Sony LinkBuds Truly Wireless Earbud Headphones with an Open-Ring Design for Ambient Sounds and Alexa Built-in, Bluetooth Ear

(10 customer reviews)

$178.00

Brand Sony
Model Name Sony LinkBuds Truly Wireless Earbuds
Color Gray
Form Factor In Ear
Connectivity Technology USB
  • OPEN RING DESIGN- Hear calls, listen to music, play games, and hear other types of online content anytime, all while remaining naturally connected to what’s happening around you.Specific uses for product : Movies and Gaming.Bluetooth version : Bluetooth Specification Version 5.2.
  • ULTRA-SMALL & LIGHT-Bluetooth ear buds with 5 sizes of fitting supporters to suit different ear shapes, and a USB-C charging cable.
  • CRYSTAL CLEAR PHONE CALLS- With Precise Voice Pickup technology.
  • BALANCED HIGH-QUALITY SOUND-With the Integrated V1 Processor.
  • LONG BATTERY LIFE & QUICK CHARGING: 20 hours battery life with a 5 minute quick charge for up to 60 minutes of play time.
  • IPX4 RATING-Protects against sweat and splashes.
  • MULTIPOINT CONNECTION- Connect two devices at once (Available via firmware update).
  • WIDE AREA TAP- Control audio by tapping in front of your ears on these wireless earbuds.
  • ADAPTIVE VOLUMNE CONTROL- Optimizes sound to your environment.
SKU: B09QNLR4GDH Category:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


From the brand

Important information

To report an issue with this product,click here.

Additional information

Weight 1.4 lbs
Dimensions 1.91 × 1.22 × 1.63 in
Product Dimensions

1.91 x 1.22 x 1.63 inches

ASIN

B09QNLR4GD

Item model number

WFL900/H

Batteries

2 Lithium Ion batteries required. (included)

Date First Available

February 15, 2022

Charging Time

20 Hours

Item Weight

1.4 ounces

Units

1.0 Count

Number Of Items

1

Manufacturer

Sony

10 reviews for Sony LinkBuds Truly Wireless Earbud Headphones with an Open-Ring Design for Ambient Sounds and Alexa Built-in, Bluetooth Ear

  1. Vincent


    First thing to note is that you MUST download the app. If you use it out of the box without firmware update the max volume will seem very low. Just toggle adaptive voice volume on/off (or keep it on)Great for those who want spatial awareness while listening to media. Works very well for casual listening experience where you want to interact with the outside world and/or multi-taskExcellent for work (if your job allows it), joggers, bicyclist, gym (may not be good for treadmills), baby sitters, etc. Not good for busy city streets as outside sound compete with what you’re hearing. More for quite environments where you want to be aware of surroundingsOpen ear design. No need to wear only one earbud or take one out when someone approach and try to talk to youNot for those who want to get immersed into their music or audiophiles. Better to have a separate headphones for those instancesSound is above average. Has low base. More for those who focus on the lyrics, spoken voices than instrumental as outside noise can drown it out depending on your environmentMic quality on these are really good. From feedback on the other end of the line, they’ve been telling me its very clear compared to other headsets I’ve been using in the pastVery breathable. The hole do not block airflow or sounds from coming into your ear. No need to wear only one ear bud when anticipating someone may talk to you.Comfortable to wear for long periods of time. Don’t feel like ear tips jamming into your ear canalUsing eartips is very important to help earbuds stay in place. Best to have someone help you find right fit from the start so you don’t have to experiment with it constantly. Can be difficult when doing it alone even with 3 way folding mirror.Clam shell style case. Best to open two handed. Cannot flick open one handed (like airpods or pixel buds for example) unless you want to risk ear buds falling to the floor. Even when you have them open in air, must have one hand to keep the case steady. Matte material case instead of glossy. Has a nice texture to it like a smooth river rock, but not wet, durable or as heavyUnique design. May look different on different people depending on ear size. Some may have smaller ear canal opening showing more of the ring. A co-worker with smaller ear canal tried it on and someone said she looked like a hipster or those who do ear lob enlargements. If you have larger ear canal it can fit the whole ring inside. Those with large outer ear may show more of the ear transparent silicon ear tips holding earbuds in place. Those with overall small ears, the bump on the earbud can protrude out more–Software features-Adaptive voice volume:volume adjust to outside/background noise. No ANC (active noise cancellation), will defeat the purpose of the earbuds-Speak to chat:Love this feature. When you start talking it will pause the audio and resume again in 15secs if you don’t continue talking. The option may not be good for those who talk to themselves or sing along with music. For the former, may help you build habit to stop. If this is an issue, you can turn it off in the app-Gesture controlsTap side of head instead of earbud itself. Great feature as clicking on earbuds itself can lead to miss alignment. Can double or triple tap either side for audio controls. Able to customize what does what (pause/play, skip forward/back, volume controls, activate google assistant/Amazon Alexa, etc) on the app with two functions on each side. For example, right ear bud can have pause for double tap, skip forwards for triple tap. Left ear bud can have volume down double tap, volume up triple tap.-Quick Charge: Have up to an hour playback time for 10min chargeIf you have ‘adaptive voice volume’ and ‘speak to chat’ on it will drop from ~5 hour battery life to around 3.5-4 hours depending on activation–Missing Premium features-No ‘find me’ option. Cannot locate earbuds if lost, whether its sound or gps.-No wireless charging for case- No multi-point connection. Only able to connect to one device at a time. Must re-sync Bluetooth when using a new deviceOverall, awesome casual set headset when you want to listen to music, podcast while doing other activities. For more immersive auditory experience best look for another set of headphones or have separate ones for those experiences

