All this time, headphones and earphones have focused on shutting the world out and turning off the noise to leave you alone with your music. Sony’s LinkBuds are designed for another purpose, perhaps a more realistic one. We can’t always afford to switch off from our surroundings. Doorbells ring, people come up to say something, the brat drops something, etc. We need to pay attention just as much as we need to get away. The LinkBuds make a kind of audio multi-tasking possible.
First off, the LinkBuds are shaped like no other earbuds. They’re plain weird looking with loops and whatnot sticking out of them. They’re small and live in a small case until you fit them into your ears. You have to find your equation with just how these are to be worn and if there’s any confusion, follow the on-screen prompts on your playback device to see a tutorial. Once get that done, you’re ready to turn on the music and listen.
Linking two worlds
Being in an open design, the LinkBuds will not give that head-filling sound we are accustomed to. They sound good, and you can tell that the quality is superior, but they’re not for people who want to tune out and be lost in the music. That’s why Sony positions them as something that links your inner world of music with your outside world. They’re not for everyone, just for that reason. With the LinkBuds in your ears, you can hear everything around you in an entirely unaltered fashion. Nothing sounds unnatural. You don’t get any of that strange highlighting of your breathing and sounds.
Although many audio devices with active noise cancellation have transparency or ambient mode, they tend to highlight sounds from around you, making them sharp and prominent. This is necessary for many situations but won’t do when you need to be equally attentive to both. With the LinkBuds, for example, you can have a perfectly normal conversation with someone who comes up. You can attend to calls on the earphones but also be tuned in to what’s happening around you at the office. But yes, you may miss deep bassy music. The sound will also depend greatly on how well you wear them.
The LinkBuds are quite comfortable once you find that fit and get used to them. You can easily wear them for long hours. Extra sets of the little loops help balance and fit the buds in your ears. The buds are incredibly lightweight.The packaging these buds come in is environmentally friendly but very cumbersome. You can use one bud at a time, and these are also multi-point.
Sony has always led the pack with innovative earphones and headphones features. The LinkBuds are another example of a creative feature. A ‘wide area tap’ capability lets you tap yourself just under the ear and above the cheek to control stop and start and assistant triggers. This is much better than creating a big thumping sound when you tap on the back of your earbuds. It takes a while to get it right and become accustomed to it, and you can’t control volume this way, but it’s still interesting. Another feature on the LinkBuds is the speak to chat, which pauses the music whenever the device hears you say something. It will mean you can’t talk to yourself or even sing with music, but it works very well. It isn’t as needed on these earphones as on headphones and earphones that seal you in. It can be turned off from the Sony Headphones Connect app.
The battery on these buds is in the region of five hours until they need a recharge. There is support for a quick boost of battery but not for wireless charging.
All in all, the LinkBuds are not for everyone, especially at ₹19,990. After all, you can probably keep in touch with your worlds by wearing a single bud from any TWS maker.