Price: ₹ 19,990
The buds with the hole, to let the world through—would be an apt catchline for the LinkBuds if we could borrow it from Nestle’s popular mint brand. The WF-L900 is unlike any true wireless earbuds we have seen, with a ring-shaped driver and a hollow at the centre.
The WF-L900 comes in a small case made of recycled plastic. The case has a mechanical closure and can be opened by pressing a button. The earbuds are also quite small compared to the usual TWS. Even the buds are held in place with plastic pegs inside the case. Wearing the device is quite a task initially. The ring stays in your ear canal, while the rubber supporter has to be fitted inside the upper cavity and twisted a bit till it is secured firmly. Sony provides five pairs of supporting rings in the box, and it is very important to select the appropriate one. After the initial fiddling around, it is quite comfortable to wear and use. The buds weigh approximately four grams. The light construction and non-protruding design ensure that the device does not slip out even during your runs. The buds hold an IPX4 rating for protection against splashes and sweat.
The open-ring design facilitates full-time audio transparency. Though loyal ANC-lovers could have a hard time liking this, the open design makes it extremely comfortable, without any pressure difference felt in the ears. The Headphones Connect app allows you to update firmware and activate, set up, and customise Speak to Chat, Equaliser, 360 Reality and other features. With adaptive volume control, the device ensures that the background sounds do not overpower the audio. Sony has designed the LinkBuds to facilitate all-day wearing without discomfort, and features like Speak to Chat combined with transparency makes this possible. Speech detection sensitivity and pause duration can be adjusted from the app. If this is not done properly, you will find the music pausing even without speaking a word.
With a 12mm ring driver, the L900 delivers competent audio similar to other Sony TWS devices, though with a more natural feel closer to open-back headphones than the restrictive sound you get from usual headphones. In fact, you don’t feel that you are wearing a pair of headphones. Call quality is excellent with clear pick-up and providing a great listening experience with a clear voice. You can control the device by tapping on the buds or the front portion of your ears. The buds are not too loud, and even at the maximum volume, you don’t feel any discomfort. It features DSEE (Digital Sound Enhancement Engine) to enhance audio using Sony’s integrated processor V1 that powers their flagship. The headphones support Google and Alexa voice assistants. Fast and Swift Pair offer quick Bluetooth pairing.
Sony claims a playback time of up to 5.5 hours on a single charge and up to 17.5 hours with the charging case, but a realistic figure would be somewhere around three hours and 10 hours respectively, at least with our experience with initial charging cycles and with 50 per cent volume. It also offers 90 minutes of playback with 10 minutes of quick charging. On the negative side, though the charging indicator lights up while charging, it doesn’t indicate once the device has been fully charged.
WE’RE IMPRESSED Lightweight and compact design, balanced sound profile, extremely comfortable for continuous listening, speak-to-chat function
WE’D IMPROVE No ‘charge full’ indicator
THE LAST WORD The Sony LinkBuds is a refreshingly new device that is made for all-day listening and provides an audio experience that is close to the natural.