Sony has announced its LinkBuds and while the somewhat weird and whacky design might be aimed at the young and fashionable, they could subtly be perfect for anyone working from home like me.
LinkBuds are among the most unusual headphones I’ve ever seen – and for more than one reason. For starters, they have a small hole in the middle of the driver as part of an ‘open ring design’ that stops the earplug nature of headphones, allowing you to hear what’s going on around you.
They’re also designed to be left in your ears all day with a compact form, weighing just over 4g each.
While the LinkBuds have been crafted with a very different user in mind (see the marketing material below), they sound very intriguing for someone like me who is primarily sat at a desk at home…
When I used to work in the office every day, headphones were an essential bit of kit; I’d use them on my commute and to block out the often-distracting noise of the office. However, now I work at home, I find myself only using them when I need to test a pair for review.
The rest of the time, I need to listen out for the front door for deliveries and collections. Even if you don’t have as many visitors as a tech journalist, I’m sure your online shopping has increased, resulting in more regular knocks on the door.
Even without couriers arriving daily, I’m also listening out for the dog and other things going on around the house. My wife is also at home during the day, so the occasional “do you want a cup of tea?” calls and the like are often missed when using headphones or I jump out of my skin when I realise there’s someone standing next to me out of nowhere.
“But wait, you can do that on loads of headphones!” I hear you scream – and that is true. Most of the competition, including Sony’s headphones, offer some kind of transparency mode that filters in environmental sound or Speak to Chat, but I’ve never found them to work well enough or I feel weird and self-conscious.
With the LinkBuds design, I can just pause my music (using the unusual Wide Area Tap feature which sees you tap your face near the earbuds which they pick up through vibration) and have a conversation without needing to take them out.
Granted, I haven’t tested them yet, but on paper, the LinkBuds seem like they could solve my working from home problems and
our contributor Steve May has made some similar comments in his full review.
They’re definitely not headphones for everyone but for me, they might be the solution I didn’t even know were possible.
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