  2. Carlos B.


    The short version of this review is that I think this is a product that will make a very limited set of people happy that are looking for something very specific or don’t care about a lot of the trade-offs that come with making a product like this. It is tough to recommend for a general audience. For that small group, maybe it is four stars, but for everyone else, I’d say it’s two stars, so three overall. Let me get into the why…So to start, I’m big into music and headphones, and I own a total of 12 pairs. Four of those are “consumer” headphones like AirPods Pro 2, AirPods Max, Sennheiser True Wireless 3, and all of the rest are true HiFi headphones like Audeze, Focal, Fostex, Denon, etc. and all of the accompanying amplifiers and DACs. I generally enjoy lots of different genres of music – rock, alternative, R&B, hip-hop, pop, some classical. I just point this out, to point out I do a LOT of detailed sound comparisons and appreciate lots of different types of music and how different headphones may impact the experience.So, with these, I think there are only a few specific reasons one should even consider these, as if you don’t fall into BOTH #1 AND at least one of the other reasons below, there are far better options for this price.#1 – you really don’t like the “closed” feeling of buds and want a more “open” sound (and as such don’t care at all about noise isolation – both from outside and others hearing your listen, which is standard for any open setup)#2 – you don’t care about sound quality much but want some wireless buds that are stable enough to do light workouts in or just want some really small/discrete buds#3 – you primarily listen to music like jazz and classicalNow onto the logic and trade-offs.First, with respect to the sound. The tonal balance is extremely lacking in low end. The reviews that have said that these are a “balanced sound” are simply wrong. If you search around the net, you can see some sites have actually measured the frequency response of these, and not only is the bass very rolled off, it creeps up into the lower mids as well. This results in a very hollow listen. Music has nearly no low-end impact at all. Even with every bass setting cranked all the way up, it makes almost no noticeable difference because the drivers and design simply can’t handle it (which I’ll get back to). Further evidence of this, the EQ in the app only even goes down to 400Hz, which should be a sign, as most wouldn’t even consider it true “bass” until maybe 150Hz, and humans can hear down to 20Hz – yet the EQ doesn’t even let you adjust these frequencies. To call this balanced is just wrong. Good balanced headphones simply do not OVER-emphasize bass or let it bleed into the other frequencies – these lack bass, period. This is a very big difference if you listen to basically any Top 40 type music – hip-hop, pop, R&B, EDM, even rock or alternative. There will be no bass. This CAN be ok, however, if you’re a classical music listener or jazz or music that doesn’t have a lot of low-end (including bass drums, bass guitar, etc.). These would also be OK if you’re primarily going to use them for listening to voice stuff – podcasts, audiobooks, news, etc.The rest of the frequency response is overall just OK. You can adjust the mids and upper frequencies to your liking, and those adjustments make more of a difference than the bass adjustment, as I mentioned. So you can tone down or up the brightness to your liking, for example. They do an OK job at brining out detail, about what I would expect for buds in this price range. The semi-standout in the overall sound is the soundstage, or the way the music is presented in terms of position in space. Because of the “open” design, they are somewhat more natural sounding in terms of airiness and don’t have that “dome in your head” kind of feeling. That said, the stage itself is not hugely bigger than “regular” buds (goes ear to ear, maybe a tad outside the ear), it’s just a slightly more open stage. Because the buds are still sitting in your ear, versus when an over-ear open headphone has a driver sitting outside your ear, i would call these only semi-open sounding. The inside your head feeling is gone, but you still don’t get that great open naturalness of a true open-back headphone. The positioning is also good, meaning, individual pieces of the mix are fairly separated and identifiable, for this price range. The question is it worth the trade offs…Open back headphones of all types (buds, over-ear, etc.), all else equal, have less bass response than closed-backs. This is because there’s less pressure build up and resonance for the bass to build (in simple terms). So the tradeoff for losing that “in your head” feeling is less bass. Bigger, over ear headphones can counter this by using bigger drivers that can pump more bass and by still creating somewhat of a seal around your ear with the pads. in this case, these buds just sit in your ear, create no seal, and the drivers are tiny, so you get basically no bass. This is the biggest trade off of these. Whether that trade off is for you or not…your call.The other tradeoff is size. Smaller size leads to smaller drivers, which as I discussed means less bass, and it also means – way small batteries. Although the “up to” five hours of battery life may be accurate, there are some big issues with this. First, you have to turn off all of the electronic conveniences to hit this target – automatic voice detection, automatic volume adjustment, wide area tap – which are all pretty cool. Keep these on, and battery is more like two hours, which is FAR below, by more than half, what most buds get nowadays.Call performance is decent, and fit for me is also decent, though individual ears always vary with fit. The smallest included piece is what got me the best fit, and they are stable in my ears.What these actually remind me of are the first AirPods that were released, then upgraded to the AirPods Pro. The original AirPods also had a “sit in your ear” plastic design that was somewhat like this. While they were wireless and packed with nice new apple “magic” features, many had a view that they really still sounded like the $30 wired buds that came with iPods/iPhones at the time, but they were wireless. Then Apple released the AirPods Pro that claimed “far better sound”, and the biggest change was that they used a silicon tip to create a seal in the ear – and that added a way more appropriate low-end to the sound that was missing before, and NOW and AirPods Pro and Pro 2 are known as a mostly balanced set of buds. These are the opposite – by having no seal, combined with tiny drivers, I would say these have the sound profile of a $50 or less pair of buds, but you are paying for the true wireless stuff and fancy features. They MAY be worth it for you if you don’t mind the trade offs, but that’s not most.

