Google Pixel Buds

8.5
8.5 score
[Editors rating (8.5)] = Runnerclick score (8.5)/10

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Editor rating: 8.5 / 10
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Google Pixel Buds Review Facts
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The Google Pixel Buds were introduced in October 2017 at a Made by Google launch event. They were immediately available for pre-order at this event and were initially met with negative reviews from consumers. With thorough updates, however, Google has addressed some of the pressing issues that initial reviewers had with the product, such as the bud’s inability to skip tracks through the touch function.

The Pixel Buds offer a lot of unique and technologically-advanced features that similar products on the market are just not fit to. The most predominant of which is the inclusion of the Google Assistant. This smart voice assistant can control your music, answer questions you have, read your notifications among other helpful functions just through the voice control. They feature an intuitive one-touch control that allows users to change their music, adjust the volume, answer calls and more by just tapping or swiping their fingers on the right earbud. This eliminates the need to always have to have your phone nearby to access these simple functions.

The Pixel Buds are Google’s version of Apple’s Air Pods, but do they perform as well? Let’s take a closer look to see what the buds can offer users.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros

-Low profile enough to sleep with

-Google Assistant functionality

-Long battery life

-Seamless pairing process

-Charging case

-Customized fitting buds

Cons

-No charge indicator

-Sensitive touch controls

-Limited iOS functionality

Activities
Activities

Activities

Because users don’t need wires to connect the Pixel Buds to their smartphones, they’re free to do nearly anything while listening to their favorite music or podcasts. Users reported working out and participating in sports while wearing these without any issues. Because of the custom fit that the buds offer each individual user, consumers should find that the buds will not fall out even during vigorous movements.
Basic Features
Basic Features

Basic Features

The Pixel Buds feature a built-in microphone as well as an inline volume control. This means that you will be able to converse with your friends and family with ease via your earbuds and control the volume without having to reach for your smartphone. These earbuds are considered to be “semi-occluded” which simply means that they do not seal off your ear canal, but instead just sit near it. Because of this design choice, the Pixel Buds are not considered noise-canceling earbuds. But that doesn’t seem to hold them back, as they strike a nice balance between isolated music listening and ambient awareness.
Advanced Features
Advanced Features

Advanced Features

As we will go more in-depth into our connectivity section, the Pixel Buds have a very handy Google Assistant feature. With this Assistant comes access to Google Translate. This handy feature allows users to translate forty different languages with just the touch of a button. There are limitations, however. The Translate function only works for users of the Google Pixel and Google Pixel 2 smartphones.

Another handy feature of the Pixel Buds is that users can operate the controls with both their voice and touch commands. All of the electronics for this function are housed in the right earbud. To pause or play your music or to pick up a call, all users need to do is tap once on the earbud. To control volume, wearers can use a forward or backward swipe, while double tapping the bud will allow access to notifications. Some users were initially upset that there was no ‘skip track’ option when the Pixel Buds were first released, but Google recently updated the system to include this option.
Sound Quality
Sound Quality

Sound Quality

Because you’re not placing the earbuds deep in your ears, there is no annoying noise transference from the cord back to your ears. Users should find that the Google Pixel Buds don’t give any scratchy inference in the audio while they’re performing their daily activities from commuting to running to work. There were some issues with ambient noise getting in, but this can be remedied by turning up the volume, which is not a problem for the Pixel Buds as they offer a great range. These head buds are “semi-occluded” which means that they don’t seal off your ear canal and aren’t considered to be noise-canceling.

The Pixel Buds offer clear highs and despite the fact that they sit outside of the ear canal, they provide full sound delivery. Some reviewers found that the earbuds didn’t provide the booming bass or edgy treble sounds that they prefer in a headphone. They also lack the punchier sound of other headphones on the market, but these drawbacks may only be noticeable by true audiophiles.
Connectivity
Connectivity

Connectivity

The Google Pixel Buds use Bluetooth to connect to your devices. The ability to pair your headphones and electrics via Bluetooth is incredibly convenient and simple enough to do. Stay connected with your friends and family with the help of the Google Assistant. By touching and holding the right earbud, users are able to access a world of information via the Assistant. Find out the weather, call your parents, manage your appointments, control your smart home enabled technology and basically anything in between, you’ll always have the important information at your fingertips. Unfortunately, as you may have already figured out, the Google Assistant functions are only compatible with Android devices using Marshmallow or higher, so iOS and other operating system users will most likely not find these head buds to be the right ones for them if the Assistant was a big selling point.
Comfort
Comfort

