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Sony today announced the launch of the LinkBuds, which are the company's latest true wireless earbud product. The LinkBuds have a unique open air design that's not quite like any other earbud on the market.

sony-linkbuds-1.jpg

Available in black or white, the LinkBuds have a donut-shaped earpiece that goes in the ear. As with the AirPods 3, there are no foam or silicone tips included with the LinkBuds, with the naked earpiece fitting directly inside the ear.

The hole in the LinkBuds, which is an open ring driver, lets users listen to music while also hearing the ambient surroundings, which is similar to other headphone products like sound-equipped sunglasses and bone conduction options.

sony-linkbuds-2.jpg

Because Sony's LinkBuds do not obstruct ambient sound, they are ideal for situations where listeners might need to be aware of their surroundings, like walking, running, biking, and riding public transportation.


The earbuds are held in place by a secondary bulb that has a little fin, and Sony describes them as ultra-small, light, and able to stay in the ears. They are IPX4 splash and sweat proof, plus an Adaptive Volume Control feature optimizes music to the sound in the ambient environment. The battery in the LinkBuds lasts for 5.5 hours, and there is a charging case that provides a total of 17.5 hours of listening time.

Sony's LinkBuds can be purchased from Amazon for $178.

Article Link: Sony Announces 'LinkBuds' With Open Design to Let in Ambient Sound
 

Chrjy

macrumors 65816
May 19, 2010
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UK
I was fortunate enough to test these and to be perfectly honest I wasn't expecting too much but was more than pleasantly surprised. After just 5 minutes I completely forgot I was wearing them and was shocked by how good the audio was and how the external environment sounds hardly any different to when not using earbuds. The design is very clever and I'd suggest giving them a test run if you think you'd find them useful in your activity. WAY WAY better than bone conduction or similar.
 

Bandaman

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Aug 28, 2019
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Been waiting for buds that have comparable transparency to the AirPods Pro. Hopefully these fit the bill.
 
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Chrjy

macrumors 65816
May 19, 2010
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Been waiting for buds that have comparable transparency to the AirPods Pro. Hopefully these fit the bill.
I have AirPod Pros and there's no comparison to the Sony's. The AirPods transparency sounds artificial but because of the design of the Sony's, the transparency sounds like you do not have anything in your ears. Very clever design IMO.
 

AtomicDusk

macrumors regular
Jul 24, 2014
196
538
San Diego
I will buy ANY headphone or speaker that is NOT apple branded... Thank you for posting this... Apple will get my buck when they give us the headphone jack. Until then... NEVER!!!!

Weird flex. I'm all for voting with your wallet, but you're saying you'll buy any non-apple branded wireless headphone before AirPods because Apple removed the headphone jack in what... 2018? Earlier?

Are you also boycotting Samsung for removing the jack on some of their phones? Does the fact that iPads and MacBook Pros, iMacs and MacMinis still have headphone jacks matter?

Personally I love the convenience of not having a cable running from my ears to my pocket. These seem interesting, but my AirPods are totally serviceable so I'm not sure I'd make the swap.
 

Danfango

macrumors 65816
Jan 4, 2022
1,294
5,777
London, UK
I will buy ANY headphone or speaker that is NOT apple branded... Thank you for posting this... Apple will get my buck when they give us the headphone jack. Until then... NEVER!!!!

Bring back the crackly pocket scum hole!

Bring back getting tangled up with your sunglasses!

Bring back trying to run and fight some snakes at the same time!

Bring back having a built in fishing rod for when you drop them down the toilet!

Ok I'll give you the last one.

As for Sony's product here, having dealt with many Sony products over the years, the more moving parts they have the less reliable they are. Also they will no doubt sound "Sony branded" like food does when it has too much MSG on it when it didn't even need any to start with.
 

austriak

macrumors regular
Jul 10, 2011
175
88
I was fortunate enough to test these and to be perfectly honest I wasn't expecting too much but was more than pleasantly surprised. After just 5 minutes I completely forgot I was wearing them and was shocked by how good the audio was and how the external environment sounds hardly any different to when not using earbuds. The design is very clever and I'd suggest giving them a test run if you think you'd find them useful in your activity. WAY WAY better than bone conduction or similar.
Based on your experience, would these be good for exercising (running, weight lifting)?
 

