Just when we thought earbuds had evolved to their most advanced state, a new design appears. Sony's wireless LinkBuds veer away from the ubiquitous 'buds' design aesthetic to feature an open ring design.
The advantage of such a design, according to Sony, is that it means the user doesn't need to switch them off all the time to hear what's going on in the outside world. They can continue listening to their music, while the open diaphragm in the main ring driver of the unit remains open so they can hear external sounds - like someone calling their name.
Considering this unusual design, the question naturally arises: won't it affect the quality of both listening experiences?... Sony assures us it won't.
Weighing just 4 grams, LinkBuds pack in a surprising amount of technology. To make conversations audible in noisy environments, they feature voice pickup technology delivered by an AI algorithm that suppresses ambient noise and extracts the user's voice. LinkBuds also integrate with Microsoft Soundscape, incorporating compass/gyro sensors that can detect the direction of your head and allow you to hear sound from specific directions.
Clarity and detail in the music or sound you're hearing is enhanced by LinkBud's Digital Sound Enhancement Engine (DSEE), says Sony. The 12mm ring driver is powered by Sony's Integrated Processor V1 that is tuned to pick up detail in the sound being played, while also minimising distortion.
The controls also support LinkBuds' versatile functionality, we're told. LinkBuds will feature touchless control via Wide Area Tap that allows you to tap in the air in front of your ears, either twice or three times, to adjust playback, while a Speak to Chat feature automatically pauses your music as soon as you speak, resuming it automatically once your conversation is over.
LinkBuds will also integrate with the music app Spotify. Users will be able to resume Spotify playback with Spotify Tap so that they don't need to touch their smartphones.
Battery-wise the product information promises up to 5.5 hours playback on a single charge, with an additional 12 hours to be gained when they're paired with their case. They'll be available in Australia from April 2022 with an RRP at launch of AU$299.95.