Sony LinkBuds S

1 week ago 12

Almost each the quality regarding the Sony LinkBuds S is good. They’re small, airy and comfortable, with respectable artillery beingness and a stack of well-implemented power options. And they’re an agreeable listen, but their shortage of sonic animation and vigor leaves them a small abbreviated for the price.


  • +

    Compact, airy and comfortable

  • +

    Enjoyable and unthreatening sound

  • +

    Great power app


  • -

    Could dependable much assertive

  • -

    Don’t look oregon consciousness thing special

Sony LinkBuds S: 1 infinitesimal review

The Sony LinkBuds S aren't visually startling successful the aforesaid mode arsenic the archetypal Sony LinkBuds. Those didn't adjacent acceptable wrong your ear, but were designed to fto extracurricular dependable done a loop implicit the receptor canal. Strange, but beauteous cool.

But actually, the Sony LinkBuds S are astonishing successful their ain mode erstwhile you get up adjacent to them, and you realise they’re smaller and lighter than immoderate alternate plan you’ve encountered. They're designed similar each the different best existent wireless earbuds, but they battalion Sony's noise-cancellation tech into an astonishing discreet design.

Build prime is unarguable, specification is impressive, artillery beingness is much than acceptable, and determination are rather a fewer precise good implemented power options too. The LinkBuds S adjacent person amended eco-credentials than the bulk of competitors, arsenic good arsenic being incredibly comfortable. So connected insubstantial astatine least, then, they’re acceptable to dominate.

And during this Sony LinkBuds S review, we recovered that they marque bully connected that committedness to a large extent. Detail levels, soundstaging and tonality each impress, and the mode the frequence scope is balanced from apical to bottommost is formidable too. But wherever dynamic headroom is concerned, the LinkBuds S are a small lacking – they can't muster the sonic vigor and thrust to bring a signaling afloat to life.

This is successful alternatively stark opposition to the Sony WF-1000XM4, which person agelong been acknowledged arsenic 1 of the precise best sound cancelling earbuds around. Now they've been retired for a small while, the asking terms is often precise adjacent to LinkBuds S levels – truthful unless the size and the value of these caller earbuds is simply a large origin successful your purchasing determination (and it truly mightiness beryllium – it makes a large quality for those with tiny ears), the WF-1000XM4 marque much consciousness to america arsenic a acquisition overall.

Sony LinkBuds S review: terms and merchandise date

  • Release date: 20th May 2022
  • Price: $199 / £179 / AU$349

The Sony LinkBud S existent wireless in-ear headphones launched towards the extremity of May 2022, and presently they’re priced astatine $199 / £179 / AU$349. 

You don’t person to look agelong oregon hard to realise there’s plentifulness of contention disposable astatine this benignant of wealth - not slightest from Sony itself, whose all-conquering WF-1000XM4 are present routinely disposable for $229 / £199 oregon thereabouts. 

There's besides Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless 3, the Grell Audio TWS/1 and the inevitable Apple AirPods Pro each outgo precise akin money, and each person plentifulness to urge them. From wrong and without, then, the LinkBuds S person immoderate rivals to look down.

Sony LinkBuds S review: features

Sony LinkBuds S connected  table

The LinkBuds S lawsuit is elemental and well-made, and isn't excessively bulky. (Image credit: Future)
  • Active noise-cancelling with adjustable ambient sound
  • Bluetooth 5.2 with SBC, AAC and LDAC support
  • 27hr artillery beingness (at a push)

The LinkBuds S whitethorn beryllium small, but their specification is big. With the objection of multi-point pairing, if there’s a diagnostic these Sony existent wireless in-ears don’t have, it’s astir apt not truly worthy having.

Wireless connectivity is via Bluetooth 5.2, compatible with SBC, AAC and LDAC codecs but – arsenic is established Sony signifier – nary aptX functionality. Still, equip yourself with an appropriately LDAC-specified smartphone and the LinkBuds S are comfortably high-resolution headphones.

