There are a lot of users out there who don’t mind setting their earbuds to ambient mode and going on with their lives. With the Sony Link Buds, that seems to be the main focus.

For a company that has a track record of very matter-of-fact product names, the Link Buds come as a nice surprise. Not only that, but the Link Buds are nowhere near conventional, truly wireless earbuds.

Rather than a closed earbud design, the Link Buds are comprised of a ring-style driver and an offset compartment for internals, like Sony’s V1 Integrated Processor. While the Link Buds don’t take advantage of Sony’s LDAC technology – which is Sony’s tech for converting Bluetooth signal into Hi-Res Audio – these buds are meant to reproduce audio clearly and meld it together with real life, hence the open design. This is done with DSEE (Digital Sound Enhancement Engine) technology, which unpacks the music and restores it to full quality after being compressed and sent via Bluetooth. With this approach, the Link Buds don’t have noise cancellation or any form of ANC because they simply aren’t supposed to.

Possibly one of the coolest features the Link Buds have to offer might be the method of input. Rather than relying on touch controls, which get in the way when adjusting your earbuds, Link Buds make use of something Sony calls “Wide Area Tap,” which senses when you tap the skin in front of your ear for input. If this feature works as well as we hope it does, it could be a viable replacement for touch controls on modern earbuds. Even better, Sony has equipped the Link Buds with automatic volume control, which (depending on how well it works) could be a fantastic addition.

The Sony Link Buds also make use of Google Fast Pair, allowing for seamless setup as well as the ability to locate them when misplaced. Additionally, Google Assistant is available as your go-to virtual helper. The Link Buds can also last about 5.5 hours on a single charge or up to 17.5 hours with the case. All of this is packed into the cool new open-ring design comes at a pretty penny – $179.99 on Sony’s website, as well as pre-order on Amazon and Best Buy.

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