Sony unveils smaller, lighter LinkBuds S for all-day listening

  • 19/05/2022
Sony's new LinkBuds S
The earbuds will automatically adjust ambient sound settings without intervention. Photo credit: Supplied / Sony

Japanese tech giant Sony has announced a new addition to its 'never off' wireless earbuds range with the LinkBuds S.

The new buds are the world's smallest and lightest noise-cancelling headphones, the company said.

They weigh just 4.8g each and will automatically switch between noise cancelling and ambient sound modes without having to touch the headphones or use a mobile phone.

"The headphones integrate Adaptive Sound Control, a smart feature that adjusts ambient  sound settings depending on where you are, creating the ideal listening experience," Sony said.

The earbuds have six hours of charge with noise cancelling on, with another 14 hours in the charging case. A five-minute quick charge will give up to 60 minutes of listening time, the company said.

The LinkBuds S also integrate technology that automatically pauses music when the wearer speaks with someone and are also Google Assistant and Alexa compatible.

The headphones are more conventional in shape compared to the first generation of LinkBuds, which introduced an 'open ring' style to allow more ambient noise in.

They'll also be competing with a multitude of other brands to be Kiwis' first choice including Apple's AirPods, Samsung's Galaxy earbuds as well as a wide range from audio specialists like Sennheiser, JBL and Technics.

Sony is also taking a step into the spatial audio space, which Apple embraced last year.

The company is partnering with gaming company Niantic so players of Ingress can hear sound delivered based on the direction they are facing.

Sony's new LinkBuds S
Photo credit: Supplied / Sony

Early reviews of the LinkBuds S are largely positive with website Tom's Guide saying that thanks to the "lightweight, plastic-free/recycled material and small size they were comfortable enough to wear several hours at a time, and didn’t budge during workouts or commutes".

The Verge says the earbuds are Sony's most comfortable to date, with good voice call quality, however says the ANC and overall sound quality are a step below Sony's own WF-1000XM4 buds.

CNET disagreed with The Verge somewhat, saying they offered very good sound and good noise cancelling, but joined other reviewers in bemoaning the lack of wireless charging.

The LinkBuds S are launching in mid-June in Aotearoa with a SRP of $379.95.