Sony's new LinkBuds wireless earbuds aren't meant to be taken off

Sony LinkBuds Grey
Sony LinkBuds Grey (Image credit: Sony)

What you need to know

  • Sony launches its new LinkBuds wireless earbuds with a unique circular design.
  • The open ring is designed to let outside noise in for a "never off" listening experience.
  • The new LinkBuds retail for $180 and are available in grey or white colorways.

Sony is announcing new wireless earbuds, but you won't find active noise cancellation here like you would on the best wireless earbuds. Instead, the company is going all-in on the "work from anywhere" lifestyle with the launch of the Sony Linkbuds.

The first thing you'll notice with the new LinkBuds is the strange circular shape with an obvious hole in the middle. Since that's where the audio is supposed to come out, you wouldn't normally expect there to be a hole on your earbuds, much less where your ear canal is. But Sony says that's the point.

The new LinkBuds are supposed to link your online and offline worlds with little effort. That means you can listen to your music or play AR and mobile games while still being aware of the outside world, without having to fiddle around with passthrough technology to get a conversation started or to ensure you didn't miss an important transit announcement.

Source: Sony (Image credit: Source: Sony)

The Sony LinkBuds' 12mm ring driver allows for audio transparency for the outside world while still providing high-quality audio for your music and calls, thanks to the V1 chip. That's the same chip found in Sony's excellent WF-1000XM4 earbuds and supports features like 360 Reality Audio, Adaptive Volume Control to adjust volume levels based on your environment, and Speak-to-Chat to automatically pause music when you begin speaking so you can carry out a conversation uninterrupted. But as mentioned before, you won't find ANC here since that would defeat the purpose of always being aware of your surroundings.

The earbuds also support a unique Wide Area Tap which lets you tap the front of your ear to control the LinkBuds — you don't actually need to touch the buds themselves.

Fast Pair and Swift Pair are here for quick and easy connections with Android phones and Windows computers. There's also Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa support, along with Spotify Tap. The earbuds are IPX4 water-resistant, so they can handle splashes and a workout.

Sony Linkbuds Lifestyle Grey

Source: Sony (Image credit: Source: Sony)

As for battery life, you're looking at 5.5 hours per charge, with a total of 17.5 hours with the charging case.

The new Sony LinkBuds are available in white and grey colorways and retail for $180. You can preorder them today from Sony and retailers such as Amazon and Best Buy.

Derrek Lee
Managing Editor

Derrek is the managing editor of Android Central, helping to guide the site's editorial content and direction to reach and resonate with readers, old and new, who are just as passionate about tech as we are. He's been obsessed with mobile technology since he was 12, when he discovered the Nokia N90, and his love of flip phones and new form factors continues to this day. As a fitness enthusiast, he has always been curious about the intersection of tech and fitness. When he's not working, he's probably working out.