You won't find a more unusual pair of wireless earbuds than the LinearFlux HyperSonic 360, where the buds themselves are only part of a much larger product offering. You get a lot, but not everything under the sun, so these do come with a few compromises along the way.
- Good sound quality
- Comfortable fit
- Ridiculous overall battery life
- Doubles as wireless charger
- You can mount it
- Decent water resistance
- No ANC or ambient mode
- No app support
- Call quality isn't the best
- MagSafe does nothing for Android users
I have to admit; I'm kind of surprised a concept like this didn't come sooner. There is real utility in putting together a pair of wireless earbuds with a portable wireless charger, especially if you can look past the obvious footprint that comes with such a combination.
Despite the implication of the word "linear" in LinearFlux's name, the HyperSonic 360 are anything but. This is as close as I've seen to applying the idea of a Swiss Army knife to earbuds, where versatility has less to do with audio than it does with what the case is capable of.
LinearFlux HyperSonic 360: Price and availability
LinearFlux initially unveiled the HyperSonic 360 as a Kickstarter project that ended its campaign in December 2021. You can find it in retail online now, though there may be some confusion stating that they first launched in 2019, which is not the case. It often sells for $140, though you may find it cheaper over time. It is available in three variants: soft touch, titanium, and 24K.
LinearFlux HyperSonic 360: What's good
It would be too easy to dismiss this product as little more than a gimmick. Or, at the very least, an attempt to try pushing two distinct product types together without proper planning. I wasn't sure what to expect going in, though I recognized the utility involved, meaning that I could make good use of earbuds that had a huge battery tied to them.
And by huge, I'm referring to the size of the battery itself, which is a whopping 8,000mAh. That's just unheard of for any pair of wireless earbuds, and why LinearFlux claims that you can get 360 hours of playback.
It's also why LinearFlux refers to the HyperSonic 360 as a "10-in-1 ultimate headphone solution." This is exaggerated marketing because it gives the impression that the product does 10 different things, but the truth is that it can perform in 10 different use cases.
For example, I mentioned the 360 hours of playback. Simultaneous charging is one such use case, where you can charge a phone and the earbuds at the same time. Its 15W USB-A output is another on that list, as is the 20W HyperBoost PD USB-C port.
It supports magnetic mount technology — and for iPhone users — MagSafe, which means you can dock it at home or in the car using the included accessories in the box to attach to the back of your phone. Just like that, I've covered eight of the 10 on the list.
The audio features include 3D "hyper definition sound," and you can use either earbud separately in mono mode. Interestingly, LinearFlux chose to engineer the sound to give it a spatial effect right off the bat. As there is no dedicated app, you can't select or adjust the sound profile, so what you hear is what you get.
They sound good, striking a very respectable balance, where you will hear the bass come through without overpowering the mids or highs. The mids are probably the weakest link here, which is often the case for earbuds, but I didn't come away listening to these with an impression that I was missing out on a lot whenever I put them on and pressed play.
It's the kind of balance that makes listening to any genre perfectly acceptable, subjective as it may seem. LinearFlux clearly tried to play it safe in light of going with a spatial audio effect, which you can also appreciate while watching a show or movie.
The earbuds also pair independently, so it's super easy to only use one when you want to. They don't have active noise cancelation (ANC) or an ambient mode, so you can't block out all background noise or allow some of it in. Hence, mono mode becomes all the more important in lieu of an ambient mode.
They're also reasonably rugged, so working out with them shouldn't cause problems. You do have to be careful because they're not made to work in salt or chlorinated water, so steer clear of wearing them at the beach or pool if you plan to take a dip.
The touch controls are a mixed bag, but it's mostly just learning where to touch them, as the entire outer surface doesn't register touches. A single tap plays/pauses or answers a call. What's cool is that LinearFlux found a way to include volume controls by separating them. Triple-tap the left to go down or the right to go up. Same with double-tapping to repeat a track on the left and on the right to skip one. The rest are the same on either side.
I also came away impressed at how the charging features worked. There really is something convenient about having a portable wireless charger to begin with, but when you throw in a pair of earbuds to go with it, it's hard to argue with the combination. On a recent trip, I had them with me, and immediately felt like I had nothing to worry about.
It can hypercharge a phone from zero to 50% in as little as 25 minutes, albeit through MagSafe, which is useless to Android users. I got no such speed on several Android phones I placed on it, where output was really not all that different from other similar products out there. It was the convenience more than the throughput that made the bigger impact.
In fact, it's hard for me to even tell you how long the earbuds last per charge because I was always fully charged when I would put them back on. I would estimate that I got about six hours before hearing the low battery warning, but that also depends on volume level.
LinearFlux HyperSonic 360: What's not good
One of the reasons why I came away thinking the earbuds sometimes felt like the supporting product was because of how certain features weren't included. The lack of a dedicated app is disappointing because it really would've added an extra layer of functionality to truly make the HyperSonic 360 feel like a 360-degree device.
ANC and ambient modes are common on earbuds today, especially those coming in above $100. When a feature becomes ubiquitous, its absence is all the more apparent, and it kind of felt that way in certain situations. I would have to pause audio or remove one earbud to talk to someone. I could wear them on a plane yet have no way to block out the droning sound of the engines.
That's why, as much as LinearFlux markets the earbuds as ideal for working out and running, not hearing your surroundings is potentially dangerous. An IPX6 rating isn't bad at all, so there is some durability here, it's just that you have to be aware of where you are at any given time in case you don't hear what's coming.
LinearFlux also touts the call quality but I would argue that it's overstating things. It's okay but not as good as comparable earbuds, and part of the reason is that the microphones aren't as active as they would be with a pair supporting ANC. Not that it's a requirement to have good call quality, but it still helps.
Then there's the size of the HyperSonic 360 itself. The battery pack is the case, so if you're taking these buds anywhere, you're taking it all, and that makes these among the most cumbersome to carry. Pros and cons apply to that, of course, given the purpose the size holds, but it is something that will inevitably come up as you use these over time.
LinearFlux HyperSonic 360: Competition
Is there anything that competes with the HyperSonic 360? Perhaps not from a holistic standpoint, but certainly from a sonic one. The Jabra Elite 4 Active are priced in the same ballpark, offer a better fit, better durability, and great app support. The Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro are in a similar boat, even if they use a stem design and aren't especially rugged.
The best wireless earbuds include a number of excellent choices, some of which are priced similarly. The Jaybird Vista 2 are a good example, with their high level of durability and one of the deepest app integrations currently available.
LinearFlux HyperSonic 360: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if...
- You want plenty of battery life
- You like having a portable wireless charger
- You want respectable sound
- You want a comfortable fit
You shouldn't buy this if...
- You want active noise cancelation
- You want an ambient mode
- You want app support
- You want something more portable
Despite the tight competition in the same price range, the HyperSonic 360 come across as a pretty good bargain for what you get. There's a novelty to this combination of features and functions that gets easier to appreciate when you have it handy. I can almost see these as supporting earbuds, meaning you have another pair you like to listen to, but keep these around for certain situations.
The ridiculous battery life, notwithstanding, the HyperSonic 360 are as much about where you can take them and place them. When you want something utilitarian with earbuds in tow, you would be hard-pressed to find something else like it right now.
Ted Kritsonis loves taking photos when the opportunity arises, be it on a camera or smartphone. Beyond sports and world history, you can find him tinkering with gadgets or enjoying a cigar. Often times, that will be with a pair of headphones or earbuds playing tunes. When he's not testing something, he's working on the next episode of his podcast, Tednologic.
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