Sony LinkBuds S are small, lightweight, waterproof and wireless headphones with ANC (Active Noise Canceling) function. How do they work in practice and is it worth buying? Review, opinion.
Sony LinkBuds S – first impressions
The headphones came to me in a small paper package. Inside, the manufacturer quite cleverly hid the manual, charging cable and spare earbuds. The device is available in elegant, matte colors: cream, white and black. I received their latest version for testing – in the color of “earth blue”. Behind this fancy name are the materials from which they are made. Recycled car parts and water bottles were used to produce the case and headphones. This is how the distinctive marbled blue pattern was created, which is different for each piece produced.
I have to admit that I really liked the case. It’s not big, and it’s light. On its upper part there is an opening flap, which, when closed, faces a small LED diode. On its back there is a charging input and a small button for BT synchronization. The flap opens and closes quite abruptly. Inside the housing, the manufacturer has placed dedicated places for the left and right headphones. You can’t put them backwards, because it won’t be possible to close the case. The magnetic tip helps to secure the earbuds in place and aligns them and starts charging. Interestingly, the case behaves like a mini power bank. After charging the headphones in the case – it also charges itself. Thanks to this, after they are hidden, charging begins without the need to connect the whole device to an external power supply.
LinkBuds S are very light. They weigh only 5 grams. It is also one of the few headphones that during various use – did not fall out of my ears. Putting them on is also not a problem. Just put them in your ear and that’s it, they stick very well and securely.
In order to synchronize the headphones, e.g. with a phone, they must be in the case. Then hold down the button on the case. After a while, the signaling diode will turn blue. At this point, LinkBuds S are searchable in the BT device list. I recommend downloading and installing the dedicated Sony Headphones Connect application, in which we can set some interesting options, and also configure additional functions, such as taking a picture of your ears so that the software adjusts the optimal way of sound reproduction. I was amused by the wizard in the application, which communicates with us in English. She has the accent of a person who has never had contact with the language before and the commands just sound comical.
Sony LinkBuds S – Features
Headphones are packed with technology that works very well in practice. From the application level, we can preview the operation of the automation and control some functions. Headphones are able to detect whether we are currently sitting or standing. They can activate the ambient noise reduction mode, or turn it off automatically when we start talking to someone in front of us. If our environment is very loud – autonomy is able to turn on ANC completely cutting out external sounds. In the case of a telephone conversation, the built-in microphone detects only our voice, removing the others from the band, which in practice works very well.
If we are currently listening to music or watching a movie – after removing one of the headphones from the ear, the multimedia will be automatically paused. Re-inserting the LinkBuds S into the ear disables the pause and the media continues to play. The Speak-to-chat function can detect when we start talking to someone. In this case, ANC is deactivated and multimedia is temporarily paused. Seems like a simple solution, but I didn’t expect it to be so useful in practice.
In fact, it turns out that the headphones can accompany us for most of the day and we do not have to take them off at all. They are comfortable and do not tire the ears. Light weight makes you forget about them. With a mixed use cycle, they are enough for about 10-12 hours of continuous use. Very intensive use, i.e. active listening to music with ANC and constant phone calls will reduce this time by up to half. On the other hand, it takes about 2 hours to fully charge the battery.
Sony LinkBuds S sound quality
Headphones use BT version 5.2. What I liked was the BT connection to two headphones independently, and not classically to one handset, which then forwards the data stream to the other. Nothing irritated me so much when, for example, with a quick head movement, I lost the sound of one earphone in other wireless constructions. There is nothing like this here, unless we move away from the sound source by more than 10 meters, because that is the maximum range of the connection.
How do these headphones sound? Let me tell you straight – I was very positively surprised by the sound quality of Sony LinkBuds S. They simply sound great in both modes – with and without ANC on. As a test, I went for a 10-kilometre walk through the city streets. Outside, it had rained earlier, so the wheels of the passing cars made extra noise. After inserting the headphones into the ears, the ambient sound was already muffled pleasantly, but what was happening outside could be heard. Activating the ANC made me completely disconnected from the world around me. I completely stopped hearing the sounds of the city during rush hours, and that’s when I was walking along a large avenue. In addition to the feeling of immersion, activated ANC allows you to listen to music much quieter, which further saves our hearing.
I also connected the headphones to the smartTV, where I watched series on the streaming service at night. Watching TV at night is always a problem, because my family wants to sleep, not to listen to the sounds of gunshots and sudden plot twists recorded much louder than dialogues. Not only did I hear everything very well in the headphones myself, with a much greater tonal range, and my surroundings could sleep peacefully, while going, for example, to get a snack or to the bathroom – just touch the headphones or remove one from the ear, so that the playback is automatically paused. It’s a very convenient solution.
The next test was about travel. Sometimes you have to go somewhere further by bus, train or plane. It’s a long time spent in noise, and I’m tired of it already. I just had an assignment more than 80 kilometers away from my place of residence, and the road to my destination was on a highway. My car is quite light, because the manufacturer gave up additional soundproofing. Driving at high speed on expressways, it’s just loud. Out of curiosity, I put on my headphones. Already in normal operation mode, a lot of the noise was cut out, and I still heard the car radio quite well. With the ANC turned on, the amount of noise was reduced to a minimum. I gave up playing music in headphones to just ride in silence for the entire route. Approaching my destination, I took out the LinkBuds S and didn’t expect it to be so loud outside!