Google Pixel Buds (2020) review: Android’s AirPods


Everybody deserves a second probability, even audio producers, and the brand new Google Pixel Buds (2020) exceed our expectations. Google correctly marries type and performance with these true wi-fi earbuds; the elegant design begets a chic consumer expertise that’s revved and able to rival the AirPods.

What’s it like to make use of the Pixel Buds?

Google Pixel Buds 2020 true wireless earbuds case hand

The Pixel Buds charging case is Qi-compatible and has a USB-C enter.

It’s nice, and echoes the expertise of utilizing an Apple product. This comes as no shock since Google is taken into account the Apple of Android. The earbuds are remarkably skinny for what number of sensors are packed into every housing. Whereas its Mentos-reminiscent look might not be pleasing to everybody, it’s discreet. They sit practically flush with the ear, which is one thing many of the competitors has but to realize. Even nonetheless, the earbuds induced ache after simply an hour of damage from rubbing towards the outer ear.

Customers are afforded three sizes of ear suggestions, however the wing suggestions can’t get replaced, which is a bummer particularly for these with uniquely giant or small ears. This static wing tip design isn’t nice for athletes, as a result of the earbuds could not safe as effectively to the outer ear as they’d with one thing just like the Jaybird Vista. Every earbud has a touch-capacitive panel which helps playback, quantity, and name management, in addition to Google Assistant entry. The contact know-how is nice, and by no means registered unintentional faucets, one thing we’ve run into whereas testing different true wi-fi earbuds such because the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus. Automated ear detection can also be supported, so playback pauses when the earphones are eliminated.

Sorry, AirPods, there is a new child on the block.

A very good charging case is indicative of a great pair of true wi-fi earbuds; it must be sturdy, well-engineered, however not overdone, and practical. Thankfully for us, the Google Pixel Buds (2020) case ticks the entire packing containers. The soft-touch plastic feels premium and is a pocketable dimension and form. It homes a single button on the again for guide pairing and a USB-C enter on its underbelly. There are two LEDs on the case, an exterior one to inform customers of the case’s remaining battery, an inside one which communicates the earbuds’ battery ranges.

How good is battery life?

SoundGuys recorded 6 hours, eight minutes of playtime from the Google Pixel Buds on a single cost, which exceeds the corporate’s specs by an hour. Fast charging is supported right here: 10 minutes within the case yields two hours of playtime. The USB-C case provides a further 24 hours of listening, which implies you may get just a few weeks of at-home exercises in earlier than topping it again up. Doing so takes about two hours with the included USB-C cable or by way of Qi wi-fi charging pad.

Does real-time translation work?

A serious promoting level of the Pixel Buds (2020) is real-time translation. Within the full SoundGuys Google Pixel Buds (2020) evaluate, Adam Molina examined its Spanish translation. It labored and precisely interpreted what was stated, however the course of was tedious. Customers should obtain the Google Translate app, and have it open on their telephones when utilizing stay translations. Molina felt this defeated the aim of the earbuds’ live-translate integration; if he needed to seize his cellphone anyway, why not simply use the app?

At a mechanical stage, the translator works and is a helpful software, however it isn’t way more efficient than instantly utilizing a smartphone. The earbuds add an additional step to the method, making it much more cumbersome.

Do the earbuds keep linked?

Bluetooth 5.0 support combined with Google’s long-range wireless technology, allow the ‘buds to remain connected to your smartphone even if it’s three rooms away. Three rooms in my Chicago apartment is much smaller than three rooms in a suburban home, but generally speaking, a layer or two of drywall won’t interfere with connectivity. If you’re an outdoor athlete, say you run on the community track, these are the earbuds for you: they can remain connected the entire length of an American football field when outside as there are fewer physical and electrical barriers.

To our surprise, the Google Pixel Buds (2020) only support AAC and SBC. The former performs unreliably on Android devices, which is distressing. Seeing how these are intended to be used with Android phones, Google Pixel phones in particular, the lack of an Android-friendly high-quality Bluetooth codec has me, and the folks at SoundGuys, befuddled.

Pairing the Pixel Buds is effortless

Anyone with an Android phone can get straight to using the new Google Pixel Buds by simply opening the case and enabling Bluetooth on the desired smartphone. A pop-up card will ask for permission to connect with the Pixel Buds, and you’re ready to rock. Part of the process includes setting up Google Assistant support, so you can access by saying, “Hey Google,” or by a tap-and-hold of the touch panel.

Related: Best AirPods Pro alternatives

Pairing with an iOS device is simple, too, just not as seamless. To do so, open the charging case without removing the earbuds, and hold the button on the back of the case until the LED flashes white. Then, go to the Bluetooth menu of your iOS device and select the new Pixel Buds. Once they’re connected, you can remove the earbuds and go about your business as usual.

Do the new Pixel Buds sound good?

Google Pixel Buds 2020 true wireless earbuds

The concha wing tips aren’t removable, which is an aggravating oversight.

The Google Pixel Buds (2020) accurately reproduce audio with minimal emphasis to bass notes, which is more pleasing to general consumers; it adds that extra bump in music playback that we’ve grown accustomed to from brands like Beats and Jabra. Again, this low-end amplification is subtle, so bassheads be warned: these aren’t the ‘buds for you. Kick drums sound almost twice as loud as male vocals, which can make it difficult to hear your favorite singer in notably cacophonous songs.

Adaptive sound automatically adjusts volume levels to your environment.

Isolation isn’t great, meaning clarity is just ok, but this is technically a feature of the headset. Google included vents to alleviate the “plugged” feeling that earbuds can create, while also keeping you aware of your surroundings. It’s a compromise between the nozzle-less design we’ve seen from Apple and a more standard earbud build. Awareness benefits aside, audio quality immediately degrades when external noise — think subway rattles or plane engines — come into play. That’s because loud sounds make it hard to perceive relatively quiet ones, which makes music sound “off.” To get a more detailed breakdown of the frequency response and isolation performance, go to SoundGuys’ review.

Microphone quality is great

Google’s comprehensive microphone system plays nicely with all vocal registers. Speech intelligibility can also be attributed to voice-detecting accelerometer — something we’ve seen with the Apple AirPods Pro. Sure the person on the other line will likely recognize you’re speaking from a headset mic, but background noise is effectively ignored, which is a must-have feature when speaking on-the-go.

New Google Pixel Buds (2020) microphone demo:

Should you buy the new Pixel Buds?

Google Pixel Buds 2020 true wireless earbuds case

The Google Pixel Buds (2020) take a simple approach to advanced technology.

Google Pixel users looking for the path of least resistance should get the new Google Pixel Buds (2020). They may not be the best value true wireless earbuds on the market, but they’re a solid option that affords reliable hands-free Google Assistant access, a secure fit, and modern design. Although live Google Translate capabilities leave something to be desired, it’s cool to see a company pushing new, exciting features. The AirPods finally have their main Android competitor: the Google Pixel Buds (2020).

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