The all-new Google Pixel Buds are probably the most enjoyable wireless headphones I’ve ever used. They have a unique design, great sound and are highly innovative with the Google voice and touch features. But even with all these great selling points, it doesn’t mean they’re without a few issues and annoyances.
First off, Google Assistant, which is one of the main selling points for the headphones, only will function on phones using Android Marshmallow or newer. And the Star Trek-esque Google Translate functionality that allows you to translate foreign languages on the go only works with Google Pixel phones. So, if you are thinking about purchasing these headphones for these specific features, just make sure your operating system and device meet the requirements.
So, if you’ve recently bought a brand-new Google smartphone (you can read my review on the Google Pixel 2 XL here) and are looking to own a pair of headphones that not only match, but take advantage of all the latest features, they might be worth dropping the $249.
Design & Build:
The Pixel Buds come in a fabric covered clamshell case that packs away nicely and keeps the headphones protected for when you want to throw them in your bag. This case also serves as the charger, where it has USB-C port (Cable included) and has a small LED indicator that displays the battery life.
The woven cable that attaches the buds to each other feels high quality and durable and is used to adjust the fit within your ear by increasing or reducing the size of the loop at the earbud. They are rubber coated and feel quite comfortable in the ear, but this may not be the case for everyone, especially if you have smaller than average ears. And if you are looking for a wireless set of earbuds that aren’t too bulky or ridiculous looking, I would highly recommend these over some of the chunkier competitors.
These headphones are packed with a handful of voice and swipe related controls that make them quite unique in their own way. You can access your phone and make a number of commands by holding your finger over the right earbud and speaking to Google Assistant. The second set of commands can be triggered by directionally swiping the right earbud to up the volume, pause or access notifications. I will say that there is one issue that stands out related to the touch controls on the earbud, which usually comes when I adjust the earbud I can accidentally pause my music or accidentally trigger Google Assistant to read out my notifications.
The sound on these are pretty top notch, but I do believe that if you are looking for sheer performance and none of the other previously mentioned features, you can do better for potentially less. However, if you are looking for a set of strong all-around headphones with a crisp microphone and futuristic controls these are a great choice. The battery life is incredible and makes these stand out above the competition, where I can go about a day and a half of use without recharging and definitely allows them to keep up with the great battery life of the Google Pixel 2 XL.
If you are looking for a great everyday set of wireless earbuds that work great in every one of your daily activities with some futuristic functionality, then these are what you are looking for. If you are looking for something cheaper and aren’t so worried about anything beyond listening to music and don’t need 24 hours of battery life, then you may want to shop around.