The Sony LinkBuds look nothing like a regular pair of earphones. They have a unique design and a stunning sound to set them apart from other earphones on the market.
The LinkBuds don’t a silicone tip that’s inserted into your ear canal.
Instead there’s a ring that rests on your ear and provides audio transparency. That means you can hear what’s going on around you and, if you play your content loud enough, others will hear it too.
The Sony LinkBuds are not noise cancelling earphones – for noise cancellation you’ll need to buy different earphones or headphones.
One thing that will amaze you is how small they are.
The charging is also the smallest we’ve seen.
The design and how they are meant to fit in your ear means they can’t be too big.
Unlike regular earphones with a tip, the LinkBuds have to fit across your ear and wedge inside with the ring positioned over your ear canal – not in it.
Beside the ring is a small dome where the battery is located and on this dome is a small wing to help find a secure fit.
Inside the ring is the driver unit and diaphragm which helps save space and keeps the earphones small.
Now how do they fit?
For us they fit fairly well. It took a few attempts at first to work out the best way twist them into place.
Once we did this and felt comfortable – they were great. But they did fall out a few times.
We’ve had these for a week now and we think we’ve mastered the fit.
Sony has done plenty of homework on ear shapes and have been compiling data since 1982.
You’ll need some patience to make these fit – it will fit, maybe right away or maybe after a few tries. But it will fit.
And being so small and light, they are also quite comfortable. You’ll quickly forget they are in your ears.
Under the hood is DSEE (digital sound enhancement engine) and the integrated V1 processor which combine to upscale your music and reproduce every detail for true high fidelity.
Despite their open design, the Sony LinkBuds sound impressive. Yes, you can hear what’s going on around you but in no way does intrude with what you’re listening to.
Your content is what you’ll hear first.
As is typical with Sony, the detail and quality and crispness are immediately evident.
The Sony Headphones Connect app lets you take things further here with ability to choose preset equalisers including bright, excited, mellow, relaxed, vocal, treble boost, bass boost, speech, manual and your own custom settings.
Another remarkable thing is the gesture controls which actually don’t require you to touch the earphones themselves but the area on your head just in front of the LinkBuds.
Within the app you can set what a double tap and triple tap can do – for us we set volume control for the left and forward and back between songs on the right.
This means we can have total control without having to actually touch the earphones and without risking them falling out of ears.
On the battery side, the Sony LinkBuds offer about 5.5 hours of playback on a single charge with 12 more hours in the tiny charging case so all up you’ve 17.5 hours before you need to recharge anything.
The Sony LinkBuds are priced at $299.95 and will be available from April.
The Sony LinkBuds are a real departure from traditional earphones with a new look and design, but they truly deliver on sound quality, performance and comfort.