Sony LinkBuds Review – Headphones where you can hear your surroundings

  • Sony LinkBuds headphones let you hear your surroundings while listening to music
  • However, unlike the more famous AfterShokz, they play classically, not through the bone
  • True Wireless design and touch controls make it easy to use in sports
  • The biggest weakness of the system is its own use

Sony LinkBuds Wireless In-Ear Headphones photo: own

Article chapters:

»1. Introduction, description of headphones, settings, sound characteristics
» 2. Home listening, outdoor listening, sports use, evaluation


Do you play sports? Do you train? And do you always enjoy it? Do you ever want to add juice to it? Discussions about whether music supports performance or reduces concentration in other activities may have lasted since the first Walkmen. In the opponents’ camp, the argument is most often made that the listener does not perceive his surroundings by hearing and is therefore exposed to danger. But what if there were headphones in which you could hear as well as if you didn’t have any headphones in your ears? This is exactly what the tested Sony LinkBuds wireless headphones should be able to do, and in this review we will discuss how they are doing.

“Is that a stone?” I immediately thought I had a… “

I cannot paraphrase the chapter on design other than in the words of the king from the fairy tale Long, Wide and Myopic. It perfectly describes what Sony LinkBuds looks like.

Instead of more widespread plugs, they rely on the shape of classic seeds, ie a round target to which a ball containing sensors and electronics in general is attached. A small silicone loop protrudes from it at the opposite end, which stabilizes the headphones in the ear. Therefore, the shape of the vault and the headphones themselves correspond to the not entirely intuitive way of using them. Medical terminology with the stone you have to hit between tragus and antitragus. The ball then fills the space of the concha auriculae and the loop adapts to the shape of the antihelix on which it rests. In short, you have to twist LinkBuds in your ear like a corkscrew, but due to the plastics used without any softening, this is not a completely comfortable affair.

Sony LinkBuds Review

Sony LinkBuds | photo: own

In the ear itself, however, the pips hold relatively comfortably, I would not be afraid of them falling out during the run, even if you shake your head, and the durability according to IPx4 also harmonizes with sports use. However, there are situations where you can lose your headphones – for example, if you take off your full-face helmet or a tight-fitting hood.

But I keep the main thing in the description: in the furnace there is a hole with a diameter of about two millimeters. This is how acoustic sensations from the surroundings get into your ear, so that you do not run over a car that you do not notice with peripheral vision. The main idea of ​​Sony LinkBuds is therefore ingeniously simple – the circuit plays the stone, you can hear the surroundings in the middle. But in practice it’s not that simple…

Sony LinkBuds Review Sony LinkBuds Review

Sony LinkBuds are smarter than regular headphones

As a typical man, I find reading manuals useless. In addition, Sony LinkBuds doesn’t have my first wireless headphones, so what could be the problem? I’ll just take them out of the sleek and happily lockable box powered by (hooray!) USB-C, pair with my phone and listen. How naive I was!

Bluetooth does not see the headset in your phone until you install it Sony application Headphones Connect, in which you start to reveal the lines that the manufacturer will try to enchant you with. However, when you launch the app, you will quickly notice because it asks you a lot of things that you do not normally solve.

Sony LinkBuds Review

Sony LinkBuds | photo: own

For example, LinkBuds will look at photos of your ears to properly match the sound. In the case of seeds, it may not have much effect, but it’s definitely impressive. Less impressive is that you can only use the effect of this feature in Tidal, Nugs.net, Artist Connection and 360 by Deezer. If you’re going to Spotify or even your own offline collection, you’re out of luck. Even so, Sony LinkBuds has a lot to offer.

Sony Linkbuds reviews

You may or may not hear the equalizer setting or sound enhancement of the Digital Sound Enhancement Engine, but you should know that the headphones have a microphone and are not afraid to use it. Not only for telephoning, but also for control. True, the announced Google Assistant did not start, but you will appreciate the fact that the headphones can listen in other scenarios as well.

The first is detecting your voice, which interrupts music playback. LinkBuds will learn the tone you speak and as soon as you start speaking (and unfortunately also singing), the music will shut up. And a few seconds after you shut up, he’ll resume. Ideal for situations where you need to answer someone and you don’t like to keep playing and pausing all the time. It’s a pity that the headphones can’t learn the voice of the other discussant, so if the answer doesn’t fit in the gap before playing the music again, you won’t hear it in its entirety.

Sony LinkBuds Review

Sony LinkBuds are very compact and don’t climb too hard photo: own

The second handy use is the detection of ambient noise, which continuously adjusts the volume. I would like to emphasize the word fluently, it happens so smoothly and I never felt like I had a kick in the ear, whether the children in the room were screaming, playing the radio, or driving around.

Of course, you can also control the headphones manually by tapping. And hold on, you can also knock on your sleep, when there is no physical contact with the headphones at all! And what’s even better, the knock headphones register through the helmet! Why is it so important? Because this eliminates the need to look for buttons on the phone, headphone cord, or even the watch display.

Unfortunately, this fun effect is reflected in battery consumption. Half an hour of listening in public transport was enough, and a third of the energy disappeared from the headphones, which would otherwise have been enough for about four times as much. You then charge the headphones approximately twice from the case.

Sony LinkBuds Review

Sony LinkBuds | photo: own

Set up your headphones and collect achievements!

Headphones is not just about adjusting the sound capabilities of LinkBuds headphones. It also allows programming of events. You can assign functions by double and triple tapping the left and right ears separately. However, you do not select actions for each double-tap, but you rotate profiles. The mistake is that you can only assign some control profiles to the individual headphones, which are always combined for double and triple tapping. There are options like volume + and -, previous and next track, play / next, but if, for example, you want to have movement in the playlist on one ear and volume adjustment on the other, you will lose the pause.

I was even more embarrassed by some attempt to gamify listening. In the graph you can see the statistics of your listening by days, weeks and years. You can even create a list of places to listen to. For what? In order to collect achievements, you listened to an hour at the gym, two hours at work and maybe ten hours at school. The other achievements are a bit weird too – or would you like to get a badge for using the headphones on the seventh day in a row and adjusting the equalizer five times?

Article chapters:

»1. Introduction, description of headphones, settings, sound characteristics
» 2. Home listening, outdoor listening, sports use, evaluation


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