They usage the aforesaid V1 processor that combines sound cancellation and audio processing successful 1 arsenic successful the Sony WF-1000XM4, but it feeds a caller 5mm full-range dynamic driver, which is smaller than the XM4. The earbuds themselves volition clasp anyplace betwixt 6 and 9 hours of powerfulness (depending connected whether progressive noise-cancellation is switched connected oregon not), portion the small charging lawsuit holds up to a mates of further afloat charges. Which makes the artillery beingness precise competitive. It's not class-leading, but the buds that bash amended are overmuch bigger and heavier. The likewise airy AirPods Pro, for comparison, negociate 4.5 hours per complaint with ANC on, truthful Sony's got a large pb there.

Noise-cancellation tin beryllium turned connected oregon disconnected successful the power app oregon the capacitive interaction aboveground connected each earbud, but there's besides the ‘Ambient sound’ option, which offers 20 antithetic options, meaning the Sony’s volition fto successful thing from ‘a hint’ to ‘a torrent’ of outer dependable if you truthful desire.

The ‘Headphones’ power app is besides location to EQ adjustment, enactment betwixt ‘sound quality’ oregon ‘connection stability’ wherever Bluetooth is concerned, the quality to rearrange the interaction controls, and plentifulness much besides. It’s the aforesaid app arsenic Sony’s premium headphones use, and it’s conscionable arsenic effectual and unchangeable present arsenic anyplace else.

The touch-controls are arsenic reliable and well-implemented, and the LinkBuds person Alexa built in, on with Google Assistant compatibility. The outer mics that look aft voice-control, arsenic good arsenic telephony, are disposable connected the extracurricular of each earbud down a small ellipse of mesh.

  • Features score: 5/5

Sony LinkBuds S review: design

Sony LinkBuds S connected  table

The Sony LinkBuds S don't person the bulbous plan of the Sony WF-1000XM4, contempt sharing overmuch of their tech. (Image credit: Future)
  • 4.8g per earbud and correspondingly small
  • 35g charging lawsuit with USB-C socket
  • IPX4 rating

When a merchandise is arsenic tiny and airy arsenic this (Sony says LinkBuds S are 40 percent smaller and implicit 30 percent lighter than its ain WF-1000XM4), there’s not a batch that tin hap successful presumption of ‘design’. 

So the LinkBuds S are perfectly good made and finished successful the aforesaid taxon of textured recycled-plastic-plus-stone the institution builds its top-end headphones from. Choose betwixt black, achromatic oregon ‘ecru’ finishes. That past colour makes the Sony look a spot prosthetic, to beryllium honest.

Charging is via USB-C – there’s nary wireless charging compatibility here, and from ‘flat’ to ‘full’ you’ll request to hold a mates of hours. Still, erstwhile that’s done you tin (within reason) spell anyplace with your LinkBuds: their IPX4 standing makes them susceptible of handling the sweat generated by a league successful the gym oregon the splashes generated from lounging astir by the pool.

  • Design score: 4.5/5

Sony LinkBuds S review: dependable quality

Sony LinkBuds S connected  table

The Sony LinkBuds S diagnostic a smaller talker operator than the Sony WF-1000XM4, which makes consciousness for smaller buds, but does impact the sound. (Image credit: Future)
  • Detailed, organized and controlled sound
  • Lack dynamic potency
  • Good sound cancellation

It doesn’t instrumentality overmuch much than a walk done an MQA-powered TIDAL Masters watercourse of Love and Hate successful a Different Time by Gabriels for the Sony LinkBuds S to uncover an atrocious batch astir the mode they spell astir reproducing music. There are nary secrets of show to beryllium teased retired of these earbuds – they’re upfront astir their comparative strengths and weaknesses close from the off.


Type: existent wireless in-ear
Weight: 4.8g (earbud); 35g (case)
Drivers: 5mm dynamic
Battery life: 6 hours (ANC on), 9 hours (ANC off) (earbuds); 2 afloat charges (case)
Control: App; touch; voice
Bluetooth: 5.2; SBC, AAC, LDAC

On the positive side, they’re an open, chiseled and rather impressively elaborate listen. Low frequencies are chunky and well-controlled, truthful they don’t resistance astatine tempos oregon marque rhythms dependable unnatural. They transportation plentifulness of item regarding code and texture, too. It’s a likewise informative dependable astatine the apical of the frequence range: treble sounds are conscionable astir agleam enough, plentifulness important enough, and stock the aforesaid elaborate attitude.

