From an earlier leak by TechInsider, we got pictures of the Sony LinkBuds WF-L900 that hinted towards an open-fit style concept but wasn’t accompanied by any details. But now thanks to serial leaker Roland Quandt, we have the initial specification details about the rumoured earbuds.
The most distinctive design element of the earbuds is the ring-like housing for the speaker drivers, which sits in front of the ear canal. The hole in the centre allows ambient sound to pass through to the ear, thanks to a lack of passive sound isolation. This allows the user to have a conversation or be aware of their surroundings without having to take the earbuds off.
Because of this quirky design, it seems that Sony had to create a speaker membrane with a hollow centre to fit into the ring housing. This membrane is said to be super flexible and measures 12mm in diameter. Therefore, despite having a hollow centre, the buds are said to provide a balanced sound with solid bass performance.
Assisting the sound reproduction is Sony’s V1 audio processor which is able to output low-distortion sound with high clarity. Low-resolution audio like mp3 can be upscaled via Sony’s Digital Sound Enhancement Engine (DSEE).
According to the leak, there seems to be no touch sensitive surface on the Linkbuds for touch controls. Instead, you tap the side of your head, in front the ear, to control the earbuds. I believe that Sony might be using an ultrasonic proximity sensor to detect finger movement.
Also onboard are features specifically designed to compensate for the drawbacks of being an open-fit style earphones like the ability to increase or decrease the audio volume based on ambient noise volume. There are also new “AI” algorithms to isolate the voice and suppress the background noise when on a call or interacting with a voice assistant.
No details about the Bluetooth version on board, but it supports Google Fast Pair and Multi-Pairing, though no details on exactly how many devices can be paired simultaneously. Typically on other earphones and headphones that support multi-pairing, the maximum is two.
There is also no word about active noise cancellation (ANC), despite being reported by TechInsider earlier.
Each Linkbud weighs only 4g which could be partly contributed by the ring design, and are also IPX4 certified to be splash-proof. Battery life doesn’t seem great with 5.5 hours of music playback on a single charge with the case providing an additional 12 hours more. This could be due to the compact size.
The Linkbuds are said to be available in white or grey for a retail price of under 200 euros (~RM950). Specific details about availability weren’t mentioned, other than “launching soon”. Until Sony outlines the specifications of the Linkbuds, take all these information with a pinch of salt.
Sony’s first open-fit style earbuds were the Xperia Ear Duo, which launched back in 2018 during Mobile World Congress (MWC). However, it used a more complex system called a Spatial Acoustic Conductor to pipe ambient noise into the ear. It also had the ability to adjust the audio volume to compensate for the ambient noise volume. But it didn’t sound all too good and couldn’t get loud enough to hear in noisy environments. As a result, it was a sales failure.
What do you think about the Sony Linkbuds and do you prefer an open-fit design? Let us know in the comments section.