Sony's mid-priced LinkBuds S have many similarities to the top-ranking WF-1000XM5 flagship model in our best wireless earbuds buying guide. Although the full $199 asking price makes them a bit of a stretch, they really are a bargain worth grabbing with $70 off, and several retailers are offering similar savings on these brilliant 'buds ahead of Black Friday.
Sony LinkBuds S: was $199 now $128 @ Amazon
The Sony LinkBuds S have a lot to offer: active noise cancelation and ambient awareness (or transparency) modes that switch automatically based on your activity backed by Sony's awesome Headphones Connect app. Auto-play and auto-pause features are on board, plus you get top sound quality and reliability.
Price check: $128 @ Walmart | $128 @ Best Buy
The Sony LinkBuds S didn’t make our list of the best wireless earbuds at their full asking price, but they still offer plenty of attractive features. For starters, they have a sleek design that’s lightweight and comfortable enough for all-day wear. They look discreet and didn’t budge during workouts.
The LinkBuds S also have the ability to detect whether you’re moving and switch active noise cancelation modes automatically. For example, the buds switched to transparency mode while during a walk, so our reviewer could still hear outside sounds. If you’re sitting at a desk or traveling on a train, the buds will switch to ANC, so you won’t hear any distractions. There’s also a Speak-to-Chat function that automatically pauses your music if you start a conversation with someone. Combine this with responsive touch and voice controls, and you have some of the most intuitive wireless earbuds we’ve tested.
As for sound quality, we found that vocals were recreated faithfully and heard some good bass. Despite the ANC performance not being quite up to the standards of the company's flagship earbuds, it still effectively blocked out the noise from a crowd of people during our tests, although high-range frequencies like an airhorn snuck through. The earbuds also have customizable EQ, Sony 360 Reality Audio and support for higher quality music streams when connected to and LDAC-enabled playback device.
The Sony LinkBuds S are an awesome pair of earbuds, and they’re even better value for money at this price. If you’re looking for more options, check out our best Black Friday headphone deals coverage.