Could Sony's imminent Linkbuds S be the best wireless earbuds of 2022? They certainly look like potential AirPods beaters to me, and they could well earn the title of best noise cancelling earbuds for many people, too.
And especially if those people prize a small size and light weight. That's because, according to tech news site WinFuture (opens in new tab) (via The Verge (opens in new tab)), the new earbuds are just 4.8 grams each. That's over half a gram lighter than the AirPods Pro, a third of a gram less than the Beats Studio Buds and more than a gram lighter than the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live.
Grams and bits of grams may not sound like much, but they make a real difference if you're going to be wearing your earbuds for long periods – which is exactly what I do on many days. And the relatively small size of the Sonys means they'll fit more people's ears unlike my current favourites, the Astell&Kern UW100s, which are much bigger and heavier.
I think Sony's aim here is to make earbuds that you'll wear for most of your day.
Sony Linkbuds S: rumoured new features
The light weight and small size are largely down to newly designed drivers, which are much smaller than the ones you'll find in standard LinkBuds: those ones are 12mm, but the ones in the Linkbuds S are reportedly just 5mm. The report says that in addition to active noise cancellation these buds will also have support for hi-res audio, which I'm assuming is via Sony's own LDAC codec.
According to WinFuture, these earbuds won't just have Sony's speak-to-chat mode, which automatically pauses your music or podcasts when you start talking. They may also have adaptive sound control, which will adjust its ambient sound mode and noise cancellation depending on where you are. Battery life is a reported six hours solo and 20 with the charging case. The site also reports that the new buds will go on sale "shortly" for a price of €199, which is about $210/£180.
Overall, I've got to say that I'm impressed with what I've heard so far about the Sony Linkbuds S. Here's hoping that the leaked information here about them rings true when the wireless earbuds are unveiled officially and that they live up to the hype.
Sony does seem to be on a roll right now: in our Sony WH-1000XM5 review we described their over-ears as "pure headphones heaven". Can Sony hit a home run with its smaller headphones too? It looks like we'll find out very soon.