Speaker 1: Hey folks. So not too long ago, Sony released its donut shaped link buds with an open design. That's certainly unique looking now is back with these guys, the link buds S a more traditional set of noise isolating, and yes, noise canceling earbuds that have a pretty premium $2 price tag, but sit below Sony's flagship WF, 1000 X mark, four buds. They're really appealing a lot of ways, but are they the best for the money? Let's talk about that.
Speaker 1: [00:00:30] Now, some of you are probably wondering what the S in link bus S stands for. I don't think it exactly stands for one thing, or at least that's what it's only rep told me. It seems to stand for a bunch of S words like smartness and sound quality and silence, and a sea connection to your online and offline worlds, which in Sony speak means they're designed to be worn all the time. Basically the Sony equivalent of the AirPods pro. And the first thing you notice about them is that they're really lightweight and smaller than the WF 1000 X mark four buzz. In fact, Sony's calling them the smallest and lightest noise, canceling high res [00:01:00] true wireless earbuds because they do support Sony's so-called near losses, Leck, audio Kodak for Bluetooth streaming, but more on that in a minute. Let me go through some of the other key design highlights. First,
Speaker 1: [00:01:30] Like the standard length buds, these are made out of recycled plastic or least partially. So, and come in two color options of black and white. It's interesting to note that the black version has more of a textured finish while the white one has a completely smooth finish. I dunno if that means that the black version has more recycled plastic in it, but the two cases are exactly the same size and they're nice in compact, just slightly bigger than the AirPods pros case. But unlike the WF, 1000 X mark force case, it doesn't have wireless charging, just USBC charging. A lot of the buzz interest price range [00:02:00] do have wireless charging earbuds fit my ears really well, and they are quite comfortable. They also don't stick out of your ears too far. They sit fairly flush and should fit up a variety of ear types, even small ears.
Speaker 1: And on another positive note, I was able to get a tight seal with the included Eart tips, which wasn't exactly the case for me with the WF 1000 X mark, four buds, as I've said, many times that tight seal is crucial for both optimal sound quality and optimal noise canceling these used Sony's V one chip, not its QN one chip, and they just don't have the same [00:02:30] components, not the same drivers, not the same microphone. So you're not gonna get quite the same sound quality and noise cancellation as you get with the WF 1000 X mark four, but both the sound and noise canceling are really solid overall. And while the noise canceling is a slight step behind the WF, 1000 X mark, four S it's not a big step. There's also an ambient mode with adjustable levels that allow to tweak how much sound you wanna let in from the outside world.
Speaker 1: It may not be quite as good as what apple offers with its transparency mode in terms of how natural things sound, but it does sound pretty natural [00:03:00] so long as you don't crank it up to the highest level. These have Sony quick attention mode that allows you to tap and hold the left bud to muffle the music you're listening to and enter ambient mode. So you can hear what's going on around you and have a conversation. There's also the speak to chat feature. That's essentially, handsfree quick attention. If someone comes up to you and wants to chat, you can simply start talking, Hey, how you doing? And your audio pauses and the earbuds go into Ambien mode. The audio then resumes after a short period of time, anywhere from five seconds to 30 seconds, [00:03:30] depending on your preference, or you can manually resume it by tapping on either bud.
Speaker 1: I thought the touch controls worked well. So no problems there. And I didn't have any issues with dropouts. The Bluetooth 5.2 connection with my iPhone, 13 pro and a couple of Android phones was rock solid. They have an IPX four splash proof rating. So you can use them for sporting activities. And they stayed in my ears securely, even though they don't have any sport fin, I had no trouble running with them and use them for a few days at the gym battery life is rated [00:04:00] at six hours with an extra 14 hours in the charging case. That may not be great, but it's not bad considering the compact size of the buds. And by comparison, the standard link buds offer 5.5 hours of battery life. And those don't have active noise canceling Sony throws in several extra features, including an adaptive sound control mode. That'll adjust the sound and noise canceling on the fly based on your environment, plenty of EQ settings in the app to tweak the sound of it.
