Battery life is a little short. Awesome sound. The charging case was huge, the sound was middling, and when you finally worked up the courage to go outside with them, it felt like everyone wearing AirPods was laughing at you. Amazon's redesigned Fire TV interface adds user profiles and a new look, Minecraft with ray tracing is out for all Windows 10 players, Pornhub ends unverified uploads and bans downloads, Watch SpaceX's Starship attempt high-altitude flight (update: womp womp), The Morning After: Apple unveiled its $549 AirPods Max headphones. Performance 8. These are made for the traditional AirPod buyer: someone who wants a pair of headphones that work exactly as expected, every time you use them. Learn more. Google provided a Pixel 4 phone for review purposes, and it should go without saying that the new Pixel Buds work great with Android. The elegant design appeals to the same user base, and sound quality is better thanks to the dedicated nozzles. Google’s 2017 Pixels Buds were Bluetooth, but not completely wireless -- and for the most part they felt incomplete. That’s also probably because I’m speaking English and Google is just quick to translate it. You can raise or lower volume by sliding your fingers left and right—so easy!—as well as play or pause music and change songs with various taps. It’s a part you see on a lot of earbuds -- both wired and wireless. Still, at $179, Google has a powerful set of earbuds for the Android faithful that really shine when paired with a Pixel phone. We wanted to review the Pixel Buds 2 in detail to give Google the benefit of the doubt, and they haven’t let us down. Each has its own musical space. The company overhauled its Google Assistant earbuds to make something worth your money. You should also be able to press an icon inside the app when the other person starts talking so that the software can pick up what they’re saying before beaming the desired language to the earbuds. Classy design Comfortable fit Good sound quality. No. And when I received a simulated response from my MacBook speakers, it was quickly played in the Pixel Buds. Have questions about the Pixel Buds? Google Pixel Buds (2020) Review The Google Pixel Buds 2 finally live up to the hype By Sherri L. Smith 27 April 2020 Google Assistant features work well, touch controls are reliable and the audio quality is solid. 8.5 Overall Score. In the full SoundGuys Google Pixel Buds (2020) review, Adam Molina tested its Spanish translation. If you have a Pixel phone that’s running Android 6.0 and up, the Pixel Buds software will be built into your settings menu as a system-level app. When I popped open the lid of the case, they instantly paired to my Pixel 4, quickly setting themselves up for hands-free access to Google Assistant, much as AirPods do with Siri. Samsung’s Galaxy Buds+ are also a solid option for both iOS and Android, and probably a more appropriate comparison for the Pixel Buds. With the Pixel Buds charging case, you’ll get an additional 19 hours of listening time for 24 total hours and a 10-minute quick charge will give you two hours of listening time. More importantly, Google Assistant wasn’t reliable. When it comes to audio quality, they kick the crap out of Apple's cheapest AirPods. It’s a couple seconds faster translating and playing the initial language than it is the reverse, but the pause isn’t so long it would become frustrating. © 2020 Condé Nast. Value 8.5. Around back, there’s a Bluetooth pairing button you’ll need if you want to use these with a non-Android device, and the USB-C charging port is located on the bottom edge. Speaking of that pairing button, the Pixel Buds will work with iOS devices, your desktop machine and any other gadget that supports Bluetooth 4.0 or higher. And I prefer Google Assistant over Siri as well. With things like a white noise machine and running water to wash dishes (the latter of which Google mentions as a specific use case), I wasn’t able to trigger Adaptive Sound to do its thing. There are toggles for HD audio, phone calls, media audio and contact sharing that let you decide how you want to use the earbuds. Google Pixel Buds 2 review: Android finally gets its AirPods Pro moment. Given the current state of the world, I’m not visiting a packed coffee shop or other noisy venues these days, so I had to test this the best I could at home. Ask us in the comments below. Google is clear that using certain features will impact that figure, and I used that handy Translate tool several times during the battery test. Once you get away from the raucous crowd, the earbuds should return to the volume you had set. I was able to activate it with crowd noise from an archived soccer match on my TV, but the sound increase is very subtle. The magnetic closure is secure but not so much that you can’t flip open the lid with your thumb. It’s supposed to function like an automatic brightness adjustment