  3. CJ


    **UPDATE**: They’re really growing on me. I find myself using them more often than my usual pair. After tuning the EQ, they sound quite good, and if I’m gentle, they don’t really fall out. So, I updated from 3 to 4 stars.ORIGINAL: I was really excited for these headphones and they are slightly disappointing. Main points being:- They are difficult to put into your ear, even after repeated practice, reducing the convenience factor of having true wireless headphones- They easily fall out for me, regardless of which size retaining ring I put on. More on that later- They have an oddly bright sound, but I don’t think they have a poor sound quality at all like many reviewers are saying. More on that later.- Their direct competitors for most use cases are bone conduction headphones, and I think bone conduction is a better choice here.I do appreciate the innovation, and I think it’s a really cool concept and I love the novelty. If that’s enough for you to own it, then these are good true wireless headphones that sound pretty good and don’t cause pressure in your ears. But if you actually want them to be useful for most situations where being aware of your surroundings is important, I think you’d be better served by bone conduction headphones (such as AfterShokz).The rest of this review is just going into more detail about those points, so you can stop if you got the gist.– Not good for physical or outdoor activities –The question to ask yourself is: why do you WANT open back headphones? If your answer is, like I think most people, “to hear my surroundings”, then the next question to ask is “WHEN do I need to do that?”. If it has anything to do with being outside, then you don’t want these, go get bone conduction headphones. Those leave your ear completely open and essentially CAN’T fall off your head without significant effort. I think bone conduction is safer and more convenient for outdoor use or exercise. However, if your answer is instead “because I don’t like pressure in my ears”, these might be just what you’re looking for… see the “Great for relaxation” section.The Linkbuds are very light and just kind of “sit” in your ear. You can certainly move your head and they won’t fall out, and they didn’t even fall out for me when I yawn or move my jaw like others said. If you touch them the wrong way however, they just slide out of your ear. I actually think this is the real reason for the (very cool) “wide area tap”: see how there’s nothing holding the headphone into your ear on the backside? They’re only anchored into your ear with two points: the retaining ring at the top and the donut speaker. If you lightly push the headphones forward, with essentially no effort, they pop right out. Most people’s ears will have the same problem, because the Tragus (see an ear diagram, it’s the pointy bit at the front that the donut speaker wedges behind) locks the front of the donut into place, but in general, the Antitragus (the other side of your ear) isn’t a hook, so it’s just light friction keeping it in place back there. There’s nothing stopping the headphones from pivoting forward, and they DO stick out of your ears, so… something as simple as brushing your hair away could make them fall out. You have to be careful.The other problem is “hearing your surroundings”. The speaker sits directly over your ear canal and thus partially blocks it, and also makes any incoming sounds fight with the speaker. I find that with these, the sound from the headphones almost always drowns out anything important I’d want to hear around me. I can’t even have them super quiet and have a conversation with someone, as the sound from the speakers fights so heavily with incoming sound. But with bone conduction headphones, your ear is completely unobstructed, and I find that incoming sounds mix much better, maybe because the soundwaves don’t have to fight in your ear canal. That part could be subjective, but at least for me, bone conduction feels significantly safer, because I can still hear everything around me, even if the surrounding sounds are quiet.– Great for relaxation though! –That brings me to the title: who is the audience for the Linkbuds? I think it is for specifically people who want true wireless headphones but don’t like pressure in their ears and are NOT looking to use these for exercise or outdoor activities. In fact, you can look at the marketing and features to back this up. These are not “sports” headphones, and maybe that’s not why you’re buying them. I keep comparing the Linkbuds to bone conduction headphones, but if you don’t intend to use these while doing physical activity, the Linkbuds are honestly better. I find myself using them all the time in bed, because I AM a person who doesn’t like pressure in their ears, and you can’t exactly use bone conduction headphones while lying down (they have a band that extends behind your head).They also sound WAY better than even the best bone conduction headphones I’ve tried, which is why I’m surprised people say they sound so bad. I wonder if they’ve never used open-back headphones before: yes, you don’t get nearly as much potential bass as closed-back (and especially in-ear), no matter WHAT the design is. I have Sennheiser HD600’s, the “audiophile mainstay”, and they sound amazing, but they’ll never have as much bass as my cheap in-ears (iems). So if you’re a bass head, you won’t like these at all, you’re stuck with closed-back headphones and iems. To me, the Linkbuds do sound oddly bright though, like over-emphasized upper-mids and top. It’s not distorted, just a bit of a strange signature to my ears, but using the app, the EQ is saved IN the buds themselves (along with all the other nifty settings), so it’s easy to fix. But, I’ve also found that small adjustments in fit greatly alter the tone of the Linkbuds, so take that into consideration when reading reviews: they might not fit everyone the same and thus they might not always sound that great.All that junk being said, I do actually intend to use them all the time, just for relaxation and essentially nothing else. I don’t even trust them for cooking, I’m afraid I’ll brush them while moving around and they’ll fall into the food. But, I’m still gonna use them until they break. Also, the case is VERY SMALL, and I really like it! The picture attached shows one of those older slow iPhone chargers, and these are even smaller than that and only just about as thick, so it’s definitely nicely pocketable. The recycled plastic is a nice, unique touch, and the case feels sturdy enough (definitely nowhere near airpods). The lid locks into place if you pull it open enough, that’s kinda cool.The Linkbuds are so cool, and they serve a good niche, and I LIKE them, flaws and all. I gave them 3/5 (edited to 4/5) because I recognize that they have problems and that there are better alternatives for most use cases, and yet I’m still so fond of them. I want them to succeed, even though I don’t think they will. I think there’s absolutely a group of people for whom these are perfect, and I want these to stick around for those people.

