Apple's AirPods Pro vs. Sony's LinkBuds S Earbuds

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.

sony linkbuds 1
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.

sony linkbuds 4
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.

sony linkbuds 3
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.

sony linkbuds 5
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.

Tag: Sony

Top Rated Comments

erikkfi Avatar
9 months ago

What about battery replacement?
Letting customers replace the rechargeable batteries would give these devices a lifespan of a decade or more. It's not part of a rational, modern business plan, even for companies that like to crow about how much they love the environment and the planet.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
B4rbelith Avatar
9 months ago
You can adjust the transparency levels on the AirPods Pro in Headphone Accommodations. In fact there's quite a few things you can do there, including allowing the use of an audiogram to tailor the AirPods for your specific hearing, or Balanced Tone, Vocal Range or Brightness. They also allow for a conversation boost.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
GeoStructural Avatar
9 months ago
I am surprised they didn’t name it “LinkBuds SHX4578 ZUS” in traditional Sony fashion.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sigmasirrus Avatar
9 months ago
Honestly I went back to the wired EarPods that used to come with the iPhone. Wireless doesn’t support lossless. And yeah, it does sound better. The controls on the wire are nice. And no need to ever change anything. To be sure, AirPods are also nice sometimes too.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ChrisMoBro Avatar
9 months ago

Letting customers replace the rechargeable batteries would give these devices a lifespan of a decade or more. It's not part of a rational, modern business plan, even for companies that like to crow about how much they love the environment and the planet.
Some of Sony’s headphones, including the

Letting customers replace the rechargeable batteries would give these devices a lifespan of a decade or more. It's not part of a rational, modern business plan, even for companies that like to crow about how much they love the environment and the planet.
Several models of Sony headphones have user replaceable batteries. Even the tiny WF1000XM3’s can be replaced, extending the lifespan of the products massively.

I have the Airpod Pros and not only are they really buggy but one has stopped working completely and the other lasts about an hour. My only option is to pay another £180 to get them replaced.

Apple doesn’t give a **** about the planet.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
pdaholic Avatar
9 months ago
I’ve had 3 airpod pro sets, and every one eventually start to sound distorted after a few months. I’m inclined to try a different brand.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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