Sony officially reveals new LinkBuds S noise-canceling earbuds with adaptive listening


Today, Sony is expanding its new LinkBuds series with a new pair of true wireless earbuds. Delivering what Sony contends are the world’s smallest and lightest hi-rise earbuds with noise cancellation, the new LinkBuds S arrive with a refreshed design that still enables a unique ambient listening experience.

Sony debuts new LinkBuds S

True to the mission of the original Sony LinkBuds that we reviewed earlier in the year, the new LinkBuds S take on much of the same adaptive listening focus for passing through ambient audio. This time around there isn’t quite as radical of a design, with the new addition to the lineup trading in the unique ring-shaped drivers for what Sony calls Auto Play.

This unique feature is front and center on the LinkBuds S spec sheet and allows Sony’s new earbuds to listen to the wearer’s environment in order pass through audio from your surroundings. Auto Play takes that a step further by taking context into account in order to automatically play music as soon as soon as you put the earbuds in and more. Here’s what Sony has to say about the experience specifically:

Auto Play automatically delivers music and audio notifications right when a listener needs them. Headphone sensors work with a unique algorithm that analyzes activity. For instance, when the listener was wearing headphones earlier, or is on the move after finishing a call, the headphones will resume music from Spotify or soundscapes from Endel based on pre-sets configured by the user Additionally, audio notifications can be read aloud without pausing music.

One of the ways that Sony is showcasing the tech built into its LinkBuds S is by partnering with Ingress creator Niantic in order to supplement the augmented reality experience. The most impressive aspect of the collaboration has to be leveraging the built-in sensors and spatial audio support to play alerts and sound effects based on which direction you’re facing.

Otherwise, the new Sony LinkBuds S take on many of the features you’d expect from a typical pair of truly wireless earbuds these days. Everything in the unique design is centered around a new 5mm driver, which Sony specifically notes can produce impactful bass and clear vocals. The built-in noise cancellation is powered by the brand’s Processor V1, which complements the ambient audio experience with distraction-free listening.

And as we noted before, Sony is very much leaning into high-resolution audio angle for its new earbuds. The LinkBuds S are adopting LDAC audio encoding and DSEE Extreme upscaling to help highlight all of the notes in your music. Even with all of the aforementioned features, battery life isn’t all too effected. You’ll find six hours with ANC enabled, and the charging case delivers another 14. In a pinch, five minutes of charging can also score you 60 minutes of listening, too.

Pre-order now in three colorways

Going up for pre-order today, the new Sony LinkBuds S will retail for $199.99. They’ll begin shipping later this week on May 20 from retailers like Amazon and Sony itself in three colors, though the golden finish will be exclusive to Best Buy.

9to5Toys’ Take

Having walked away impressed by the first LinkBuds, I am very excited to see what Sony brings to the table for its new LinkBuds S. The originals were certainly a bit more niche in what users would daily drive them, but all of those concerns look to be gone as Sony blends the best of traditional listening with its unique new ambient audio passthrough technology. That may be reflected in the slightly increased price tag, but the newfound additions certainly seem to make up for that.

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