In between, the magnitude of item the LinkBuds S present stands singers of each kinds successful bully stead. The mode the Sony laic retired a soundstage allows vocalists to beryllium beforehand and halfway portion inactive being nicely integrated into the show arsenic full – and from there, they pass well. If there’s quality successful a singer’s delivery, the LinkBuds S volition item it.

The wide equilibrium is good, rhythmic look is precise agreeable too, and the Sony acceptable each constituent of a signaling unneurotic with existent positivity.

What’s lacking successful the dependable prime department, though, is immoderate existent consciousness of thrust oregon urgency. Dynamic headroom is curtailed here, and arsenic a effect everything that happens successful a signaling tends to hap astatine 1 unchanging level. They’re a peculiarly unenthusiastic, astir dispassionate listen, the LinkBuds S – surely immoderate fig of likewise priced rivals dependable a woody much engaged and, consequently, engaging.

The mode the Sony deploys noise-cancelling doesn’t request excuses made for it, caput you. The LinkBuds S woody with outer sounds decisively, and negociate to bash truthful without leaving an aftertaste. Call quality, too, is precise acceptable – intelligibility is good, and Sony’s wind-noise simplification ‘Precise Voice Pick-Up’ exertion works well.

  • Sound prime score: 4/5

Sony LinkBuds S review: value

Sony LinkBuds S connected  table

The Sony LinkBuds S lone usage USB-C for charging – there's nary wireless charging, contempt them not being cheap. (Image credit: Future)
  • Predictable modular of physique and finish
  • Worthwhile eco-credentials
  • Pound-for-pound dependable prime somewhat lacking

When you see the modular of physique and decorativeness here, it’s similar the LinkBuds S haven’t truthful overmuch been miniaturized arsenic condensed. The decorativeness is flawless, and the earbuds springiness each content of being built to past for the agelong haul. The aforesaid is existent of the charging case, which closes with a brisk and reassuring ‘snap’.

Sony’s been making bully advancement successful reducing the biology interaction of its products lately, and the LinkBuds S are nary different. They get successful unbleached, unprinted and plastic-free packaging, and the earbuds and charging lawsuit are built from a worldly that combines recycled integrative car parts with stone. It tin itself beryllium recycled astatine the extremity of the product’s life.

In the end, though, in-ear headphones unrecorded oregon dice by their dependable prime – and present the Sony LinkBuds S conscionable aren't rather a knockout. They get acold much close than they get wrong, of course, but wherever they’re deficient – fundamentally wherever dynamics and thrust are acrophobic – they suck much than a spot of excitement from recordings.

  • Value score: 4/5

Should I bargain Sony LinkBuds S?

Sony LinkBuds S rating AttributesNotesRating
FeaturesVery hard to responsibility – Sony's app gives you truthful overmuch control.5/5
DesignSo comfortable, truthful small, truthful light.4.5/5
Sound qualityThe item and equilibrium is there, but they deficiency a spot of vigor and excitement.4/5
ValueThey're a bully buy, but you tin get amended dependable astir the aforesaid money.4/5

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Simon Lucas

Simon Lucas is simply a elder editorial nonrecreational with heavy acquisition of print/digital publishing and the user electronics landscape. Based successful Brighton, Simon worked astatine TechRadar's sister tract What HiFi? for a fig of years, arsenic some a features exertion and a integer editor, earlier embarking connected a vocation successful freelance consultancy, contented creation, and journalism for immoderate of the biggest brands and publications successful the world. 

With tremendous expertise successful each things location entertainment, Simon reviews everything from turntables to soundbars for TechRadar, and besides likes to dip his toes into longform features and buying guides. His bylines include GQ, The Guardian, Hi-Fi+, Metro, The Observer, Pocket Lint, Shortlist, Stuff T3, Tom's Guide, Trusted Reviews, and more.

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