Ever thought about an optimum headphone experience where you never have to touch or adjust them? That might be a slight exaggeration, but Sony’s hoping you’ll be open to a similar idea when it comes to the new LinkBuds S earbuds, which introduce a feature that’ll integrate them into your day in a way the tech giant describes as a “never off wearing experience.”
Now, if a less accomplished brand were to float such an idea, we might be inclined to scoff, but thanks to its WH series noise-cancelling headphones, Sony’s been delivering the goods in the personal audio department for quite some time. With that in mind, we’re willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. For now.
Claiming the new buds are “the world’s smallest and lightest, noise-cancelling, hi-res truly wireless headphones,” Sony certainly isn’t talking them down. The buds weigh a mere 4.8 grams and have been given an ergonomic design fitted to the human ear in order to maximise comfort – a sensible idea if you’re expecting people to almost forget they’re there.
The earbuds’ biggest claim to fame is that they’ll automatically switch between noise cancelling and ambient sound modes, without you having to touch your headphones or access your phone. They do this through an integrated feature called Adaptive Sound Control, which Sony claims can adjust ambient sound settings depending on your location.
For example, you can step into your local coffee shop, place your order in ambient sound mode and then sit down and immerse yourself in your favourite entertainment with noise-cancelling reactivated – the earbuds will know when to change from one mode to the other. Just how effective this will prove to be in the real world remains to be seen, but it’s an enticing proposition.
Also on offer is a new AR experience called Ingress that Sony’s collaborating on with the US software developer Niantic. Details are thin on the ground at this stage, but the game is apparently designed to be enjoyed audibly as well as visually.
Sadly, one clear hurdle for complete integration is battery life and while Sony’s claim of up to six hours worth of noise cancelling performance in such a small form factor isn’t anything to sneeze at, it will mean you have to take the LinkBuds S out of your ears at some point. On the plus side, the accompanying case carries a further 14 hours of charge and a five-minute quick charge gives you up to 60 minutes of playtime.
Coming in white, black and ecru, the Linkbuds S earbuds have an RRP of AUD$349.95, but for some reason you can currently pre-order them for AUD$269 from the Sony Australia website with stock due to arrive June 14. Alternatively, if you want something a little more heavy-duty, check out the 18 Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones and Earbuds.