(Image source: Sony)

The claimed battery is 5.5 hours from a single charge and another 12 hours from the charging case. This means up to 17.5 hours of listening time in total. Unfortunately, the case only charges via USB-C and doesn't support wireless charging.

 

Availability and pricing

The Sony LinkBuds will go on sale on 24 February 2022 and will be priced at S$269. As part of a special launch promotion, every purchase will come with S$30 worth of Nike E-Vouchers.

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