for your display, only for sound. Especially as someone with an Android phone, I’d take these over nearly any wireless earbuds around. Nothing has changed from the 2017 model as far as this is concerned. Google Pixel Buds (2020) review: Audio quality. All rights reserved. To revisit this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories. Just don't try it on a vertical wireless charging stand, because the coils are often a bit too high up to reach it. They juice up best on a pad. While the new model looks like an obvious sibling in terms of design, many of the promises from that first device have finally been fulfilled. For example, with Rage Against The Machine’s “Take The Power Back,” the bass guitar riff and kick drum are big and punchy at the beginning. Google’s audio approach is not a million miles from that of the Sony WF-1000XM3. With Google’s new Pixel Buds, there is one thing we didn’t know all of our other earbuds were missing – a completely hands-free Google Assistant built in. I wish the battery lasted longer, though the case does net you an additional 19 hours. You can also turn Adaptive Sound and in-ear detection on/off. The new Pixel Buds will also automatically pause when you remove one of them from your ear. This isn’t much of a surprise given the fact that it no longer needs to accommodate a cord. Apple kickstarted a wireless earbuds global craze with the original AirPods in 2016. If you like to let some of the sound of what’s going on around into your headphones or earbuds, these don’t do that either. If you can live without all of that stuff, these are yet another entry in the increasingly crowded $150-$200 price range. I was able to ask for help, record my statement or question in English and have a Pixel 4 broadcast the translation over the phone’s speaker. Google says it designed the new Pixel Buds case to look and feel like a river stone. Headphones are getting smarter. Sam Machkovech - … While the sound and battery performance earn top marks, it’s … They’ve got five hours of battery life, which is short, especially compared to the 11 hours you get with Samsung's buds. When you do, separate LEDs (one outside and one inside) will let you know the charging status of both the case and the buds. Thankfully, these sound quite good out of the box. Not once did I feel like these were going to fall out, even during cardio workouts. Since Google's new Pixel smartphones don't have headphone jacks, the company's decision to make a pair of wireless earbuds was only logical. (They'll pair this fast on most Android phones). Google Pixel Buds (2020) review : Android’s AirPods June 20, 2020 The new Google Pixel Buds (review)might experience like a zeitgeisty knock-off of the work Samsung and Apple are doing, however they do in fact deliver something new to the table: an constantly-listening Google Assistant. A major selling point of the Pixel Buds (2020) is real-time translation. Google Pixel buds review. Still, I like the Pixel Buds for a different reason. Google took its time after the original Pixel Buds to get things right with version 2.0. One that’s not really quantifiable when looking at a spec sheet. Turn the volume up by swiping from back to front and turn it down from swiping from front to back. I think it looks like a cute, little egg. Every instrument comes through with crystal clarity, which makes denser mixes like Foxygen’s "San Francisco" come through with elegant depth. You can tweak settings in the companion app, but you probably won’t need to download it. Google promises real-time translation, and while it’s not just like having a conversation, it’s pretty damn close. Google’s rebooted Pixel Buds aren’t quite a steal but they do right in every way that the original earbuds did wrong. Features like Adaptive Sound and other settings are accessible in the Pixel Buds app on Android devices. If you’re using a non-Pixel device, the standalone app will appear in your app drawer. The overall audio is rich and full, with great clarity, so subtle details are retained. And if that’s true, you’ll get a lot of use before you’ll need to find a wireless charging pad or USB-C cable. That comfort isn't just because of the silicone tips; these are some of the lightest buds around. Christian de Looper June 15, 2020 In-Ear. The Pixel Buds software doesn’t offer any audio presets or way to manually adjust the earbuds’ EQ. Save this story for later. Google Pixel Buds 2: Battery life. Similar to the fast pairing Apple offers with AirPods, the Pixel Buds will automatically connect to your device, even if you’re doing so for the first time. How would you rate the Pixel Buds (2020)? Even with all of the improvements, Google still didn’t include active noise cancellation (ANC) on the new Pixel Buds. Unlike the touch controls on some earbuds and headphones, I was able to master these almost right away. For example, the press and hold