Sony’s New LinkBuds vs. Apple’s AirPods 3

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Sony introduced the LinkBuds in February, a curious set of earphones with an open design that’s not like any other in-ear headphone product on the market. We picked up a set of Sony’s weirdest LinkBuds to see how they measure up to Apple’s third-generation AirPods.

$178 . price of, the LinkBuds have a naked donut-shaped earpiece that goes into the ear. Like the AirPods 3, there’s no form or silicone tips included with the LinkBuds.

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The hole in the LinkBuds is an open ring driver designed to let users listen to music while leaving one ear open to their surroundings, similar to headphone products like audio-equipped sunglasses and bone conduction headphones. Sound quality isn’t on AirPods level, but it’s above average.

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An adaptive volume control feature adapts music to sound in the ambient environment, and playback is controlled by double tapping on your ear. The double tap gesture can be used to play/pause music, adjust volume or skip tracks, with settings available in the Sony app. There is also an option in the app for EQ adjustment.

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A secondary bulb with a small wing propels the LinkBuds in place, and Sony describes them as ultra small and light. In our testing, the comfort isn’t too far off from the AirPods. They can be worn for a long time before causing ear irritation, and they’re lightweight enough not to be uncomfortable within a few hours of use.

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The battery on the LinkBuds lasts up to 5.5 hours, and they come with a charging case that provides a total of 23 hours of listening time. The charging case is small and pocketable.

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For those in the Apple device ecosystem, the LinkBuds really can’t measure up to the AirPods because they lack features like automatic device switching and quick pairing. Those who don’t care about those features and are looking for earbuds that are ideal for biking, running, and other similar purposes may want to check out the LinkBuds, though.

What do you think about LinkBuds? Tell us in the comments.