Now though, it’s trying something different – the £150 LinkBuds not only have a friendly name (unlike the WH-1000XM4s or WH-XB910N to name but two) but they are super-light at 4g each and are designed to be worn all the time.
And the grey or white earphones have a unique look, too, with a 12mm ‘ring’ driver. A small rubber loop holds them in your ears – this is the one bit that can be adjusted, and other size rubber loops are included in the box.
This provides a secure fit, but we wouldn’t say they were intended for running – they’re splashproof but not water or sweatproof. Battery life is decent, with 5.5 hours in the buds and an extra 12 hours of charge in the case. Unfortunately, there’s no wireless charging, although they do have a 10 minute fast charge that gives you around 90 minutes of playback.
The LinkBuds are at home playing music, of course, but they’re intended for those of us who are often on calls during the working day, too, with clear in-call audio and some clever features to aid communication. In a way, they’re multi-purpose earphones for the home or mobile worker.
They don’t have noise cancellation – instead, they use AI to suppress ambient noise so you can still hear people in noisy situations, prioritising voices. LinkBuds also adapt volume depending on your environment, too (you can turn this off in the accompanying Sony Connect app).
The controls are clever – they don’t even have controls on the buds themselves since they can pick up vibrations from double or triple taps in front of either of your ears.
You can also choose to enable Speak-to-Chat which automatically pauses music when you have a conversation. Sony’s own integrated V1 processor is at the heart of this – the tech has been developed through the analysis of over 500 million voice samples.
They boast built-in Amazon Alexa as well as Google Assistant (the latter doesn’t work on iOS) and also support Google Fast Pair, though they’re also certified for use with Apple devices, too. Sony’s own 360 Reality Audio is supported as is Spotify, which you can get to via a pre-configured tap command, too.