  4. K. Baldwin


    Let’s get this out of the way: These are not your all-purpose earbuds. I have TMJ issues (jaw joint) that have made it effectively impossible to wear normal headphones while using my computer – like I had for years – without pain, so I use these instead. Normal earbuds closing off the ears for hours at a time is uncomfortable and not great for the ears. My point is, if you do not have a specific reason to need this design, you should not buy them. They are a compromise compared to regular true wireless earbuds costing half as much. With that said, for their intended purpose, these work pretty well.AUDIO:Sound quality is excellent, detailed and well-balanced (as long as they’re not pushed too hard… see below on volume). You will not get a lot of bass. You can hear the bass tones, especially if you add some boost, so the dynamic range isn’t lost – but it’s not going to thump in your ears. I did find that enabling bass boost (in Windows for my use case, or in the phone app for phone use) helped the overall sound balance. Music sounds slightly hollow to my ears without it.I see the popular review about volume – I have not experienced this in my quiet apartment use case. They have plenty of volume even though Windows bass boost cuts the overall volume down. I keep them at 50-60% volume on my computer, and I tested them on my phone (Pixel 6 Pro, for what it’s worth) and settled on roughly the same volume. 100% volume is uncomfortably loud, and also noticeably affects quality (at least on PC, I can’t recall if it was the same on the phone). If you are trying to use these in a particularly loud environment, they might not work well.BLUETOOTH:I have had no issues with connection quality within a short range (i.e. typical usage range). However, if I walk to my bathroom on the other side of my tiny 1-bed apartment, which places the utility closet (and thus quite a bit of metal) between me and the computer, the connection starts dropping in and out. I have cheaper earbuds that are able to maintain a connection there. Not a big deal, and most people use earbuds with their phone which is on their person, so this is pretty unique to me.They do not have multi-point. While I am not the type of person to field many phone calls, I can see this being annoying for someone who does if they’re using them the way I am, on the computer. Teleworkers in particular might consider this a deal-breaker if they take a lot of work calls. As it is, you’d have to pop one earbud out and answer the phone normally, or use speakerphone, rather than the convenience of the earbuds providing both sound from the computer and calls from the phone.These do not support LDAC. With the audio limitations inherent to this design, I suspect it simply wasn’t worth enabling – LDAC uses more power.BATTERY:Speaking of power, the battery life on these is… not great, not terrible. To be fair, Sony isn’t hiding anything here – look at the battery life ratings between their true wireless options and it is obvious that these are not designed to have a particularly long life. I haven’t precisely measured, but I would guess that they are true to their 5+ hour rating.I do wish they lasted longer, but it’s not the end of the world. The fast-charge feature makes it so that occasionally taking a short break and sticking them back in their case is sufficient to keep them going effectively indefinitely. If your use case involves really long periods of uninterrupted use, these might not be your jam.FIT / COMFORT:The big one. Fitting these properly is EXTREMELY important. I cannot overstate how much proper fit matters for both sound quality and comfort. Until you learn how to fit them, you cannot just pop them in and go, like traditional earbuds. They will sound bad, be horribly uncomfortable, and/or fall out.I suspect reviews related to extremely poor sound quality (tinniness), falling out, etc., are mostly related to not taking the time to find the correct position and fit ring, minus the rare exceptions for certain people’s ears just not working with these. Play around with them, try out different size fit rings, adjust the positioning to find that sweet spot where they’re comfortable and the sound isn’t tinny. This wasn’t something I succeeded in doing on the first day I had them. It took a few days for me to figure it out. But now that I’ve learned, I *can* just pop them right in (mostly… maybe a tiny bit of fiddling). They are comfortable enough for me to wear for several hours, but I wouldn’t say they entirely disappear.FEATURES:I do not use the few music apps that support their 360 audio, nor do I use them for phone calls, nor do I use them where I would need the speak-to-chat pausing or adaptive volume, so I can’t speak to any of those features. They’re all there though!The phone app has an equalizer, it does equalizer things. As mentioned in the audio quality section, it has a separate bass boost, which I recommend playing around with if you’re using them with your phone.There are only two tap functions (double tap and triple tap), which honestly sucks. I don’t understand why so many otherwise competent earbud designers refuse to offer more functions. Since I use these with the computer, I rarely need to actually use the tap functions, so it doesn’t really matter in my use case. It probably will matter for most people, though.The Wide Area Tap feature is theoretically very cool and responds to taps well. That might sound great, but the problem is that it also false triggers constantly for me. Eating something? Okay, track skipped. Several tracks, actually, because you didn’t stop eating. Yawned? Got it, you want to pause your music. I went to the trouble of installing the app and temporarily connecting them to my phone *just* to turn the feature off. It was driving me nuts.VERDICT:See the title. These are compromised by design, but the design exists to accomplish a very specific goal, opening up the ear. If you need that, you should give these a try. If you don’t, there is no reason to buy these.