touch gesture doesn’t activate Siri. Given the Pixel Buds’ price I expected big things in the audio department but I was ultimately left disappointed. Sure, more expensive true wireless earbuds will give you better sound, but they lack the deep ties to Assistant, Translate and even Android. Wired may earn a portion of sales from products that are purchased through our site as part of our Affiliate Partnerships with retailers. All rights reserved. Even the touch controls, located on the outside of each earbud, are well thought out. On specs alone, they're not remarkable. There are understandable reasons why. The buds no longer have a cable running between them, and they're tiny. However, the on-board controls force you to pick and choose what you have a tap away. Listen up Google Pixel Buds 2020 review: These AirPods competitors were worth the wait The second time around, Google dropped quirks and just made a great pair of earbuds. While the options for play/pause, skipping tracks and adjusting volume used to solely reside on the right earbud, they’re now mirrored on both sides. It’s taken Google a surprisingly long time to make good earbuds. Their mids sound cardboardy next to Sony’s. The earphones are smart and nicely-designed – but mostly it is incredible that something so small can sound so big. One thing that was consistent on the first Pixel Buds were the touch controls, and they still work well. Like the first model, the new Pixel Buds offer hands-free access to Google Assistant. Speed is key to making your lack of language knowledge less awkward, and thankfully the software/earbud combo works quickly. The new Pixel Buds come with a case that's similar in size and design to the floss-like AirPods case, though Google's is a bit more rounded with a nice matte finish instead of Apple’s shiny plastic. We want to hear what you think. The first few times I tried, there was an issue with the Translate app, but eventually I got the whole setup to work as advertised. Google’s updated Pixel Buds are a revelation compared to the previous model. The also supports wireless charging with a Qi-certified pad. It works pretty OK! The Bottom Line The Pixel Buds are perfectly decent wireless headphones with a few extra tricks for Pixel phone users -- but don't expect a "Star Trek"-style universal translator. Comfort 9. The Pixel Buds (like AirPods) will probably work exactly the way you want right out of the box. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement (updated 1/1/20) and Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement (updated 1/1/20) and Your California Privacy Rights. (. How do they stay secure in your ears? The first key difference between the two sets of Pixel Buds is that this new model is true wireless. Plenty of other options offer double that though, including the Galaxy Buds+ that are $29 cheaper. The Pixel Buds have good bass tone, but the low-end gets slightly lost in some genres like metal, electronic and hip-hop. Like the earbuds themselves, the charging case is also much smaller. It is the essential source of information and ideas that make sense of a world in constant transformation. It's better at answering questions, setting timers, sending emails and texts, and various other voice-based tasks. Indeed, the oval-shaped case is small and smooth, easily fitting in the palm of your hand or a small pocket in your bag. I almost couldn’t tell it even happened. I was able to wear these for hours and I never felt like they were more taxing than they should be. For this to be useful, the change needs to be noticeable, and perhaps coincide with a notification of some kind. To get started with a phone that’s running Android 6.0 and up, all you have to do is flip open the Pixel Buds case. If you need oodles of bass to propel you through a workout, these might not be for you. The Pixel Buds, which debuted in 2017, had a … I’m convinced that the key to such musical detail is the lack of boom in the bass. If you have a moment, read up on our in-depth Google Pixel Buds vs. Apple AirPods article. Heck, I can even use Google Assistant’s real-time language-translation tool to understand what my partner (who insists I know more Spanish than I actually do) is saying in attempts to maintain fluency in quarantine. Expensive. It's nice to have wireless charging built in (you can also use a USB-C cable). ... Google's new Pixel Buds give … Not once did the Pixel Buds mistake a triple tap for something less. And unlike more expensive models from the likes of Apple and Sony, these buds don't have any noise canceling. That’s AirPods-matching battery life, sure, but you can get earbuds that last longer for less than half the price. The breakthroughs and innovations that we uncover lead to new ways of thinking, new connections, and new industries. Like all of these others, they don’t have ANC and the 7.5-hour battery life isn’t best in class, but