Sony presents ring-shaped LinkBuds earplugs

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Sony markets the LinkBuds, a set of ring-shaped earplugs that leave the ear canal completely free. The caps are designed in such a way that you can continue to hear all the ambient noise and therefore have no noise reduction.

Sony thinks that the LinkBuds WF-L900 are especially suitable for use in the office and in traffic: situations in which you want to listen to music, but also want to continue to hear the environment. It has therefore equipped the LinkBuds with an annular driver that has been specially designed for the LinkBuds. Sony wants to approach the sound quality of the WF-1000 series with the ring-shaped drivers, but emphasizes that the LinkBuds are more intended for the business market. It therefore particularly prides itself on the quality of the microphones that are incorporated in the earplugs.

The LinkBuds are not placed in the ear canal like traditional earplugs. The ring-shaped part falls into the outer ear, whereby the hole in the ring ensures that the ear canal remains completely free. To adapt the LinkBuds to the size of the ear, Sony provides rubber rings that hook into the upper part of the outer ear.

The LinkBuds contain the same V1 processor as the WF-1000XM4. This ensures that the LinkBuds can analyze voices based on an AI-driven algorithm, which in turn should lead to better intelligibility. The processor also allows the LinkBuds to use DSEE, Sony’s proprietary algorithm with which it attempts to improve the sound quality of lossy music files such as MP3s. In addition, the LinkBuds can handle 360 ​​Reality Audio, just like most earplugs and headphones in the 1000 series. As with the earplugs from the 1000 series, the LinkBuds can be controlled with an app from Sony, which includes an equalizer.

The LinkBuds have no buttons and no touch controls. Instead, you control them by tapping your temple. The LinkBuds contain a sensor that registers such taps on your sleep. Double or triple tap will give you several options. You increase or decrease the volume of the music or take a phone call with it. The functions can be set at will in the app.

The LinkBuds have the same adaptive noise control as the WF-1000XM4, which means that the volume of the music is automatically adjusted to the sound in the environment. They also have ‘wear detection’, which means that the music pauses when you remove an earplug from your ear. The earplugs also have a speak-to-chat function, so that the music automatically stops when you start talking. In addition, the LinkBuds can handle assistants from Google and Amazon, and Google’s Fast Pair and Microsoft’s Swift Pair. The LinkBuds also have an IPX 4 rating.

Sony supplies the LinkBuds in a charging case. The batteries of the earplugs themselves last 5.5 hours, but can be charged with the battery from the box, with which the LinkBuds last a total of 17.5 hours. If the batteries of the earplugs are completely empty, ten minutes of charging is enough to be able to listen for another 1.5 hours. Both the LinkBuds and the case are smaller and lighter than the WF-1000XM4. The LinkBuds housing is made from recycled ABS and the earbuds come in an all-paper packaging.

The LinkBuds will be released later this month and will be available in white and dark gray. They cost 180 euros.

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