  5. Gab


    These earbuds are amazing!! I have many pairs of wireless earbuds, but these offer a lot of things that others don’t. They give amazing sound quality in a pair of open-designed buds, making them a much better option than Airpods or Buds Live. In this review, I’ll compare the Linkbuds to those buds, as well as Sony’s flagship WF-1000xm4s (which I will refer to as xm4s).SOUND QUALITY: 4.5-Wow. The Linkbuds have an incredibly clean sound that sets them apart from other open-designed earbuds. The mids are clean and the highs are crisp, but something to keep in mind is that the low end is not very prominent. It is more of a bass you can hear rather than feel, which is to be expected for a pair of open-designed earbuds.When compared to other open-designed earbuds like the AirPods and Buds Live, the Linkbuds blow them out of the water. The AirPods and Buds Live have more bass, but when compared to the Linkbuds, it is evident that the mids and highs get completely drowned out as a result of the added bass.-The xm4s and Linkbuds have similar mids and highs, but the low-end on the xm4s is amazing and gives the music a lot more body. That’s to be expected from sealed earbuds.-Overall, these are by far the best sounding pair of open-designed earbuds I have ever used. They are the closest sounding buds to open-backed headphones I have tried, and even though they miss some bass, they give the music a really pleasant and natural sound.COMFORT: 5-The Linkbuds are extremely comfortable. They are similar to AirPods and Buds Live in the sense that I can wear them for extended periods of time without my ears hurting, but I do think that I could wear the Linkbuds even a bit longer just because they are extremely lightweight. They even come with 5 different sizes of wingtips. Plus, the hole in the center of the driver really makes you forget you are wearing earbuds! It’s pretty amazing.-The xm4s, and in my experience almost every other pair of wireless earbuds with a silicone tip that creates a seal, will never reach the level of comfort given by open-designed earbuds.BATTERY: 4-I was able to get about 5 hours on one charge of the earbud, which is right around Sony’s estimated 5.5 hours. That is slightly above average for wireless earbuds and I haven’t run into any problems with it yet.CONTROLS: 4.5-The Linkbuds introduce a new type of control where you tap the sides of your head to pause, play, skip, or activate other functions you can set in the app. At first, I was fully expecting this to be a gimmick, but then I noticed myself using it constantly! On top of that, I haven’t noticed any issues with false touches, and now I love the feature! I only wish I could set more than 4 different functions.VOLUME: 4-These buds don’t get very loud. I don’t listen to music very loud so they get plenty loud for me, but if volume is one of your main concerns then all the other buds I have previously mentioned get much louder than you would ever need.SOUND LEAKING: 2-The Linkbuds leak a lot of sound, even compared to AirPods or the Buds Live. This is to be expected since there is a literal hole in the middle of the driver and there is nothing to stop the sound from going out, but just be aware that if you are listening to something above 65% volume, then someone in the same quiet room will probably be able to hear it a bit.PAIRING/CONNECTIVITY: 4.5-For Apple products, you just need to go to your bluetooth settings and click the device to pair them.-For a full Apple ecosystem, the AirPods are a bit easier to connect and reconnect over multiple devices, but not by a large margin. For any other device, these are some of the best options for connectivity. Just press the button on the back of the case and they will enter pairing mode, and for Android users they will pop up and ask if you would like to pair without even going into settings.-I would have liked to see multipoint connection, but it is still a fairly rare feature in earbuds so I can’t be too mad. On the bright side, they are easy to reconnect between multiple devices.CASE: 5-The case is adorable! It’s a bit thicker than the Airpods case, but still very small and can easily fit in almost any pocket without issues. When you place the buds in the case, they actually click into place, making them feel a lot more secure than a lot of other wireless earbuds.UNIQUENESS: 5-The reason I love the Linkbuds so much is because they do a lot of things that no one has attempted before. The biggest one is the donut-shaped driver. Even when compared to AirPods, Buds Live, and other open-designed earbuds, these stand out as not only the best sounding but also the most natural. When I am having a conversation with someone, I never once felt the need to reach over and take these out of my ear. The hole gives a direct channel from the outside to my ear canal, making these incredible for having a conversation or hearing your surroundings without taking them out.-I also want to acknowledge Sony’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint. The buds are made using recycled plastics and rubbers, and the packaging is very minimal and contains no plastics. It is amazing what impact companies can make when they make efforts like these.PRICE: 5-For a pair of earbuds with this much innovation and sound quality, I think $180 is a very fair price.CONCLUSION: 4.5The Linkbuds offer something really special. If you are a huge basshead or want noise-canceling, then I would recommend looking at earbuds with a sealed silicone-tip design. However, if you are looking for a pair of open-designed earbuds like the AirPods or Samsung Buds Live, then I would easily recommend the Linkbuds every time. The comfort, sound quality, and uniqueness set these far apart from all other similar earbuds. When I reach for a pair of open-designed earbuds, the Linkbuds are the ones I grab 99% of the time, and that means a lot.