everything else is quite good for $180. My expectations were muted last fall when Google announced a revamped pair with the same name—this time with no wire connecting the buds, just like offerings from Apple, Samsung, and Amazon. Sweatproof. For audio quality, these are some of the best wireless earbuds I’ve tried. Now it’s time to find out just how much the company learned from its shortcomings. You might occasionally use voice commands to text someone back or ask Assistant the weather, but the vast majority of your time with the Pixel Buds will be spent listening to music. This also means they fit more snugly, and the improved seal does a better job of blocking out ambient noise. Battery life is on par with Apple’s AirPods, but it’s well below average in 2020. It’s almost pointless to review these headphones as headphones. But if you’re after a very detailed, compelling sound, you’ll have a hard time finding better earbuds without spending hundreds more. Are these the best wirefree earbuds you can buy for $179? By integrating its own special chips, Apple makes pairing, listening, and talking on the AirPods much easier than the competition. Noise canceling eats battery life and probably would have made each bud bulkier. Supports wireless charging. Editor’s note: This review was updated on September 28th, 2020 to edit certain sections for clarity and to reflect changes in pricing. The passive noise isolation (the earplug effect of the earbuds in my ears) is more than enough to block out most outside sounds, but you might want to spring for a noise-canceling pair if you're desperate for absolute silence. That means that when you wear them for the full five-hour charge time, you won't have the same annoying pain you might have after five hours of listening to the hard-tipped AirPods. They’re tremendously comfortable to wear, a delight to handle, offer plenty of battery life and come with the promise of getting better over time through Googler's Feature Drops updates. Djay Pro AI for iPad now has touchless gesture controls, WhatsApp accuses Apple of double standard on data privacy labels, Google's Health Studies app lets Android users contribute to research, Sharp's first Alexa-ready microwave ovens are optimized for popcorn. At full volume this issue starts to resolve itself, but some of us don’t want to listen to music at 100 percent volume all the time. Speaking of fit, Google replaced the cord hoop on top of the first Pixels Buds with a more traditional fin. With this software, you can get battery updates, locate the Pixel Buds if you lose ‘em and get a tutorial on the touch controls. If you buy something using links in our stories, we may earn a commission. © 2020 Verizon Media. Only five hours of battery life outside the case. Instead, the company opted for a feature called Adaptive Sound that automatically, and temporarily, adjusts the volume based on your surroundings. The earbuds themselves still have the circular shape of the originals, but they’re much smaller. They're also $179, making them $20 more than Apple's AirPods. They've got one of the more nuanced sound signatures I’ve ever heard in portable earbuds. Given the unmitigated disaster that was the first Pixel Buds, I’m thoroughly impressed. This gives the Pixel Buds a very “flat,” studio-style sound. In theory, all you should have to do is ask the Assistant to “Help me speak French” and press and hold either earbud to speak for the translation to happen. Pixel Buds 2 review: These earbuds are “much better than OK,” Google Enough quality, comfort, style, and usefulness to merit a $180 price—just barely. If you missed it the first time around, it’s a tool Google says allows you to use Conversation Mode in the Translate app to help you speak or understand over 40 languages. This helps support our journalism. The WF-1000XM3 can render vocals in a realistic manner, one that is out of the Pixel Buds’ reach. Ditto for Phantogram’s “In A Spiral.” The booming kick drum is subdued on the Pixel Buds where it’s huge and thumping on other headphones. Each bud has a long, elephant-like trunk that culminates in a cozy silicone eartip, with cute ear fins that protrude out of the top for increased stability. These second-generation true wireless earbuds look, sound, and feel better than Apple's best-selling in-ears. If you really want to use the touch controls to summon Google Assistant, you can do so with a press and hold on either earbud. Google’s new, second-gen Pixel Buds are a big improvement over the old in both concept and execution. They boast an IPX4 rating unlike AirPods, so I don’t have to worry about taking them on long, sock-testing runs in wet weather conditions. In terms of battery life, Google promises five hours on the earbuds themselves. The new true wireless Google Pixel Buds are a major upgrade on their predecessors. 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