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Sony Linkbuds Review: Are these truly wireless earbuds worth ?


We’ve never seen truly wireless earbuds like the Sony LinkBuds. They’re the world’s first open-ring in-ear headphones, with a design that allows you to hear your surroundings while listening to music, podcasts, or taking phone conversations. They are also the company’s smallest earbuds to date, and they’re a lot more delicate than Sony’s WF-1000XM4. They’re so little that Sony has created smart controls that allow you to skip tracks, alter the volume, and receive calls without having to fiddle with the tiny housings.

Sony took a major risk by avoiding the two most popular true wireless earbud designs: Buds that look like AirPods and have protruding stems and circular housings that you fit inside your ear.

We’re happy to say that the risk was well worth it. Sony has created a pair of in-ear headphones that can be worn all day, whether you’re working in a shared office or just trundling around the house and don’t want to miss a knock at the door because of your music.

The audio quality is outstanding, with a remarkably wide soundstage that allows each instrument in your favourite songs to shine. The attention to detail, clarity and rhythmic perfection is also outstanding.

The open fit, on the other hand, has some drawbacks: the bass response isn’t very strong, and because you can hear your surroundings, the information you get from the LinkBuds can be masked by whatever’s going on in the background.

Price and Release date: Sony Linkbuds

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The Sony LinkBuds were released on February 15, 2022, and cost $179 / £149 / AU$299 at the time of writing.

That’s a lot less than the Sony WF-1000XM4, the company’s flagship true wireless earbuds. Cost of $279.99 / £250 / AU$449.95, and around the same as in the Apple AirPods 3.

That pricing sounds reasonable for a pair of Sony earbuds without noise cancellation. Though you could argue that the LinkBuds are a bargain given the number of extra quality-of-life functions they provide.

Design: Sony Linkbuds

Sony Linkbuds Review: Are these truly wireless earbuds worth ?

The Sony LinkBuds is the first completely wireless earbuds with a fully open design that exposes your ear canals.

A ring-shaped driver is attached to a rounded housing in each earbud; the ring section covers your ear canal. While the housings fit just above the conch of your ear, locked in place by a rubber fin. The fins of the LinkBuds must hook beneath the cartilage that folds in the center of your ear for them to stay in place. Therefore Sony supplies a range of different fins in the box. If you’re not sure how to put the LinkBuds on, Sony has a video in the Headphones Connect app which can help.

The Sony LinkBuds is the company’s tiniest true wireless earbuds, coming in black and grey. They’re 51 percent smaller in volume than the Sony WF-1000XM4 and weigh just 4.1g. The casing is similarly small – approximately the size of a ring box – and weighs 44% less than the WF-1000XM4 case.

A little button on the front of the charging case is pressed, and the lid opens to show the earphones and an LED light that indicates how much battery life is left. A pairing button and a USB-C charging port are located on the back of the case. They have made the charging case of recycled plastic from automobile parts, which, if combined with the LinkBuds’ plastic-free paper packaging, gives Sony’s earbuds some environmental credentials.

The earbuds have an IPX4 water-resistance rating, so you can wear them while exercising without worrying about a little sweat or a few drops of rain. They’re also safe to wear while running – you’d have to shake your head extremely hard to get them out of the LinkBuds.

Controls: Sony Linkbuds

Sony Linkbuds Review: Are these truly wireless earbuds worth ?

The Sony LinkBuds’ controls are quite innovative. You can tap the covers to control your music playback, just like many other true wireless earbuds. But because the LinkBuds are so small, it can be difficult to tap them accurately enough to get the reaction you desire.

To get around this, Sony has added a feature called Wide Area Tap. This allows you to operate the earbuds by double- or triple-tapping the area in front of your ears. That’s right, all you have to do to pause/play music or skip to the next track is tap your face.

These controls worked very well, however you do have to tap the tragus quite firmly for the earbuds to record your movements.

In the Sony Headphones Connect app, you may modify the controls to your taste; for example, you could assign a double-tap to the left earbud to lower the volume.

The new LinkBuds, like the Sony WF-1000XM4, have Sony’s Speak-to-Chat feature which automatically pauses your music when you start chatting. If the earbuds don’t detect your voice for 15 seconds, they’ll assume your discussion is ended and resume your music.


Download the Headphones Connect app and follow the on-screen steps to set up the LinkBuds. Take a picture of each ear to enable Sony’s 360 Reality Audio feature. The app will evaluate their shape for an immersive sound that’s customized to you.

