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Sony introduces LinkBuds S with ANC and LDAC

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Goh Beng Yeow
Goh Beng Yeow
Goh Beng Yeow, the Founder / Editor at Porta-Fi™, is a recipient of the IT Youth Award in Singapore. Twice nominated for EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, Beng Yeow has previously founded startups such as PDALive.com, Coded Pixels Consultants and was a Tech writer for TODAY, a national daily newspaper under MediaCorp. Since 2017, he has been writing, editing and producing commentaries, interviews, news and reviews on Porta-Fi™. In 2019, Beng Yeow was appointed Advisor to LHDC™, the industry's latest low latency and high-definition Bluetooth audio codec.

Sony announced their newest addition to the LinkBuds series, the LinkBuds S. Joining the open-back LinkBuds that pioneered the series earlier this year. The latest member sports active noise cancellation (ANC) and a more familiar closed design while adopting a design language similar to the WF-1000XM4 with a much smaller form factor. The company claims that the 4.8 grams LinkBuds S are “The world’s smallest and lightest, noise-cancelling, Hi-Res Truly wireless headphones”.

Internally, the LinkBuds S features a new 5 mm dynamic driver unit, which according to Sony, “pack a punch producing powerful bass and stunningly clear vocals despite their size”. In addition, Sony’s Integrated Processor V1, which debuted on the WF-1000XM4 and most recently implemented on the WH-1000XM5, is also found on the LinkBuds S to maintain sound quality, minimize distortion and bolster noise cancellation.

The LinkBuds S also supports the company’s LDAC Bluetooth codec and DSEE Extreme upscaling for an experience as close as possible to a dedicated wired connection. Also, these earbuds are ready for LE Audio, allowing for low-latency Bluetooth audio via a firmware update later this year. But, of course, for LE Audio to function on the LinkBuds S, the transmitting device, which most of the time would be one’s smartphone, will have to support LE Audio.

Auto Play is perhaps the most exciting feature available on the LinkBuds S. This feature automatically plays or resumes audio based on one’s activity when the earbuds are worn or complete a call. One can even have a specific playlist selected for the particular behaviour via the Sony Headphones Connect app with Spotify and Endel. Unfortunately, this feature is available only on Android; the company plans to make it available on iOS in early June.

While the LinkBuds S features ANC, the earbuds have enough noise-cancelling ability to reduce background noise, though the tech is not as robust as the WF-1000XM4. In addition, the earbuds support transparency mode, adaptive sound control, and the Speak-to-Chat feature via the Sony Headphones Connect app.

For calls, Sony shared the inclusion of Precise Voice Pickup technology, which optimally controls the microphones on both earbuds and uses a mesh structure around the microphones. The company claims that this allows one to enjoy crystal clear conversations, letting one catch up with colleagues and friends no matter where one is.

Battery life wise, one can expect up to six hours of use with ANC enabled, with another 14 hours from the charging case. Unfortunately, wireless charging is not available; however, it does offer the quick-charge feature where five minutes of changing will provide an hour of use.

Available in beige, black and white, the LinkBuds S can be pre-ordered now at selected markets at an MSRP of AUD 350, GBP 180 SGD 299, and USD 200.

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