May is increasingly becoming the month of product launches from Sony. After the mid-range smartphone Xperia 10 IV, the flagship Xperia 1 IV and the high-end headphones WH-1000XM5, there is now a new in-ear model. But not just any, because with the new Sony LinkBuds S, they claim to have created the world’s smallest and lightest true-wireless in-ear headphones with ANC and Hi-Res audio.
The features of the new Sony LinkBuds S
With the LinkBuds, the manufacturer introduced unusual in-ear headphones, which they now follow up with the innovative and improved Sony LinkBuds S model. However, the S-Class does without the open ring design and presents itself as a rather classic in-ear headphone, at least visually.
Technically, however, the new models are extremely exciting. The ergonomic design is supposed to perfectly fit the human ear in terms of shape. The LinkBuds S are particularly small and weigh just 4.8 grams per earbud.
Sony does not provide any information about the dimensions of the Earbuds. But about the charging case, which measures 42.8 x 60 x 27.6 mm and also turns out very light with 35 grams. It charges the LinkBuds S completely via USB Type-C in about three hours.
Nevertheless, the battery life turns out to be remarkable. Up to 6 hours of runtime with ANC and 9 hours without active noise cancellation are possible, and in combination with the charging case, another 14 hours are added. Via Quick Charge, the Earbuds can be pressure-fueled in just 5 minutes in the case for 60 minutes of music playback.
Hi-Res audio in small drivers
Due to the compact size of the Sony LinkBuds S, the drivers naturally also turn out quite small. Here, Sony relies on 5 mm neodymium magnets. However, the sound quality should not suffer, as the manufacturer promises.
Via Bluetooth 5.2, the earbuds not only reproduce audio content in SBC and AAC codec, but also in Hi-Res LDAC format over a range of 10 meters. In the standard variants, the frequency band ranges from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz at a sampling rate of 44.1 kHz; in the LDAC format, there are 20 Hz-40,000 Hz and that in 24-bit at 96 kHz and data rates up to 990 kbit/s. Thanks to DSEE Extreme, audio content is also upscaled in real time to improve quality.
Another special feature of the LinkBuds S marks the active noise cancellation. This is supposed to react smartly to the environment and continue the ambient sound concept of the LinkBuds. If the Earbuds detect a conversation, they automatically pause playback and switch to transparency mode, where voices and ambient noise are amplified. They then automatically switch back to ANC mode.
Thanks to AI functions, the Earbuds are supposed to internalize your behavior and frequently visited places over time and thus be able to adapt the sound to the respective situation. This is made possible by the Sony V1 processor, among other things. Exciting: The earbuds already use the new Bluetooth LE audio standard, which additionally reduces latency. Especially in the gaming field, a nice bonus.
Fast Pair, Multipoint and Voice Control
However, the long feature list of the Sony LinkBuds S does not end here. For example, the Earbuds support Google Fast Pair for localization and fast connection with Android devices. In the Android segment, there is also Multipoint connectivity for simultaneous connection with multiple devices. Thanks to Swift Pair, pairing with Windows PCs, laptops and tablets is also fast and reliable.
Otherwise, the Earbuds offer automatic wear recognition and allow voice control via Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. The general operation is done via the touch-sensitive outer sides. Here, sound settings can be made, playback can be paused or resumed, and it is possible to quickly switch to Quick Attention mode.
Thanks to Speak-to-Chat function, the Earbuds automatically pause playback when you’re talking to someone, if desired, and automatically resume music afterwards.
Price and Availability
The Sony LinkBuds S will be available in stores starting May 20, 2022. They are offered in the colors black, cream (German: Ecru) and white. The manufacturer’s MSRP is 199.99 euros. More details can be found on the manufacturer’s product website.