Comfort

If there is one outstanding feature of the Google Pixel Buds, it’s the comfort and customizable fit that they provide users. Instead of outfitting the buds with uncomfortable silicone pieces that stick in your ear and accumulate ear wax, Google opted for a unique design that caters to each user's specific anatomical ear shape. This means that everyone is able to adjust the product to their own ear anatomy. Some users may find there to be a bit of a learning curve with getting that figured out, but it’s quite simple to do once you get the hang of it. The buds themselves are very light and settle in the ears gently. All this said, the Google Pixel Buds are not a wireless headphone and some users may not like having the cord on the back of their neck constantly. We didn’t find this to be a deal breaker for us, however. The unique design of the buds make them compatible with many different ear shapes and sizes, making the Pixel Buds a comfortable option just by design.
Style
Style

Style

The Pixel Buds feature a unique and unorthodox design that is unlike a lot of other headphones and earbuds on the market. They have a shallow earbud made from a type of hard plastic. Attached to the bud is a small loop of cord that helps the earbud to fit snuggly inside of your ear. While these are technically considered to be neck buds as they sit around your neck and aren’t truly wireless, the style of the Pixel Buds is still convenient and comfortable. They come in colors that will match the Google Pixel 2 smartphone – black, white or a color Google calls “kinda blue.”
Durability
Durability

Durability

If there is one thing that Google offers users of their products and services, it’s a high-quality and well-made product. We didn’t read one single review during our research that made mention of the Pixel Buds breaking down at all. They are incredibly well-made and durable.
Ease of Use
Ease of Use

Ease of Use

Thanks to Google’s hand Gestures that allow the earbuds to be controlled either by tapping or using your voice, most users found the Pixel Buds to be incredibly easy to operate. Some might find the learning curve of remembering how many taps it takes to perform which function to be a bit much at first, but with time it becomes second nature. Some users found that the tap functions were too sensitive and that their music or podcasts would play on their own after being slightly jostled in their bag or purse. Some users said that they had problems pairing the buds and others found that they had difficulties with the charging process. The Pixel Buds come with a charging case and there seems to be a bit of a learning curve in getting the buds in there just right to charge. Also, there is no indicator light that lets you know if the buds are charging or not and some users found that to be a cause of frustration.
Power Source
Power Source

Power Source

The Pixel Buds use a lithium-ion battery that is rechargeable and is supposed to last for about five hours. The charging case holds multiple charges itself so you are able to get up to 24 hours of audio. Most of the reviews we read praise the battery life of these earbuds. There does seem to be a pretty common problem, however, and it lies within the charging case that is required to charge the buds. It sounds simple enough in theory – place the buds in and the LED light will blink to show the battery level. But it seems that even a slight jostling of the earbuds and the charge will disconnect. There is no charge indicator light so you cannot tell if the buds are charging. If they come loose or are moved in just the wrong way, they will stop charging and you’ll be stuck without a charge.
Price
Price

Price

The MSRP for the Google Pixel Buds is $159.00. We believe you would be able to find the buds on sale for a little bit cheaper if you search the internet. Are they worth that price tag, however? We think if you’re an Android and Google fan, you’ll like the features that you’ll have access to with the Pixel Buds. Access to the Google Assistant is a huge benefit for a lot of people and that alone might make the hefty price tag worth it for some users.
Key Features
Key Features

Key Features

-Access to the Google Assistant
-One-touch control for audio
-Google Translate feature for Pixel and Pixel 2 smartphone users
-Chargeable case
-Inline volume control
Bottom Line
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

Do the Google Pixel Buds compare to the Apple Air Pods? Let’s see. They are a great accompaniment if you’re already an Android, Google Pixel or Pixel 2 smartphone user. The Translate function is a fantastic addition that is sure to please users who have been bitten by the travel bug. The Google Assistant is incredibly handy and having access to your phone notifications from the earbud is a great option to have. People who can’t stand having the silicone pieces inside their ear will surely love the design and customized fit they will get from the Pixel Buds. The Bluetooth pairing is a fast and simple process, perfect for folks who can’t be bothered to deal with fussy technology.

On the downside, the Pixel Buds aren’t necessarily the best sounding earbuds available on the market. Audiophiles will likely be less than impressed, but the average layperson will probably find that the buds perform just as well as expected for a non-noise canceling option. The problem with the charging system is difficult for a lot of consumers to get over, however. No one wants to be stuck on their daily commute with headphones that aren’t charged, especially after they’ve sat in the charging base all day. This is a problem that Google will need to address in the future if they don’t redesign the charging case.