  6. Les


    I love these earbuds! They are my go to for when I want to listen to music, podcasts, or generally anything I don’t want to bother anyone else with but still be able to listen for doorbells, or have a conversation with someone.Sound Quality: Remember when we used to have those wired earbuds from Sony or JVC or Panasonic that came with those foam covers that we always used to lose? That’s what these sound like, but slightly better – very slightly. Mids and highs are good, don’t expect much, if any, bass. There is some low frequency response but it’s very airy. These are no audiophile earbuds folks! Only audio codecs available are SBC or AAC. These are akin to Apple’s Airpods – they are completely open, no sound sealage, no noise cancellation, but sound quality is definitely not bad if you know what to expect. But if you do get a chance to listen with these it’s a different experience. Like music or voices are only playing for you, but you’re not completely sealed off from the world. Your own personal soundtrack can play in the background as you go about your day. As mentioned before, the LinkBuds only offer SBC or AAC audio codecs, which is fine. Why waste AptX or LDAC capabilities on open earbuds? You lose more detail with the earbuds designed to be completely open. With the Headphones app you can turn on the function to upscale compressed audio via AI with the DSEE option. I honestly didn’t notice any huge difference with it being on or off.Build Quality: ABS material, though they feel very sturdy. The recycled plastic look has its own charm. Definitely a different look and feel, but you can tell Sony really tried to go environmentally conscious with everything, from the materials to the packaging. Besides the silicon inside the buds, it feels like it could be recycled again (if that makes sense). They don’t feel cheap by any means. The buds are lightweight, probably some of the lightest I’ve used. Overall good build.Battery Life: Battery life is good. I would say average. About 4-5 hours of continuous music listening, with an additional 2-3 full charges from the case. Just recently got the Xperia 1 III which they added battery share (reverse Qi charging), which is interesting to me since the case for these earbuds didn’t include Qi charging capabilities. Sony s WF flagship does, but these do not. Hopefully if they make a LinkBuds ver. 2 they add it.Fit and Comfort: Just like any new earbuds, getting the fit right requires some trial and error (and sometimes a little bit of discomfort). The LinkBuds come with 4 (I think, can’t remember) different sized wings that help keep the earbuds in place. My ears are somewhat smaller, so I typically use either small or medium eartips and wings. For these I had to switch the preinstalled mediums for one size smaller. At first the wings are a bit too stiff and uncomfortable. But after breaking them in they’re perfect! The LinkBuds stay in place, even with more than normal head shaking. Although the shape of these earbuds are unorthodox, once you understand how they need to be placed in your ear they fit well. Compared to the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live I find these MUCH more comfortable but a little more pressure than Airpods.Features (Headphones App): The Wide Area Tap apparantly isn’t a new function, but it is a niche one. The way it works is instead of tapping directly on the buds themselves, you double or triple tap an area around an earbud for it to trigger an action. In the Headphones app you can assign area taps for each side, but only limited to a specific function. For example, for the left area you can assign the Volume function, so 2x tap will be set to Raise Volume and a 3x tap will Lower Volume. And for the right area you can set something like Playback Function, where 2x tap will Skip Song Forward, 3x tap will Previous Song. You cannot, however, set left area to function as 2x tap volume up 3x tap previous song. It’s only left/right area tap set functions (Volume, Playback, Assistant, etc). There is Adaptive Volume Control which raises the volume automatically when you’re in a louder area such as outside where there’s traffic, and lowers volume when you’re in a quieter are such as a library. Then there are your typical earbud functions, such as Auto Power Off when nothing plays through the earbuds after a certain amount of time passes, or Auto Pause when earbuds are removed from your ears. In the app you can mess around with the equalizer, set up 360 audio, set voice to speech, and set voice notifications.Connection: Now this is my biggest gripe with the LinkBuds. I have the Headphones app set to prioritize a good connection at the sacrifice of sound quality, but noticed if there are any large masses that get in between my phone and the earbuds (like, say, my fat body) the earbuds cut out. This especially happens outside, I’ve noticed, while I’m gardening or washing the car. Sometimes the interference also cuts out audio in the left earbud. And it’s not just for a second or two, it could be until I pause my music and try reconnecting the buds, needing to place them back in the case and restarting the connection to my phone. It can be very frustrating at times – hopefully there’s a patch coming.Overall, very good first foray into this design by Sony. I hope they continue to refine this line of earbuds. I know their flagships have settings to allow passive audio but normally those sound too robotic – having open audio is more my preference.

