Two general fit categories can be used to describe true wireless earbuds. These include the in-canal design, which provides better noise isolation and active noise cancellation, and the outer-ear fit made popular by the original Apple AirPods, which provides a little more comfort and improves hearing in your immediate environment.
The LinkBuds (WF-L900), the newest true wireless earphones from Sony available in India, don’t really fit into either category. Its innovative and unusual design sets it apart from the competition.
The Sony LinkBuds, which retail for Rs. 19,990 in India, guarantee an all-day level of comfort, clear hearing of your surroundings, and good call and audio quality.
The Sony LinkBuds are marketed as real wireless headphones that are different from the normal high-end TWS headset in that they can be worn all day and used dependably for numerous applications. Do these promises hold true? Read this review to find out.
Because of their innovative design, the Sony LinkBuds allow for clear ambient sound transmission even while they are worn.
Design and characteristics of Sony LinkBuds
The Sony LinkBuds’ design is its most striking feature; if they weren’t already aware, many people might not even realize these are earbuds at first glance.
Since neither earpieces nor stems have any components that fit inside the ear canal, they clearly fit over the outer ear. The earpiece’s donut-shaped driver chamber has a hole in the center that allows ambient sound to be clearly heard even while the earphones are in place.
This meant that I could hear my surroundings almost as clearly with the Sony LinkBuds on (without any audio playing) as I could without them at all.
With the apparent exception that it is always “on” and without a choice, it is, therefore, a natural and fully organic hear-through. There is currently no better-constructed set of earphones available if ambient awareness is crucial to you.
Because of the innovative design and what Sony refers to as “arc support fittings,” the device fits comfortably. The sales package comes with five pairs of these fittings in various sizes, allowing for a customizable fit.
The fit was less secure in the smaller size, which I found to be the most comfortable for my ear shape. You should attempt to choose one that combines comfort with a secure fit because otherwise, a little head movement could knock the earpieces out of place.
The Sony LinkBuds’ earpieces weigh 4.1g each and have an IPX4 rating for water resistance. Touch-sensitive controls are located on the exterior surfaces, which feature an intriguing texture and look.
It’s interesting that, because of a function dubbed Wide Area Tap, you don’t always have to tap the earpieces themselves to activate the controls.
This feature allows you to tap the area on your cheek in front of your ear to get the same effect as tapping the earpiece when it is enabled through the app, and it consistently worked for me.
Additionally, it freed me from having to haphazardly feel for the earpieces’ very limited touch area, which made it much simpler for me to use the on-device controls.
Wireless charging is not available with the Sony LinkBuds charging cover, only USB Type-C charging.
The Sony LinkBuds are significantly more pocketable because their charging case is noticeably smaller than those of the majority of true wireless headphones in its price range.
A pairing button and a USB Type-C port are located on the back, and a lid release button and indicator light are located on the front. Notably, the earpieces must be snapped into place to begin charging, but that can be accomplished by simply shutting the lid, so it isn’t too difficult to get used to.
It’s also important to note that the lack of wireless charging is disappointing given the pricing.
Support for voice assistants, Google Fast Pair, Spotify Tap, and 360 Reality Audio are just a few of the extra features available on the Sony LinkBuds (WF-L900). Although there is no active noise suppression, I wouldn’t consider this a drawback considering the positioning of the headset and the rather purposeful aspect of the design.
App and specifications for Sony LinkBuds
The Sony Headphones Connect app, which is accessible for iOS and Android, is required for the LinkBuds to function, as is typically the case with Sony headphones and earphones.
The app has a sizable list of features that can be adjusted and customized for the Sony LinkBuds, including Speak To Chat, equalizer, 360 Reality Audio configuration, customizing the tap controls, adaptive volume control, autoplay, and pause when the earphones are put on or taken off, and firmware updates.
The sub-bass levels are quite inadequate, despite the good sound quality of the song.
Some of these functions, like Speak To Chat and 360 Reality Audio, are already available on previous Sony headsets.
On the Sony LinkBuds, two features stand out: Wide Area Tap, which, as previously mentioned, enables you to access the on-device controls without actually touching the earpieces, and Adaptive Volume Control, which modifies the volume in response to the level of background noise.
The SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs are supported by the Sony LinkBuds’ Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity; at this price, it’s surprising that there isn’t support for more advanced Bluetooth codecs.
The frequency response on the headphones ranges from 20 to 20,000 Hz. A USB Type-C cable is also included in the Sony LinkBuds box in addition to the five pairs of arc support fittings.
Battery life and performance of Sony LinkBuds
The Sony LinkBuds cannot really be compared to anything else within or adjacent to its price range due to its distinct placement.
Sony doesn’t offer active or passive noise reduction, but it does provide comfort, a sense of your surroundings, and universal use across functions and use situations.
The LinkBuds do give a reasonably nice overall experience, which I often preferred over the few other, possibly better options I had on my work desk, despite the fact that at first, it felt a little too radical to comprehend.
The claim made by Sony that the LinkBuds are all-day and all-purpose has some merit, as the ambient awareness did make them my preferred set of headphones when using my typically quiet home workstation, working out, or strolling along the street.
At first, it seemed like a tall order to be able to hear what is playing on the earphones clearly without any passive noise isolation, but the Sony LinkBuds gave a satisfying listening experience in terms of volume and listenability. Nevertheless, the audio profile was a little off-putting, with hardly detectable sub-bass frequencies and also slightly dull mid-bass frequencies.
The Sony LinkBuds’ style and fit are entirely distinct from the in-canal and outer-ear fits that are typical of genuine wireless earbuds.
Given the good tone and tempo of the Sony LinkBuds, listening to White Horse by Croatia Squad and Frey at home while turning up the volume was not too horrible.
However, the forceful house track’s thud and attack were essentially nonexistent, and the track’s deep, repetitive drums came off as hollow and unimpressive.
It sounded far from good compared to headsets of a similar price, like the Sony WF-1000XM4, even though the sound was pretty balanced and the strong mid-range produced a nice amount of clarity.
Given the design and the requirement to hear ambient sound in addition to what is playing on the Sony LinkBuds, this may be intentional, but it won’t work for many musical styles.
The Sony LinkBuds tended to have a little more difficulty outside than they did inside. It was loud enough for me to hear what was playing just fine when the volume was turned up to 80%, but it was never loud enough to drown out what was going on around me.
In regions that were somewhat peaceful, this wasn’t as big of an issue, but the noise from a bustling main road in Mumbai was pretty annoying.
The Sony LinkBuds’ fine-tuning made it possible for the headset to function well with voice-based media, including YouTube videos, movies, and TV shows.
The clarity and refinement of the voices naturally carried over to how well the earbuds handled calls. Despite the Sony LinkBuds’ lack of noise isolation, I had a fantastic experience with calls as long as the volume was loud enough. In fact, the open hear-through made using the headphones for calls feel more comfortable.
The Sony LinkBuds’ battery life was about average for the category and slightly underwhelming given the absence of energy-intensive features like active noise canceling and enhanced Bluetooth codec compatibility.
The earphones had a total run time of about 13 hours per charge cycle after operating for 4 hours and 35 minutes at moderate volume while receiving two more full charges from the charging case.
The best wireless headphones and earbuds on the market are unquestionably those made by Sony. The company offers a wide selection of products to fit different use cases, some of which are pretty radical and unique.
One of the company’s more daring and distinctive products is the Sony LinkBuds. In order to provide the exact type of user experience that was desired, it goes against numerous design elements that may have been regarded as typical for the segment.
The Sony LinkBuds, which provide comfort, unparalleled ambient awareness, and sound designed to get over the inherent obstacles to hearing clearly what’s around you, largely succeed at this.
The insufficient sub-bass levels in the sound can make some musical genres sound a little strange, which can be annoying in extremely busy surroundings. But I discovered that I frequently preferred these earphones for activities like phone calls, outdoor strolls, and routine workplace use.
Nevertheless, given that the Sony LinkBuds’ style is its most notable feature, it is pricey at Rs. 19,990 and even at the pre-order price of Rs. 14,990.
The LinkBuds will fit users who desire high-quality voice-based sound and the unparalleled ambient awareness it provides, but for those with a passion for music, I advise the similarly priced Sony WF-1000XM4.