(Pocket-lint) - Sony has introduced earbuds quite unlike anything we've seen before in the form of its LinkBuds true wireless headphones.
You could say they are anti-ANC earphones as, instead of blocking out external noise, they are designed specifically to let it in.
There is no earpiece, with the Sony LinkBuds sporting an open-ring driver. This sits on your ear with a wing tip keeping it in place, allowing you to hear what's going on in the world around you while you also listen to music or speech.
That makes them specifically useful for video calling at home, where you also want to listen out for the doorbell or family members, or running, say, keeping you informed of traffic or other people.
Sony also claims they are suited to a new lifestyle adopted by many young adults, who like to wear headphones even when they aren't listening to anything in particular. Certainly, at just 4.1g per bud, they are small and light enough to do so. And, with no eartip inserted into either ear, they are comfortable over long periods too.
In terms of audio tech, the LinkBuds share the same V1 processor as the flagship WF-1000XM4 TWS buds, plus Sony's proprietary DSEE digital audio upscaling system.
While there is no noise cancelling, automatic volume control can be activated to raise the volume in noisier areas, lower it when it is quieter around you. There is also a speak-to-chat option that will pause music automatically as soon as you talk.
Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa are supported, as well as Google Fast Pair and Microsoft's Swift Pair technologies.
The LinkBuds come with 5.5 hours of battery life in the buds themselves, with a further 17.5 hours available in the tiny charging case. A 10 minute fast charge can also provide a hour's playback time.
They are available now priced at £150 in the UK, €180 in Central Europe and $180 in the US.