LinkBuds S vs. WF-1000XM4 vs. LinkBuds vs. WF-C500

Sony and audio are two words that go well together, but with Sony’s expanded earbud lineup, the lines get blurred. Which is actually the best pair of wireless earbuds?

Which Sony Earbuds Are Best? Review notes

PHYSICAL DESIGN WF-C500

Physical buttons (feel a bit mushy, but great for athletes)
Very small and comfortable
Cheap feeling case
4 colors (coral/mint/white/black)


Link buds


Open design is incredibly light, breathable, and comfortable
Can be finicky with the fit
Control by tapping your jaw joint
The case has a button
2 colors (black/white)


Link buds S


The lightest, smallest ANC HiFi earbuds on the market
Extremely light and comfortable
Touchpads (customizable in the app)
Made from recycled plastic
4 colors (white/black/tan)


WF-1000XM4


Touch controls (customizable in-app)
Largest case
Premium design
The only model with wireless charging
Comes with foam tips
The foam tip problem
2 colors (black/silver)
ALL
IPX4
COMFORT
Rank: Link, Link S, C500, XM4

Which Sony Earbuds Are Best? Review notes
Which Sony Earbuds Are Best? Review notes


BATTERY
C500: 10/20
Link: 5.5/23
Link S: 6/20
XM4: 8/24


SOUND quality of LinkBuds S vs. WF-1000XM4 vs. LinkBuds vs. WF-C500


C500: constant hissing sound
Sounds claustrophobic with poor instrument separation
Muddy bass makes them sound less deep and less wide than I would like
The lively sound overall with powerful lows. Pop sounds fun with these. For the price, not a bad balance, but there is plenty of better sounding competition
Only AAC & SBC codecs
Link:
Only supports SBC & AAC
Great clarity, but lacks bass
Anything below 200Hz is significantly deemphasized
Open-back type sound, great for a quiet workspace in which you wear earbuds for many hours per day!
Link S:
LDAC support
Fun and lively
A smaller driver than the XM4, but still an impressive sub-bass performance
A bit warm and dark. I wish there was better spatial replication and it didn’t sound like it was all in the middle of my head
Still pretty decent
XM4:
LDAC support
Warmer, more powerful, and full sounding. Great detail and clarity with a wider soundstage. More natural and clear than any other earbuds on this list. A substantial improvement over the others, but an untrained ear may not notice too much difference between Link S and these.


ALL:
EQ
DSEE
Connection priority choice in-app
MIC TEST
ANC Level 25 – Sony WF-1000XM4
Level 23 – Sony Linkbuds S Level 13 – Sony WF-C500
Level 1 – Sony Linkbuds


Top 4 Sony Earbuds FEATURES

Speak to chat (XM4, Link S, Link)
Transparency mode (Link S, XM4) – which is better?
Adaptive volume control on Linkbuds
Adaptive sound control on XM4 and Linkbuds S
Autoplay/pause (XM4, Link S, Link)
Tap for Spotify (Link, Link S)
ALL.

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