Sony markets LinkBuds, a set of loop-shaped earplugs that leave the ear canal completely free. The covers are designed in such a way that you can continue to hear all the surrounding noise so there is no noise reduction.
Sony believes that the LinkBuds WF-L900 headphones are especially suitable for use in the office and in traffic: situations where you want to listen to music, but also want to continue listening in the environment. So it has equipped LinkBuds with a ring motor designed specifically for LinkBuds connectors. Sony wants to tackle the sound quality of the WF-1000 series with ring-shaped drivers, but it maintains that LinkBuds are more intended for the business market. So they are especially proud of the quality of the microphones built into the earplugs.
LinkBuds are not placed in the ear canal like traditional earplugs. The round-shaped part is located in the outer ear, where the hole in the loop ensures that the ear canal remains completely free. To adapt the LinkBuds to your ear size, Sony provides rubber loops that attach to the top of your outer ear.
LinkBuds have the same V1 processor as the WF-1000XM4. This ensures that LinkBuds can analyze sounds based on an algorithm driven by artificial intelligence, which in turn should lead to better legibility. The processor also allows LinkBuds to use DSEE, a proprietary Sony algorithm that attempts to improve the sound quality of lost music files such as MP3s. Additionally, LinkBuds can handle 360 Reality Audio, just like most earplugs and headphones in the 1000 series. As with the 1000 series earplugs, LinkBuds can be controlled through an app from Sony, which includes the equalizer.
LinkBuds have no buttons and no touch controls. Alternatively, you can control them by tapping on your temple. LinkBuds have a sensor that records such taps while you sleep. Double or triple clicking gives you several options. You can increase or decrease the volume of the music or make a phone call to it. Functions can be set as desired by the application.
LinkBuds have the same adaptive noise control as the WF-1000XM4, which means the volume of the music is automatically adjusted to the sound in the environment. They also have a “wear-detection” feature, which means that the music pauses when the earplug is removed from your ear. The earplugs also have a talk-to-chat function, so that the music will automatically stop when you start talking. In addition, LinkBuds can handle Assistants from Google and Amazon, Fast Pair from Google and Swift Pair from Microsoft. LinkBuds also have an IPX 4 rating.
Sony provides LinkBuds in a charging case. The earplugs’ batteries themselves last 5.5 hours, but the battery can be charged out of the case, which LinkBuds last a total of 17.5 hours. If the earplugs batteries are completely empty, ten minutes of charging is enough to listen for another 1.5 hours. Both the LinkBuds and the chassis are smaller and lighter than the WF-1000XM4. The housing of the LinkBuds is made from recycled ABS and the earbuds come in an all-paper package.
LinkBuds will be released later this month and will be available in white and dark gray. They cost 180 euros.