  7. ZVB73


    I am the type of person who is alone most of the time and needs to hear my surroundings. I’m not ever in a noisy environment, so noise cancellation isn’t necessary for me. On top of that, I can’t stand not being able to hear the world around me. It increases my anxiety, and I’m always paranoid when I can’t hear.Enter the LinkBudsOn paper, these are the perfect earbuds for me. No better “passthrough” audio than literal holes cut in your earbuds. I feel like these earbuds were created with exactly me in mind, so I decided to give them a shot. Unfortunately, almost every good thing brings something bad with it.The unique design will obviously be interesting since there’s nothing else like it. I like the creative problem solving for making open earbuds. They include many different sizes of silicone rings so that they can try to fit any ear size… But they definitely will not fit everyone. They just won’t. Unfortunately for me, apparently my inner portion of my ear is too small (which is shocking to me because I’m 6 feet tall and have a giant head). The smallest size ring creates a prominent bump on the top that feels like it is stabbing my ear after more than 5 minutes. I also can’t remove the ring because they won’t stay in without it. I’ve had to compromise by using a too large size and kind of just cram it in there for extra padding. Not idealThey are designed for all day usage since you can hear your surroundings while wearing them… But they aren’t comfortable enough for me to wear them for more than an hour or two. There are no soft parts unlike normal buds, so the hard plastic constantly being crammed in your ear can definitely hurt after a while. Unfortunate.The design gives them more of an “open back” feel. Obviously the sound will never be as good as over ear headphones, but honestly, they are very clear and have solid sound quality. I find that most buds don’t satisfy my audio quality standards, but these do satisfy me most of the time… But they also have practically no bass. Not a huge problem for my types of music and for podcasts, but I sometimes feel like I’m missing parts of the songs, especially when comparing with Sennheiser open back headphones. If you only listen to bass heavy music, do not buy these. You will hate them. For the average user, I suggest downloading the app and turning on the EQ settings so you can compensate better for the missing bass.The case is compact and the buds snap in securely. It’s also made out of recycled plastic which hopefully is a plus for our planet… But the case feels hollow and very slippery. I wish it had a better texture so I wasn’t afraid I’d drop it at all times. I wish it had a more premium feel for the price.One note about my ear shape. My ears are odd in that they kind of have a slope to them where the earbud would rest. I have a problem with *every* earbud I have ever used and trying to get them to stay in. Because of that, each ear fits differently with these. The unfortunate side effect is at times the audio can sound slightly different per ear which can make the audio experience unpleasant at times.The final incredibly unfortunate problem that is probably exclusive to me: because of my ear shape, the left bud sits at an angle and actually plugs my ear completely…. Which means the hole literally does nothing for my left ear except when I reposition it to a really specific way, but it always goes back to plugged after a while. I will continue working with it to see if I’m doing something wrong, but I seriously think they just don’t work properly with my ears.ConclusionI’m giving this 2/5 stars because the idea is excellent, the sound quality is good (except for the bass), and that these buds are incredibly useful in situations where normal buds wouldn’t work.Unfortunately, the execution was not done as well as I hoped. The discomfort I experience in these is incredibly disappointing. I hoped these would be buds I could use almost constantly, but they hurt me too much to do so. And with the left ear problem as listed above, it kind of negates the whole purpose for one of my ears. Just know these are not made to fit everyone, and if you’ve ever had issues with buds fitting, be cautious with these.I am considering trying to return them because I can’t justify the price if they don’t work for me 100%. I hope I can find a solution because I want them to work.I think these will be amazing for some people, but I’m honestly devastated I’m not one of them.

