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Sony sent us a pair of the updated earbuds to try out ahead of the release — and we got a sense of what they’re like over two weeks of calls, runs and commutes. Here's what to know about the $200 earbuds if you're considering an upgrade.
Notably, the Sony LinkBuds S sound great and pair easily to my iPhone. They’re small, light and fit naturally into my ears — plus, you’ll get three silicone earbud tips to find the right fit for you. Compared to the original LinkBuds’ open-ear style, the LinkBuds S offer a more traditional design that slot into the ear and equip noise cancelation, too.
Let me back up and start with a confession: I’m a regular Apple AirPods Pro user — and a big fan — so I tried the new LinkBuds as an iPhone user, with the AirPods Pro in mind. The LinkBuds, priced at $200, are a more affordable package than the $250 AirPods Pro. And as easy as Apple’s earbuds have been to connect, I didn’t experience any issues pairing the Sony LinkBuds to my iPhone. On top of that, there were never any ugly disconnections in the two weeks I used them — a recurring issue with true wireless earbuds in general.
I used the LinkBuds S for coherent phone calls and thanks to their autoplay feature, they immediately reconnected me to my Spotify playlist once I hung up. They also have a noise cancelation mode to shut out the sounds around you. You can quickly pause your music by tapping on the right earbud, while the left earbud switches between the noise canceling and ambient modes.
In my two weeks with them, they never died on me and mostly lasted through the day. The LinkBuds S charge via the USB-C port on the back of their case. Sony says they should last for six hours out of their case, with another 14 hours of charge in their case. (By comparison, the original LinkBuds were rated to get five and a half hours of listening, plus 12.5 more hours with their case.) If you need a quick boost, a five-minute charge in their case will give the earbuds another 60 minutes of play, Sony says.
The LinkBuds S come in white and black colors — Best Buy will exclusively offer a third, gold color option called Ecru. (That said, when they’re slotted into your ears, you can barely see them or their color.)
If you’re interested in other true wireless headphones similar to the LinkBuds S and the Apple AirPods, we recommend six pairs for everyday use. If you’re more interested in on or over ear headphones, check out our noise canceling and over ear headphones recommendations.