Technology

Sony’s LinkBuds S are $200 noise-canceling earbuds with Auto Play

Billy Steele

It hasn’t been a great spring for Sony in terms of new product leaks. The company’s new flagship headphones, the WH-1000XM5, broke cover early, as did its latest earbuds. Today, the company officially announced the LinkBuds S: a set of $200 true wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation (ANC) and a host of handy features. Sony says they’re designed for a “never off wearing experience,” with transparency mode allowing you to tune into your surroundings as needed. 

Joining the open wear LinkBuds that debuted earlier this year, the LinkBuds S have a more “traditional” closed design. The shape is similar to Sony’s other recent earbuds, the flagship WF-1000XM4 and the $100 WF-C500. The LinkBuds S are much smaller though, making them more comfortable to wear for longer periods of time, which also serves Sony’s mission of all-day use. In fact, the company claims the LinkBuds S are “the world’s smallest and lightest, noise-canceling, hi-res” true wireless earbuds. And the IPX4 rating means they can withstand workouts too. 

Inside, 5mm drivers deliver “powerful bass and stunningly clear vocals,” according to Sony. The company’s Integrated Processor V1, which is also on the WH-1000XM5 headphones, works to maintain sound quality, minimize distortion and bolster noise cancellation. The LinkBuds S also support high-resolution listening via Sony’s LDAC codec and DSEE Extreme upscaling. The latter technology recovers finer details that are typically lost to compression of digital audio content. A low-latency mode is on the way for gaming and Sony is working with Niantic to bring spatial audio and head tracking to the AR mobile game Ingress.

Another key difference from the first set of LinkBuds is the addition of ANC. On the LinkBuds S, there’s enough noise-blocking ability to reduce background clamor, but Sony is clear the tech isn’t as robust as the WF-1000XM4. While this new model doesn’t let the outside world in by design, it’s equipped with transparency mode to get…

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