Sony’s LinkBuds S: A complete sound package that enriches your music experience

You can wear these light and comfortable buds for a long time, making your flights, Metro rides and exercise sessions quiet, distraction-free and focused.

By Anirban Bagchi

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Published: Fri 13 Jan 2023, 12:32 AM

Last updated: Fri 13 Jan 2023, 12:34 AM

These last couple of weeks have been very quiet at home. Almost too quiet. A noisy construction project next door – not an unusual part of Dubai life – had been droning and buzzing and banging on for so long that it had become just another distraction, which you simply relegate to the level of background noise. Then suddenly the noise wasn’t there – and it wasn’t there so loudly that it became conspicuous by its absence.

No, the construction project did not stop; instead my tryst with the Sony LinkBuds S began. While the hammers and drills were still banging and boring away, and the cranes clanging away, I was able to block them all out of my consciousness with the Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) feature of the LinkBuds S.

The moment I stuck them in my ear, a sepulchral silence descended on my world. Ignore the dust and debris outside and the noisy construction project might not even be there.

Smart looks

But before we scrutinise the performance of these earbuds, let’s look at the looks itself. The Sony LinkBuds S comes in four colours. Out test mule was the black one, made using recycled plastic from automobile parts. The presentation of the device is impeccable – the buds come in a charging case whose high build quality is instantly apparent. The buds slide into perfectly-fitting cavities in the case, whose lid shuts with a click that is reassuring enough to hint that it will last until buds become obsolete.

The front of the charging case has a status indicator light along the centre edge of the opening and on the back you find the USB-C port and Bluetooth pairing button. The one gripe here is the lack of wireless charging capability, so you will need to carry along the USB-C cable.

Speaking of charging, full charge is achieved in around two hours but a 5-minute quick-charge gives you up to an hour of play. Sony says the LinkBuds S gives six hours of playtime on a full charge, with the charging case providing another 14 hours. Each bud can be used individually, so you can further extend the usable time by using them one by one.

Music experience

But the proof of this pudding is in the hearing – and depending on your taste in music, the LinkBuds S either thrills or tanks. If you like bass-rich pop, rock, metal or Bollywood, the Sony excels, painting a grand and full soundstage. Subtler genres, such as classical and jazz, suffer from a slight lack of resolution and precision, but this is nothing that its competitors also do not suffer from.

With the shift in popular musical tastes, audiophiles such as yours truly, who are finicky about their sound, are in a distinct hard-to-please aural minority. If you are a normal, contemporary music consumer, you will love what you hear with the Sony LinkBuds S.

In case you feel the need to tweak the sound further, download Sony’s Headphone Connect app and pair it with the buds. Among the app’s many features, Adaptive Sound Control detects your actions and locations, and intuitively tweaks the settings to allow some ambient sounds in.

There are also equalizer controls with various default options for the sound, such as bright, mellow, vocal, treble boost, speech and even a manual mode for you to set up your custom preferences. With the way the buds sound as default, it took me a bit of fiddling with this mode before I was finally satisfied with the sound.

Final verdict

In the final analysis, what the LinkBuds S excels at is providing an easy-to-wear sound package that enriches your music experience. And, of course, noise cancellation. You can wear these light and comfortable buds for a long time, making your flights, Metro rides and exercise sessions quiet, distraction-free and focused.

At home, this has caused a minor issue. Apart from blotting out the construction noises, the significant other no longer has an ear that is receptive – willy-nilly – to her daily nags. But that’s hardly an issue — rather, it’s a perk of the Sony LinkBuds S that I am quite pleased with!

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