Ever since Apple launched AirPods, users around the world have been expecting an equally impressive Android alternative. Various companies have tried their hand at creating true wireless earbuds, and now it’s Google’s turn.
Google Pixel Buds are truly wireless. The earbuds are both a significant step up from their predecessors and a disappointment next to the alternatives. But let’s take a closer look at what Google has offered us.
At first glance, Google Pixel Buds seem like a copy of the headphones from Apple and Samsung, but it’s enough to get to know them better to see that this is not entirely true. Google is bringing a significant new feature, the always-on Google Assistant. That is, a voice assistant that listens to the user all the time, waiting for a command.
This may seem like a minor addition, but here it is worth paying attention to competitors right away. AirPods brought this feature to headphones a long time ago, and until now, Android has not had a worthy alternative. Even if the feature was present, like on the Sony wireless, it wasn’t in perfect sync with the smartphone/tablet.
Google Pixel Buds finally solve this issue. Just open the case with the headphones, and they will already make contact with the Pixel smartphone. And that’s not all, just like AirPods with “Hey Siri”, Pixel Buds respond to the appropriate words for their smartphones and are ready to come to the service at any moment.
Google has gone one step further, and as long as you have an internet connection, the headphones are ready to provide you with real-time translations of languages. And this function should not be underestimated.
But Google Pixel Buds are not only endless pros, but also noticeable disadvantages. One of them is the lack of active noise cancellation. And this will definitely affect the purchase for those who prefer to enjoy the sound from the headphones, rather than the surrounding noise. In addition, the device’s battery lasts only around three hours with constant playback, and the cost of the headphones cannot be called budget at all.
If there is one thing that can be called a 100% advantage of the Google Pixel Buds, it is the design. The headphones are completely wireless, and this is their main difference from previous models. This also hints that the company will go further in this direction, over time, replacing the original models with wireless ones.
Case also received a visual update. It fits in your hand and pocket. Its shape resembles an egg, the case opens with a corresponding click, and there is only one USB Type‑C port for charging on the case. That’s not all, since the case also supports wireless charging, reporting the status of the process with the help of an LED light.
In addition to the case and headphones, there are additional ear pads in the box. For anyone who doesn’t like or doesn’t like the one-piece option, this solution becomes a good alternative, as it is possible to adjust the size of the headphones, thereby improving their sound during playback. Here, however, Google also slightly missed, and most of the options are large for standard ear sizes. But this is already a matter of size, and it is impossible to say with absolute certainty what will suit the majority.
In general, it can be assumed that a design with a “fin” that secures the earpiece to the ear would be more optimal and versatile.
Without getting hung up on the subjective aspect, the only thing the Google Pixel Buds lack is active noise cancellation. Most earphones in this price range offer this feature, the more noticeable its absence.
True, Google still did not ignore the problem, equipping the headphones with an additional smart function — the sound automatically adjusts to the amount of noise that the microphone picks up. The question is how effective this supplement is. Built-in noise reduction often does a better job and gives a more pleasant result.
When you pull the earbud out, playback is paused, which is especially helpful in keeping the earbuds charged when you’re not using them. Given the limited capacity of the battery, such a feature is simply necessary, so it’s nice that Google has not forgotten about it.
Last but not least, the design of the Google Pixel Buds is the degree of water resistance. Google Pixel Buds received protection according to the IPX4 standard, in other words, they cope with sweat or a small amount of raindrops on the case. However, they are not suitable for visiting beaches or swimming. Therefore, be careful if you still decide to choose this model.
Source: Android Central
We have already noted a few things that Google Pixel Buds can do, but that’s not all. In general, if the headphone manufacturers have succeeded in something, it is in the number of necessary and useful functions for Android users. Automatic pairing with your Android smartphone or tablet is very convenient as it saves you the lengthy process of syncing and reconnecting every time the situation calls for it.
The Google Assistant has also become a very successful addition. And it’s not just about directions or questions about the weather or the route. For example, with Google Pixel Buds, you can control your smart home no matter where you are. Already in the modern world, this gives headphones an advantage over competitors that cannot offer similar functions.
It is necessary to note in more detail the possibility of simultaneous translation. In this regard, Google Pixel Buds, perhaps, have left most of the alternative models far behind. The headphones work directly with the Google Translate service in order to provide fast text translation. All you have to do is say “Ok Google, translate Spanish for me” and the app will launch on the device. You press the left earpiece, speak your native language, and Google will read the translation through the speakers. By pressing the translate button on your smartphone while the interlocutor is talking, you can get a response.
As soon as you get used to the process and stop getting confused, the function really manifests itself, allowing you to communicate on trips, with relatives and friends from other countries, etc.
The difficulties lie in the fact that you will always have to speak in turn, and for work you need either Wi-Fi or a language pack that can be downloaded, it weighs about 45MB.
Well, another feature of Google Pixel Buds allows you to read notifications directly from your smartphone and respond using voice dialing.
So far, there are difficulties in this that are associated with sound recognition and competent pronunciation, but this is all a matter of practice, and Google is clearly not going to stop there. The only question here is time.
The main issue that worries anyone when purchasing headphones is not design or additional functionality. The most important thing is how the headphones sound. Google Pixel Buds don’t sound perfect. Even before you start playing a melody or making a call, a hiss is heard in the headphones, which, in principle, can be ignored.
But this is not the only problem you may encounter. Some tracks sound very muffled in the bass while the focus is on the mids and highs. This will work for some genres of music, no doubt, but if you prefer heavy tracks, then the problem will be very noticeable. At the same time, the headphones perfectly divide the sound into stereo channels, all the more surprising is such an omission on the part of the manufacturer.
All this makes the sound bright, but not too saturated. The tracks sound sharp and loud, but there is no depth in them. The ears get tired of this pretty quickly, because all the sounds seem higher than they really are. So far, Google has not provided equalizers and the ability to customize the sound to your preferences, so you have to deal with the sound that is preinstalled by the manufacturer and this sound is far from ideal.
If you don’t like the sound of music, chances are you won’t like the sound of movies either. The maximum that Google Pixel Buds are suitable for is Youtube videos. If you’re looking for action-packed movies with deep soundtracks and loud explosions, then the Google Pixel Buds aren’t for you.
If you use headphones in calls, then the reception will be good. However, while there are problems with the microphone, which, most likely, can be fixed in a firmware update. We will hope that this will be the case, since the company clearly has work to do.
Source: Gizmodo Australia
The battery capacity, as we noted above, is small. But Google announced the battery life of the headphones in advance and were very fair in their assessment. You can listen to music non-stop for up to three hours on a single charge, and the case gives you 24 additional hours of use. Charging produces in an extremely short time, 15–20 minutes. The case can be charged without a wire, but the headphones, of course, only through the case. In general, the figures are not the most impressive, but not the lowest either. If you can safely survive the charging time, for example, during a flight, then you have absolutely nothing to worry about.
Source: TECH SPEAKR — WordPress.com
Of course, compared to the original Pixel Buds, the novelty was a significant step forward. Undoubtedly, Google Pixel Buds are rich in functionality, however, it seems that in the pursuit of new bright features, the company has completely forgotten why we buy headphones in the first place. So if the choice is between a regular device with good sound or fancy headphones without bass, many will probably prefer the first option.
However, Google has shown us where they plan to go, and if the next versions of Google Pixel Buds get a better sound and all the related features become an addition, then we can safely talk not only about worthy competition for AirPods, but also about the possibility Google finally leave rivals far behind.
But if you’re itching to try the Google Assistant interaction and real-time translation, then you can count on the additions to fix the existing shortcomings and Google Pixel Buds will be a good choice.