Google has launched Google Pixel Buds 2020, and this time they’ve done everything ok, just how it should be. While some might say they’re an upgrade to their predecessors that were launched in 2017, I can reckon that it’s a genuine example of rebirth. The market for wireless headphones is relentlessly well-stocked with a number of quality and not-so-great models, and now we’ve got the new Pixel Buds which land firmly in the quality list. 

Initially, Pixel Buds launched in 2017 and were created to dispute the notion of functionality over convenience. However, a nylon cord is not a convenience, and if destiny says you’ll lose your headphones, it’s going to happen cord or no. Moreover, the connecting cable between the two buds was a real annoying, acute pain in my head. There are two reasons to say that: it’s easier to tie a knot rather than wrap the cord into the special case; the second reason — you have to pay double the attention while closing the case because the cable could prevent it from proper shuttering.

Nevertheless, they have shown to be as always-listening as Google Assistant, and this is what has made them unique!

Bits and Bobs about Pixel Buds

The physical part

Frankly speaking, I don’t really understand why it took so long to create such a gentle and not disturbing design. Perhaps Google gave several months out to their designers and engineers to weave gentleness and chiсness that went into the new Pixel Buds. Finally, there is nothing that can bother you: not their size, like Samsung Buds; nor extra details like AirPods’ tail.

Image credit: ktc.ua

The disc-like look of Pixel Buds remains invisible and compassionate, they aren’t popping out and almost perfectly merge with the form of your ears. Plus, they are extremely light so you won’t be tired from hours of listening because there is no drugging effect, which I feel when wearing Samsung Buds and other similar earbuds.

However, there is one thing which can either strike awe or upset in you — the lack of noise a cancelation function. This might just be a troubleshooting problem, but not in this case, because Google’s Pixel Buds’ body comes in three parts: the weight, overall size, and the vent. The vent is considered to diminish the vacuum feeling, and because of this, it lets background noises in. 

But the subjective point of view will compete with functionality because the feeling of a vacuum in your ears is an annoying peculiarity of wireless earbuds. The feeling like you’re deep underwater doesn’t vanish with Pixel Buds, but it is truly reduced.

Google has achieved such generous results in the convenience of their product by scanning thousands of ears to develop the best possible design, as 9to5Google explain in their review.

The headset is not the only thing that deserved a rebirth; as we can see, the case is totally redesigned to be able to sit comfortably in the palm of your hand or in your pocket. The egg-shaped box is pleasant to touch because of the white matt material, and it doesn’t go without a reflective clicking sound when closing the case.

The case is equipped with a USB Type-C port for charging and, as a nice bonus, goes together with a wireless charging module. But, the opportunity to use it will not come too soon because according to SoundGuys, who clocked up 6 hours and 8 minutes of playtime with Google Pixel Buds on a single charge, when putting the buds back in the case for 10 minutes you’ll get two hours more listening. Meanwhile, the case provides an additional 24 hours of listening which means it takes time to discharge them.

Functions > Sound

Touch gestures

I remember a special headset for phones where you could use clicks to manage your listening: one click pause/resume, click twice for the next song, etc. Today, the only thing better than touch gestures as to be voice commands, but that’s a separate story. 

Wireless earbuds have got all of the standard general functions, however, the vast majority of companies don’t leave the matter there. Google, took the accuracy of touch to a new level; by cutting down the size of their new model they’ve shortened the space for gestures to recognize your moves. To my mind, it’ll be managed with software updates.

Always on Google Assistant

Pixel Buds are more like a smart home hub on the go, because of the always switched on Google Assistant managed through simple voice commands that you can control with your headphones. You can call your take away with the voice assistant by saying “Hey, Google”. It’s even more useful because you can misclick a gesture, but you can’t misspell your command – well, actually you can, but only in certain circumstances. Unfortunately, we haven’t had the opportunity to test the connection utility of Google Assistant in the places where the Bluetooth signal can be disconnected.

Adaptive sound

It is another useful function we can’t test because of the quarantine. Look, the point of this feature is very close to the adaptive screen brightness on the phone. Pixel Buds assimilate to the outdoor noise by increasing or decreasing the volume, of course within permissible measures.

Sound quality

I thought it was a kind of glitch in my ears or I wasn’t understanding something. The sound is quite average, or in the other words it is good, and that’s all. Along with my thought comes a number of other views and they all say the same thing. The bass doesn’t give you as much energy boost as it should, but it is way better than Apple’s AirPods. 

Unfortunately, there’s no manual adjustment of the sound yet; as a result you’ll be a hostage of the same settings for an unknown time.

Do you remember the vent I went through before? I am not surprised that Google has added the adaptive audio feature without understanding that it will be a very necessary function.

Wrapping up

The Google Pixel Buds are available in four colors — Oh So Orange, Clearly White, Quite Mint, and Almost Black, but you need to join a waiting list or wish list, as only the white option is available as it stands. You can order new headphones for $179 on the official website. The price tag is still exaggerated for headphones, but it’s sufficiently justified by the number of functions. 

Pretty sweetie. Image credit: androidcentral.com

For my final thoughts, I’ll recommend the Pixel Buds to all my friends because I am a fan of their design solution. In the same time, I’m not pleased with the quality of the sound, but it’s not because it is Pixel Buds, but because I got used to wired headphones, and have the opinion that they are much better than their wireless siblings.