The Sony LinkBuds S are Sony’s latest addition to its already stacked lineup of wireless earbuds.
Not to be confused with their also recently released LinkBuds, the LinkBuds S look like your typical wireless in-ear headphones that are nothing special.
I’ll have to admit that, during my first few hours with the LinkBuds S, that’s how I initially felt about these earbuds: that there just wasn’t anything special enough to warrant buying them over Sony’s WF-1000XM4s, which you can now find. for only S$10 more than the new LinkBuds S.
Although the XM4 is older, it has better sound quality, better active noise cancellation (ANC), and very similar controls and comfort to the LinkBuds S.
The only two downsides to the XM4 are simply the larger charging case and heavier earbuds.
Lo and behold, the weight and comfort of the LinkBuds S were more than enough to convince me that I would rather have the LinkBuds S as my daily driver than the XM4.
Why? keep reading
Some basic specs, the LinkBuds S comes with its typical fanfare for Sony wireless earbuds these days:
Active noise cancellation
microphone for calls
Sony sent the original LinkBuds to Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore also for comparison, but I’m going to ignore this comparison because, although they share the same family name, the LinkBuds and LinkBuds S are two polar opposites when it comes to their sound and design signature.
The original LinkBuds have an “open” design, unlike the LinkBuds S.
The open design allows ambient sound to travel through the earbuds naturally, rather than artificially inducing it like the LinkBuds S’ closed internal design.
For a more accurate representation, I’ll use the Sony WF-1000XM4 for comparison.
WF-1000XM4 vs LinkBuds S
As I mentioned earlier, if all you care about is sound quality, the XM4 wins hands down. With a 6mm driver compared to the 5mm driver in the LinkBuds S, the XM4 has a much better soundstage and details in the music and things you listen to.
Not to mention, the ANC on the XM4 is superior and can block out a lot more ambient sound than the LinkBuds S.
But if you’re someone who uses your earbuds for everyday use and if you move around a lot (which, let’s face it, pretty much all of us are), the LinkBuds S excels tremendously in this area.
Weighing just 4.8g per earbud, these are Sony’s lightest in-ear headphones yet.
For comparison, the XM4 costs 7g per earbud and is absolutely chunky compared to the LinkBuds S.
Oh, what’s that you say? Was the XM4 already light to begin with? Yes, but the 4.8g of the LinkBuds S is on another level.
When I used the LinkBuds S for an extended period of time (literally from 100 percent battery charge to 0, which is about 6 hours), there were times when I actually forgot I was wearing them when I turned on the mode. environment to talk to the people around me.
Because it’s so lightweight, it also puts less pressure on your ears to keep the headphones in place.
I never knew a 2g weight reduction would mean so much for the comfort of a headset.
Have you ever had the unfortunate incident of your headphones flying off while you were in an intense gym session?
Have you ever been so distracted by your headphones while running because they were about to fall off?
Personally, that has happened to me with the XM4, but not with the LinkBuds S.
In fact, I was intentionally trying to make the LinkBuds S fly out of my head by making loud head shakes while running (and I was sweating profusely, mind you), but nothing like that. The LinkBuds S stayed in place like a champ.
That was the moment I became.
Reviewing my daily routines and work, there were only a handful of times where I was like “Oh, this sounds great” with the XM4, as opposed to the countless times I was like “My ears hurt” when I took it out. . leave at the end of the day.
For something that is for everyday use, comfort and mobility are king, and the LinkBuds S is the undisputed champion of this.
Not to mention, the charging case is also so small and light, to the point where you might even have a hard time finding it if you lose it.
LinkBuds S have similar features as other Sony earbuds.
The headphones are touch sensitive and can pause, skip or play your music with just a few configurable touch commands on the right ear cup. A long touch can activate Google Assistant, if you like that.
You can also choose between ambient mode and ANC mode by touching the left earbud, and a long touch will turn the music down and automatically send it to ambient mode if you need to hear and chat with people around you.
Bluetooth connectivity is excellent, although I did experience some dropouts in crowded areas. I’d put it down to interference more than anything else.
That said, the microphone is fine. While it can be used for calls and meetings, it’s nothing groundbreaking. It works as intended.
One minor thing that I miss about the XM series is the NFC pairing feature.
All I had to do to pair my XM4 with my phone was touch the case and it was paired. For LinkBuds S, you need to pair it manually by searching for it on your phone.
While it’s a bit inconvenient, once it’s done, it pairs forever, anyway.
You can also download the Sony “Headphones” app on your mobile phone to check the battery percentage of each earphone as well as the case.
If you use the app, you will also have access to a lot of features, such as equalizer and sound quality enhancement.
Speaking of the case, it holds a good 14-hour charge for the earbuds, allowing them to be fully recharged about two and a half times before they run out completely.
I didn’t expect the LinkBuds S to impress me so much. On paper, it doesn’t do anything special.
The XM4 does everything so much better, and like I said, you can find it for S$309 retail these days, just S$10 more than the LinkBuds S, which retails for S$299.
To be clear, the LinkBuds S’s ANC and sound quality aren’t bad.
They’re perfectly fine, just currently priced too close to Sony’s flagship wireless earbuds, which have better versions of these features.
But the comfort and weight of the LinkBuds S make it worth it.
LinkBuds S is a great companion for everyday use and is one of the most comfortable earbuds on the market right now.
I wouldn’t hesitate to swap my XM4 for the LinkBuds S for my day-to-day life, and personally I’m looking forward to getting my hands on a couple of them.
Dominic loves technology and games. When he’s not busy getting headshots in VALORANT or water-cooling everything he sees, he does some pro wrestling.