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Sony's New LinkBudsS Want to 'Link" Your Digital Life and Reality

Sony has officially announced its latest pair of earbuds—the LinkBuds S. These new buds look to be an interesting halfway point between the company’s initial version of the LinkBuds and its well-loved WF-1000XM4s for a variety of reasons. And they’re available for pre-order today.

The LinkBuds S look more like Sony’s other traditional buds—think the flagship WF-1000XM4s or the smaller WF-C500s—than the original donut-shaped LinkBuds, despite sharing a branding with them. They weigh 4.8 grams a pop and sport a slim design with silicone ear tips, but still manage to pack quite a punch, feature-wise.

You can enjoy up to 20 hours of battery total with the LinkBuds S, with 6 from the earbuds and 14 from the charging case. While there isn’t any support for wireless charging here (a big miss at this price point), there is a fast charging feature that’ll get you another hour’s worth of juice in just five minutes. The buds rock a decent IPX4 rating and support for Fast Pair, LDAC Bluetooth codec, and both Google and Alexa voice assistants.
Sony’s goal is to have the LinkBuds S “link” your reality and your digital life; as such, it gave the LinkBuds S a “Never Off” tagline. The company made the buds lightweight and comfortable, and packed them with features like Ambient Sound, ANC, Adaptive Sound Control, and Auto Play to more easily facilitate that goal.

They can detect your environment and adjust your audio settings on the fly. For example, if you’re listening to music while walking to your favorite coffee shop, the buds will automatically turn on ambient sound so you can place your order, then turn it back off after so you can keep enjoying your music without distractions (and without removing the buds).

The earbuds have an Auto Play feature that can trigger your favorite Spotify playlist to play automatically at select times, like when you first put them in, end a call, or head out for your daily walk. The feature uses a terrific algorithm that carefully detects your activity and adjusts the earbuds accordingly. Auto Play is currently limited to the Sony Headphones Connect app for Android, though it should arrive for iOS folks in June. It also only works with Spotify and soundscape app Endel at the moment; we would like to see Sony open this up to other streaming music services in the near future.

Sony notes that the LinkBuds S are “The world’s smallest and lightest, noise canceling, Hi-Res Truly wireless headphones,” which should make them pretty easy to wear all day every day. These earbuds also seem to show off some interesting progressions of technology we already know and love, and are working to make life a little easier for us. We can’t wait to get our hands on them and determine that for ourselves, though.

Want to treat yourself with these new buds? You can pre-order them today for $199.99 through Sony, Amazon, or Best Buy, and they officially become available on May 20. They’re available from all three in both black and white (with matching charging cases). If you pre-order through Best Buy, however, you’ll have access to an exclusive colorway—Desert Sand.