  8. Mike


    Night and day difference if you jam it in ears that’s 3 pictures. The second picture is the way it was designed to used Had to buy Accessories, for it to sound better, worth it. I do not wear it the way it supposed to be. It’s not loud enough when you stick it in your ear, is trying to fall out, if you were to wear it as intended, it wouldn’t fall out. Volume is at a 5-6 at best out of a ten if you wear it as intended, but if you jam it in ear. Volume is Intense and, sounds crazy worth the money I bought it used $63. It was less than half the price for me worth the money. It made me realise I don’t care about my Surrounding I care about quality if your dragon, it’s good if you just trying to listen to music movies, still worth it. But you can get better quality for your money, not that there are not there in quality. If you use $40-60 headphones these Link buds are crazy an is wayyyyy better, it’s around $150-250 in expected quality. Lastly the short lifespan of batteries. I get 4 hour on 9 volume out of 15 settings, It is no we’re near 9-10 hour. When companies say 20 hours, there talking about charging case and, this one holds two charges at best. It is very frustrating to pair, you have to hold or, keep case open and, hold back bottom for 5 seconds. If the case is not open, it will not turn blue which is pairing mode. I had a hard time finding this information online. Hope this helps by the way,Not A Robot

  9. Michael


    TL;DRCons: not a lot of battery life, the signal is weak and will cut in and out with normal use.Pros: works as advertised, you can hear your surroundings well and adaptive volume through the app helps keep a nice balance. Very compact and comfortable.I bought these because I work in an environment where it’s a hazard to not be aware of your surroundings and I’ve very much enjoyed having them. It has a lot of aspects I like about it, but each positive feature comes at a cost and you should weight what you want and need properly before buying these fairly pricey headphones.The case is very small, the smallest I’ve seen on wireless buds. It fits so well in my pocket, I hardly notice I brought them. This is very neat if, like me, you carry a lot of keys and don’t have much pocket space left. The cost of this, however, is that the case itself doesn’t hold much charge. It will charge my buds from dying to full one time with roughly 20% charge left in the case.The buds are comfortable, designed specifically for “all day comfort” so that you technically don’t need to remove them at all through the day. This design was executed well and I really could wear them all day; if only the batteries in the buds themselves lasted longer. I get between 2-4 hours a charge, so at work I charge them during my break. This works out for me, but as mentioned the case doesn’t hold much charge either, so if you expect to need them for more than four hour bring a charger.The sound is natural and quality, it almost sounds like I’m listening to a radio while holding a conversation. They have a little trouble with heavy base sounds and get a little wavey, but the natural environment and open air make it sound like you’re not just in a studio. I like that but for some that might be more of a flaw than a feature.They connect to multiple devices well. I love playing my steamdeck and getting both my games sound and audio from the video playing on my phone. The drawback here is that the signal for the headphone is the weakest I’ve experienced. I can’t place my phone on a desk and walk to the other side of the wall without losing connection. Sometimes my audio cuts out even when my phone is in my pocket, although I’ve only experienced this while moving. If little cutouts bother you, these headphones arnt for you.All in all I like them. I feel like I need to be more mindful of them than my previous Skullcandy buds, but they offer me a lot of perks and I can live with the downsides.

  10. Marcos Bravo


    I think these earphones are a really good idea, I realize that Earbuds tend to have “ambient” modes so you can hear people with earbuds on however, I often feel like they sound very odd since most earbuds I’ve worn do full isolate sound to begin with. Since the Linkbuds just have holes on them, this is the best way for me to listen to people and have some music in my ears. Obviously these will not isolate sound, they have holes, I have a different pair of Earbuds or IEMs or Headphones if that’s all I’m aiming to do. I think these are great if you still want to hear what’s going on like in a work setting and such without the jarring feeling of everyone sounding a bit “off” when you wear traditional earbuds and hear them through the earbuds mic.That said, I love the idea of these earphones, my only issue with them right now is that they aren’t comfortable for long use. Because these aren’t normal earbuds. The way they’re held together in your ear is by pushing two parts of your ear and that creates problems for me. Regardless of which lobes I use or whatever they’re called, the eventuality of pain from these things pushing into my ear (the tragus?) will come and I really hope that Sony makes more of these and improves the design. Ears are weird and they come in too many shapes and sizes so earbuds like this that fit everyone seems like a gargantuan task, but they’re a large company, surely they can figure it out.3 stars is not a bad rating but considering that I have to wear these to use them for what they’re made for, the comfort-ability of these earbuds are worth losing 2 stars.

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