Google introduced the Google Pixel Buds in October 2017 at a Made by Google launch event. They were immediately available for pre-order at this event, and the consumers initially give negative reviews about them. With thorough updates, Google has addressed some of the pressing issues that initial reviewers had with the product.
The Google Pixel Buds offer a lot of technologically-advanced features that similar products on the market do not possess. The most predominant of which is the inclusion of the Google Assistant. This smart voice assistant can control your music, answer questions, read your notifications 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. They need to tap or swipe their fingers on the right earbud. It eliminates the need always 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.
Keep reading our in-depth Google Pixel Buds review to find out if it is worth the investment.
-Low profile enough to sleep with
-Google Assistant functionality
-Long battery life
-Seamless pairing process
-Customized fitting buds
-No charge indicator
-Sensitive touch controls
-Limited iOS functionality
Because of the custom fit that the buds offer each user, consumers should find that the buds will not fall out even during dynamic movements.
Because of this design choice, the Google Pixel Buds are not considered noise-canceling earbuds. But that doesn’t seem to hold them back, as they strike a delicate balance between isolated music listening and ambient awareness.
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 Google Pixel Buds is that users can operate the controls with both their voice and touch commands.
All of the electronics for this function are 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 Google Pixel Buds were first released, but Google recently updated the system to include this option.
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 Google Pixel Buds as they offer a vast 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 Google Pixel Buds offer clear highs, and even though they sit outside of the ear canal, they provide full sound delivery. Some reviewers found that the earbuds didn’t give 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.
By touching and holding the right earbud, users can 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 anything in between, you’ll always have the vital 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.
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 always. 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 Google Pixel Buds a comfortable option just by design.
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 Google 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.”
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. Also, users said that they had problems pairing the buds and others found that they had difficulties with the charging process.
The Google 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. No indicator light lets you know if the buds are charging or not and some users found that to be a cause of frustration.
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 move in just the wrong way, they will stop charging.
We think if you’re an Android and Google fan, you’ll like the features that you’ll have access to with the Google 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.
-One-touch control for audio
-Google Translate feature for Pixel and Pixel 2 smartphone users
-Inline volume control
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 an excellent option to have.
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. It's a problem that Google will need to address in the future if they don’t redesign the charging case.
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 straightforward process, perfect for folks who can’t be bothered to deal with fussy technology.
On the downside, the Google 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.