Sony earlier this week came out with the WH-1000XM5 headphones, which we already checked out, and the LinkBuds S, a set of noise canceling earbuds that are similar to the AirPods Pro. In our latest YouTube video, we pit the AirPods Pro against the LinkBuds S to see how Sony’s new earbuds offering measures up.
Priced at $199, the LinkBuds S are $50 cheaper than the AirPods Pro, but it’s worth noting that the AirPods Pro are often on sale and can be purchased for $197 from Amazon right now. That puts the LinkBuds S and the AirPods Pro at about the same price point, though it’s likely the LinkBuds S will also be available at a discount later this year.
Like the AirPods Pro, the LinkBuds S have a silicone tip that goes in the ear, and you can choose the size that fits best. They’re just about as comfortable as the AirPods Pro thanks to the design similarities.
When it comes to sound quality, the AirPods Pro and the LinkBuds S have a lot in common. Both sound similar, but it is nice that the LinkBuds S have EQ adjustments available through the Sony app, something the AirPods Pro don’t offer. Out of the box, the AirPods Pro have the better sound profile, but the LinkBuds S can be adjusted to your preferences.
The LinkBuds S are bass heavy at their default settings, but it’s fixable, so that gives them a customization edge over the AirPods Pro.
As for noise canceling, both the AirPods Pro and the LinkBuds S are about the same. They’re both solid at blocking out ambient noise, and it’s hard to say whether one is better than the other. The exception is Transparency mode, because the AirPods Pro have a higher-quality transparency mode so ambient sound is clearer and more natural, but Sony again has customizability in the form of an option to adjust the level of the ambient sound in the app.
The Sony LinkBuds S offer up to six hours of playback plus an additional 14 hours through the charging case, but the AirPods Pro exceed that a bit with up to 24 hours of total listening time.
Both of these are solid earbud options and are equivalent in a lot of ways. If you want more customization, the LinkBuds S have the edge, but in the Apple ecosystem, the AirPods always win out because of features like fast switching and automatic pairing.
Make sure to watch our full AirPods Pro vs. Sony LinkBuds S video up above to get a complete overview of the differences between the two sets of earbuds.