Speaker 1: If you want, naturally, these have support for Sony's 360 audio virtual surround music format, select few music services [00:04:30] that offer 360 audio tracks. And Sony's also introducing some new features like auto play that automatically launches a custom Spotify playlist based on your activity. And finally, there are new partnerships with endo and Microsoft soundscape in the services section of the app. I find all that stuff, a little gimmicky, but you can have fun checking it all out. As I said, the link buds S sound quite good with nicely detailed sound. The Trump has got some sparkle to it, and the base is well define. It has plenty of punch. They have [00:05:00] relatively open, exciting sound and are slightly more forward sounding than the w F 1000 X mark four, which offer a bit more depth and slightly richer sound quality overall. However, for size and weight, it would be hard pressed to find a better sounding set of buds.
Speaker 1: And if you have an Android device or dedicated music player that supports Leck, Bluetooth streaming, you can get a touch, better sound with streaming, with a music service like full buzz or title that offers high resolution tracks. Okay. Before I get into some final comparisons, let's talk about voice quality for calls [00:05:30] because that's become an important feature for a lot of people. Sony says these have special mesh covered microphones that are supposed to help with reducing wind noise. And you've got some new AI, some software algorithms to help reduce background noise in general. All right. So
Speaker 2: Now I got a lot of traffic in the background dog barking, um, back there. So,
Speaker 3: Uh, I'm talking again, just so people get a sense of how my voice out as there's a lot of background noise. [00:06:00] Again, any extra thoughts, John,
Speaker 4: Mostly the same problem. Uh, I, I really don't hear too much background noise at all, but, uh, the problem is maybe it's overcompensating because of that background noise, but your actual voice quality, it just is not great.
Speaker 3: Okay. So from our test, it looks like the regular link buzz are better for calls. Um, and the Sony w [00:06:30] H 1000 X mark five are definitely a step up for calls.
Speaker 1: So there you have it. That's our test call for the link buds. S thanks for listening, John. So I had high expectations for voice calling and while I think the link buds fell a little short in terms of how clearly you could hear my voice with a lot of background noise, they do a really good job reducing that background noise by contrast, the standard link buds didn't do quite as good a job reducing background noise, but people said they could hear my voice more clearly. So it'll be interesting to see whether we get [00:07:00] a firmware upgrade that tweaks, the voice calling AI Sony typically does deliver firmware upgrades every few months. Like I said, at the beginning, the link butts S are really appealing. A lot of ways. They're lightweighting compacted, don't skip on the features performance. They're kind of across between. Sony's a hundred dollars C 500 buds and the w F 1000 X mark, four buds.
Speaker 1: I think they sound fuller and better than jobber elite seven pro, uh, which costs around the same price. They're also pretty lightweighting compact. It's a tougher [00:07:30] call when you compare them to the $200 beats fit pro the beats sound really good. And for apple users, anyway, they have some extra features like spatial audio and always on Siri and automatic pairing with all the apple devices in your iCloud account. Last like the standard link buds. These link buds S do not have multipoint Bluetooth pairing that would allow you to pair them to two devices simultaneously like a computer and a smartphone. These fit pro aren't as discre looking as these SOS, but they do have integrated [00:08:00] sport fins that really lock the buzz in your ears. Some people like that, some people don't. I do think that if especially you're an Android user who can take advantage of the LD support link buds as have enough appealing traits, make you consider dropping $200 on them.
Speaker 1: They are the Sony buds for people who don't want larger buds, like the WF 1000 X amount, four, but want 80 to 85% of their features and performance for $80 less. That said, I do think they'll be an easier sell once they get discounted a bit, because to me anyway, they feel more like $150 earbuds [00:08:30] than $200 earbuds. Yeah. You can probably say the same thing about the beats fit pro, but that's what my gut says. So I gotta say it, but let me, what you guys think. What do you think of the design and are these the Sony buds you've been waiting for sound off in the com section? If you're interested in any of the products mentioned, check out the description below for links somewhere to find them, and you can get even more details in my text review on CNET. Lastly, if you found this video informative at all, hit the like button and [00:09:00] subscribe. If you haven't already, I'm David Conner for CNET. Thanks for watching.