Sony Linkbuds (WF-L900) Review: Borderline Brilliant


The very antithesis of its noise cancelling WF-series, Sony’s new HyperlinkBuds are designed to sit down to your ears for extended sessions, undoubtedly encouraging ambient noise because of a bodily hollow within the heart similar to a hoop doughnut.

Sony dubs the idea that Always-On – the theory being you’ll discreetly pay attention to track or podcasts, whilst having the ability to cling conversations with the ones round you, or when running from house, nonetheless pay attention the postman or courier knock – our Reviews Editor, Chris Martin, also thinks they might be perfect for working from home.

The WF-L900 additionally open up intriguing alternatives to be used in AR gaming and sound navigation like Google Maps. Many noise cancelling headphones have already got an ambient sound mode (aka conscious or transparancy), which permits extraneous sound to get thru, however they generally tend to dissuade others from enticing in dialog.

Nothing says ‘Don’t trouble me’ greater than a couple of fancy over-ears. That’s why the design of the HyperlinkBuds is vital – they virtually move disregarded. In fact, they appear extra like Hearables than Head-Fi.

So does the idea that paintings, and simply how excellent are they with track?

Design & Build

The HyperlinkBuds are small. Very small. They occupy 51% much less quantity than WF-1000XM4 flagship earbuds and are just about part the burden. At simply 4.1g apiece, they’re tremendous mild and strangely simple to fail to remember as soon as in.

Their unique figure-eight form is dictated via an all-new 12mm open ring motive force unit, which appears somewhat like a downsized polo mint within the white colourway; this sits adjoining to a bulbous phase containing tech such because the DAC and amplifier.

Sony LinkBuds in ear

A unusual rubber hoop, the appropriate enhance, secures the LinkBud in position via popping inside of your ear. Five other enhance rings are incorporated within the package deal, so maximum ear sizes must be catered for. It takes some observe to get them in, however if you increase the knack your HyperlinkBuds will stay fortunately in position.

Fun truth: HyperlinkBuds are if truth be told created from recycled ABS, derived from automotive portions and blended with parts of stone. You should buy them in a white or gray end and on a sensible stage, they’re IPX4 water-proof, so splashes and sweat shouldn’t section them.

Features

Despite being slightly large enough to carry between two digits, there are many options onboard the HyperlinkBuds beginning with Bluetooth 5.1.

Speak to Chat, acquainted from earlier Sony headphones, mechanically pauses playback whilst you begin to communicate, then resumes whilst you’re no longer yakking; Adaptive Volume Control is used to mechanically set up quantity ranges, in response to the noise of your surroundings.

Another Sony favorite, DSEE (Digital Sound Enhancement Engine), is readily available to upscale streams and make amends for losses incurred over Bluetooth. Sony’s V1 processor, extensively utilized within the emblem’s XM4 headphones, does the entire heavy lifting to allow those options.

Sony LinkBuds

Take care with what number of options you allow within the accompanying Sony app despite the fact that, as they have an effect on battery existence.

The buds paintings with Google Assistant and Alexa, and enhance Google Fast Pair characteristic in addition to Windows 10 Swift Pair. Apple iOS customers too can use them with Microsoft Soundscape.

One of the extra peculiar facets of dwelling with HyperlinkBuds is Wide Area Tapping. Because there’s so little earbud floor house to paintings with, Sony has get a hold of a singular means of keep watch over: double or triple-tapping the distance in entrance of your ears together with your finger.

It’s in no way foolproof, however you’ll use the method to take a choice, pause or play track and skip tracks. I discovered aiming for the tragus gave the most productive outcome.

Note that there’s no lively noise cancelling right here and whilst that is smart a large number of sense for an open design, others – just like the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live and Huawei Freebuds 3 – have attempted it up to now.

Sound Quality

For buds so small, the HyperlinkBuds WF-L900 have huge 12mm drivers ready to make a large sound. Given their ordinary design, you could be expecting some stage of compromise, however auditioned in isolation, they’re superbly articulate with a capability to discern superb element and nuance.

The truth that you just’re conscious of a few room environment if truth be told makes them sound the entire extra naturalistic. They’re virtually like downsized open-back headphones.

Sony LinkBuds open right driver

I in particular like the truth that there’s no sharp edge, no sibilance, of their presentation. Whatever your ideas on Jethro Tull, there’s no doubting that The Zealot Gene is a masterful recording and those diddy earbuds move a protracted method to doing it justice.

They’re additionally at house with 360 Reality Audio mixes, which sound correctly indifferent, soundstage spacious.

There are caveats, despite the fact that. Bass intensity is restricted, and once you search deeper beats, they’re discovered short of.

I additionally discovered Bluetooth to be in particular flaky. My weekly constitutional used to be plagued with drop-outs, the place different Bluetooth headphones (together with Sony’s) in most cases carried out with out factor. What used to be Mark Kermode’s DVD of the week? No thought, as I misplaced the relationship at exactly the fallacious time.

Bluetooth connectivity wasn’t a subject when sitting at a table despite the fact that.

Battery Life

Battery existence is rated at 5 and a part hours, whilst the garage price case holds an extra 12 hours. For earbuds that lack any type of noise cancellation, this could be thought to be just a little quick however can in large part be put all the way down to their tiny dimension.

As discussed previous, switching on and the use of more than a few sensible options will scale back the runtime.

Sony LinkBuds charging case

You can in finding extra vital back-up energy reserves in other places, however the tiny nature of the case is an advantage in itself, slipping virtually disregarded into wallet and luggage.

Thanks to fast charging, 10-minutes interprets to round 90 mins playtime. Charging the case is finished by the use of USB-C as you could be expecting.

Price

The HyperlinkBuds WF-L900 are priced at £150/$180/€180, which places them up in opposition to Apple’s 3rd gen AirPods and inside shouting distance of the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live and Bose QC Earbuds.

So there’s sturdy festival on either side and Audio-Technica as of late introduced the £150 ATH-CKS50TW with an identical options, 50-hour battery existence and noise cancelling.

Check out our chart of the most productive true wi-fi earbuds

Sony LinkBuds

Verdict

Sony’s HyperlinkBuds are borderline good.

Extraordinarily compact, with an cutting edge ergonomic design, they’re strangely simple to put on for lengthy sessions. They additionally be offering admirable constancy, equipped you’re ready to sacrifice bass extension for the shape issue.

Usability is extra of a subject. A bent to drop Bluetooth connection proves irritating and they may be able to’t compete with noise cancellers relating to commuting. But they might neatly come into their very own with AR and navigation programs.

Still, it is laborious to believe livid face tapping changing into socially appropriate despite the fact that.

Specs

Sony HyperlinkBuds (WF-L900): Specs

  • Model quantity: WF-L900
  • Driver: Open ring 12mm
  • Battery existence: 5.5 hours, 17.5 hours in overall
  • Smart options: Wide Area Tap, Speak-to-chat, Wear detection, Fast Pair/Swift Pair, 360 Reality Audio
  • Port: USB-C
  • Weight 4.1g every earbud
  • Colours: Grey or White
  • Protection: IPX4
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