To listen to 360 Reality Audio, you’ll need compatible music streaming apps such as Tidal, Deezer, Amazon Music HD, or

The Connect app also allows you to check the remaining battery life of your earbuds and charging case, toggle between equalizer presets. This allows Spotify Quick Access for quick Spotify playback, and allows Adaptive Volume Control. Increases the volume of your music if the earbuds detect that you’re in a noisy environment. You may also turn in and out DSEE audio upgrade and Speak-to-Chat. Decide whether your music should really be automatically paused when you remove the earbuds and check for software updates.

We found the software to be thorough and user-friendly. We appreciated the ability to select which features you wish to use. Especially because Sony warns that activating a lot of the extra capabilities at once can reduce the LinkBuds’ battery life.

Audio performance

The Sony LinkBuds’ open ring design results in a surprisingly big and broad presentation, which you wouldn’t expect from a pair of in-ear headphones.

They also have a lot of detail, good rhythmic accuracy, a well-balanced soundstage that lets you hear every instrument in your favorite songs clearly. The 12mm speakers are quite powerful, and Sony’s Integrated Processor V1 ensures that your music sounds natural and distortion-free.

However, there are a few drawbacks to using open drivers. For one thing, they let in a lot of ambient sounds, which is exactly what these earbuds are supposed to do, so all the detail you’re getting from your music can be confused by the chatter of people around, the rumbling of cars driving by, and other ambient sounds.

Because the earbuds don’t create a seal against your ear canal, the bass response isn’t very strong – and as a result, tunes with a powerful low end don’t provide that extremely expressive, chest-thumping feeling.

These are the tradeoffs you’re making in exchange for a pair of earbuds that you can wear all day and for every occasion, including receiving calls, listening to podcasts, working out, and just listening to music while working. The sound leak that you’d anticipate to annoy anyone in your immediate vicinity isn’t nearly as awful as we expected.

Bass of the Linkbuds

Although the bass is adequate, it could be much richer and deeper. Expecting that it will come with a pair of thick earbuds, as earphones that entirely block off the ear canal elicit a more robust bass response. Sony will disappoint you with the LinkBuds’ sound if you really like hip hop, electronica, or anything with a heavy bassline.

Despite this, the LinkBuds’ excellent value means that the trebles and mids don’t seem overpowering in relation to the bass.

The LinkBuds, like the Sony WF-1000XM4 and WH-1000XM4, features Sony’s DSEE feature, which upscales lossy files to near high-resolution sound. We’re not sure how effective this function is, but the audio quality of the tunes we listened to it was excellent, whether we were using Spotify or Apple Music’s higher-quality lossless recordings.

It also supports Sony 360 Reality Audio, allowing you to enjoy immersive sound that sets parts of your music in a virtual sphere – in other words, it sounds as if the music is coming at you from all sides.

This feature performed surprisingly well for such a small pair of earbuds, which could be because of the open design’s vast soundstage. Your music gives you a strong sense of sonic direction. To take advantage of this function, you’ll want to have access to one of the few compatible streaming services.

Battery life and Connectivity

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The Sony LinkBuds has a battery life of 17.5 hours, with 5.5 hours from the earbuds and another 12 hours from the charging case. After a quick 10-minute charge, you’ll have 1.5 hours of playback time.

The Sony WF-1000XM4 has a battery life of 24 hours. While most true wireless earbuds without active noise cancellation have a battery life of 25 hours or more.

This is because of the LinkBud’s small size; there isn’t enough room inside the housings for a big battery. And, as Sony warns in the Connect app, switching on all of the capabilities. At once, such as Speak-to-Chat, DSEE, and Adaptive Volume Control, will run out of power even quickly. You’ll need to connect a charger to the LinkBuds charging case’s USB-C port, which is a shame if you have a wireless charging pad.

Sony is using Bluetooth 5.2 for connectivity. Users of Android can use Fast Pair to connect to their devices quickly while Windows users can use Swift Pair to do the same.

To link the LinkBuds with an iOS device, just hold it down the pairing located on the back of the power adapter. Open your Bluetooth settings, and pick the LinkBuds from there. It’s bad there isn’t multipoint pairing to permit for fast switching between devices, but it isn’t a deal-breaker.

We found the connectivity to be mainly decent, albeit the connection would drop out if we left our device in one room and moved to another. Although this isn’t surprising given that physical obstacles such as walls might interact with a Bluetooth connection. The range seemed to be shorter than other earbuds we’ve tested.


There’s no need to take the LinkBuds out with the ability to hear your surroundings, adjustable volume control, and Speak-to-Chat.The LinkBuds’ open design results in a surprising broad soundstage. Allowing all of the instruments in your favorite tunes to shine. The balance of the Linkbuds is good. However, the bass performance will disappoint you if you prefer a strong low end. For better or worse, the LinkBuds allows you to hear everything that is going on around you.

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