Earlier this week, Sony released the WH-1000XM5 headphones, which we’ve already reviewed, and the LinkBuds S, a set of noise-canceling headphones 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 headphone 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 on sale often and can be had for $197 on Amazon right now. That puts the LinkBuds S and AirPods Pro at roughly the same price, 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 suits you best. They’re about as comfortable as the AirPods Pro thanks to design similarities.
When it comes to sound quality, the AirPods Pro and LinkBuds S have a lot in common. Both sound similar, but it’s nice that the LinkBuds S have EQ settings available through the Sony app, which the AirPods Pro don’t offer. Out of the box, the AirPods Pro have the best sound profile, but the LinkBuds S can be adjusted to your preference.
The LinkBuds S are heavy in their default settings, but they can be repaired, giving them a customization advantage over the AirPods Pro.
When it comes to noise cancellation, the AirPods Pro and the LinkBuds S are pretty much 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, as the AirPods Pro have a higher quality Transparency mode so that ambient sound is clearer and more natural, but Sony again has a possibility of customization in the form of an option to adjust the ambient sound level in the app.
The Sony LinkBuds S offer up to six hours of playtime plus an additional 14 hours via the charging case, but the AirPods Pro exceed that a bit with up to 24 hours of total listening time.
Both of these options are solid headphones and are equivalent in many ways. If you want more customization, the LinkBuds S have the edge, but in the Apple ecosystem, the AirPods still win out thanks to features like Quick Switch and Auto-Pairing.
Be sure to watch our full AirPods Pro vs. Sony LinkBuds S video above for a full look at the differences between the two sets of headphones.