Sony announces LinkBuds, an ‘open ring’ headset to wear while working all day

Headphones or over-ear headphones with silicone tips and Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) can cut out background noise, while Transparency Mode lets it through or even amplifies it so you can hear conversations and traffic.

Other headphone designs – like Apple’s basic AirPods and Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Live – are “open” and designed to let in environmental noise.

Sony says you can expect a full working day of charging the LinkBuds, but says it’s actually 5.5 hours of use, with an additional 12 hours of charging in the case.

A 10-minute charge should provide enough battery life for 90 minutes of playtime, the company said.

The headphones weigh just 4g and space has been saved by integrating the protective surface covering the speaker diaphragm into the case, the company said.

“The overall shape was designed using extensive ear shape data gathered since Sony launched the world’s first in-ear headphones in 1982.”

Tech website The Verge reports that the unique styling of Sony’s new LinkBuds is “very comfortable” and voice call performance is “fantastic”, but doesn’t like the battery life as much and says that headphones are particularly impractical in noisy environments.

This vocal performance uses advanced signal processing to ensure it is as clear as possible. Sony said its noise reduction algorithm was developed using AI machine learning, using more than 500 million voice samples to remove ambient noise and extract your voice clearly.

The LinkBuds and their charging case are made from recycled plastic materials and plastic-free packaging, the company said.

They also offer IPX4 water resistance, so they should be able to be used in bad weather in New Zealand and at the gym.

Sony says the LinkBuds launch price in Aotearoa will be around $330. That’s the same price Apple currently charges for its third-generation AirPods.

Well-reviewed ANC headphones range in price, from $380 for Sony’s WF-1000XM4 to under $250 for the Technics AZ60.

About Donnie R. Losey

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