Chrjy

macrumors 65816
May 19, 2010
1,101
2,119
UK
Based on your experience, would these be good for exercising (running, weight lifting)?
I would say yes. I appreciate we all have different ear shapes but the way these hook into the flap at the top of the ear worked really well for me. I was using them for around 2 hours in a town centre but because it was all very secretive I did have people following me! Once we got back to the meeting room to provide feedback, I went to leave and completely forgot they were still in my ears!
I knew someone else who was also testing them and spoke to them the next day as I was interested in their experience, they felt the same as myself....very positive.
 

KaliYoni

macrumors 68000
Feb 19, 2016
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3,842
Sony's product page says Alexa and OKGoogle are built-in to the LinkBuds. That makes me leery...the only thing worse would be "LinkBuds powered by Meta".

My home run product would have user-replaceable batteries and no forced Amazon, Google, or Meta surveillance. If only AirPods weren't like a disposable razor or take out utensils!
 
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Bandaman

Cancelled
Aug 28, 2019
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I have AirPod Pros and there's no comparison to the Sony's. The AirPods transparency sounds artificial but because of the design of the Sony's, the transparency sounds like you do not have anything in your ears. Very clever design IMO.
I actually really like the Pro's transparency mode and haven't found anything comparable yet. So if what you're saying is true, I can finally stop using these Pros.


The Amazon product page says Alexa is built-in to the LinkBuds. That makes me leery...the only thing worse would be "LinkBuds powered by Meta".
And Google.
 

44267547

Cancelled
Jul 12, 2016
37,642
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So three things that stand out to me:

1.) I like the ‘auto adjustment’ to the volume control depending on the ambient environment. So if you’re in a noisy environment, the volume increases, and then decreases when in a quieter setting. I’m just curious to how sensitive the sensor is and how well it would actually function.

2.) Interesting design that it’s not just an earbud that is inserted into the ear canal like typical earbuds, but it actually uses the outermost portion of the ear to hold a more secure fit. That was my problem with the AirPod Pros, is that they were making the inside of my ear feel a little bit more uncomfortable, because of how deeply inserted they were, so I’m wondering how these would fare in comparison with the design.

3.) I don’t think the price is unfair at~$178.00 for the battery life/features, but if they don’t fit right, then the price is irrelevant. So I think that’s the most crucial aspect with such a unique design with the Link-buds.

These are officially on my radar.
 

Chrjy

macrumors 65816
May 19, 2010
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UK
I actually really like the Pro's transparency mode and haven't found anything comparable yet. So if what you're saying is true, I can finally stop using these Pros.
I agree. I hadn't found anything comparable until I tested these. I think that's why I wasn't expecting very much because I thought Apple had already nailed it but the design of the Sony's is so different, they don't need to artificially provide the external sounds through the buds, the external sounds come in naturally due to the donut shape. Somehow they still managed to offer good audio as well.
 
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gaximus

macrumors 68020
Oct 11, 2011
2,283
4,519
I will buy ANY headphone or speaker that is NOT apple branded... Thank you for posting this... Apple will get my buck when they give us the headphone jack. Until then... NEVER!!!!
Exactly, I will buy ANY laptop or desktop that is NOT apple branded... Thank you for your comment... Apple will get my buck when they give us the floppy drive. Until then... NEVER!!!!
 

Bandaman

Cancelled
Aug 28, 2019
2,005
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I agree. I hadn't found anything comparable until I tested these. I think that's why I wasn't expecting very much because I though Apple had already nailed it but the design of the Sony's is so different, they don't need to artificially provide the external sounds through the buds, the external sounds come in naturally due to the donut shape. Somehow they still managed to offer good audio as well.
Thanks. Gonna pre-order these then. :)
 

Chrjy

macrumors 65816
May 19, 2010
1,101
2,119
UK
@Chrjy

How is the sound quality on these vs AirPods 1 & 2?
In all honesty I would say the Sony's are definitely comparable to Airpods. Are they as good as AirPods Pros, probably not. I'd say the Sony's score a 7.5 out of 10 (maybe an 8) vs the AirPods Pros. I only owned the AirPod 1's before I upgraded to AirPod Pros so can't really compare to standard AirPod 2's.
 
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