Google Pixel Buds

5.9/10 AVG.
RATING

  • Google Pixel Buds
  • Google Pixel Buds
  • Google Pixel Buds
  • Google Pixel Buds

They're a $159 experiment that doesn't live up to the hype.

- Chris Velazco, Engadget 


Google’s shot at the future of earphones is admirable, but misses the mark.

- Vaughn Highfield, Expert Reviews 

Specs / Features


Specification

Overview
Type In-Ear
Volume Control Yes
Playback Control Yes
Noise Canceling No
Brand Google
Size 2 x 2 x 2 cm (0.8 x 0.8 x 0.8 in)
Weight 13.9 grams
(0.49 ounces)

The "1-Minute" Review

What's good

  • Great battery life
  • Good audio quality in quiet rooms
  • Quick and easy access to Google Assistant

What's bad

  • Doesn’t block out external noise
  • The cord between earbuds often catches on clothes
  • Touch controls too sensitive
  • Translation option currently too rudimentary

As more phones, including Google's own Pixel 2, forgo the standard 3.5mm headphone jack, wireless headphones are slowly shifting from premium accessory to must-haves. Google's latest offering, the Pixel Buds, offer a wireless experience with a couple additional perks for those already in the Google ecosystem.

Unlike the AirPods or Bragi The Dash Pro, the Pixel Buds aren’t completely wireless. There’s a cable that connects the two earbuds together. For some, this additional piece of cable proved to be a hindrance as it got caught on their clothes. To make matters worse, there's no clip on the cord to attach it to your shirt or another article of clothing to keep it out the way.

The buds themselves are unassuming with their small form factor and black color. Rather than sliding into your ear canal, these rest in the outer ear. This means they won't block outside noise as well as in-ear buds. Although this might be useful while walking around, it’s not so great if you want to concentrate on the music or podcast you're playing.

The right bud offers touch controls to control volume and playback without having to find an inline controller or look at your phone. A tap can pause, play, or pick up a call. A forward or backward swipe will raise or lower the volume.

You can even trigger Google Assistant by holding your finger to the right earbud and talking. It’s a fun and easy way to do things like skip songs and respond to messages. Sadly, not all apps support voice control playback, such as the Apple Music Android app.

According to reviewers, the touch controls work almost too well. They often experienced accidental taps and swipes when trying to control their music.

The biggest oversight they found was that the buds don’t recognize whether they are in your ear.. So there they would often trigger touch controls when trying to stow the buds in the case or when it was dangling from their neck.

In terms of performance, experts found the sound profile good overall with a warm presentation, rich tones, and good depth when listening in a quiet room.

Unfortunately, when in louder locations, the background noise seeped in and required reviewers to crank the volume thanks to the earbud's open-air design. Even at max volume, they often struggled to hear their music.

However, audio quality isn't Google's focus. The earbuds include a unique feature—real-time translation. In theory, you can tap the buds and speak. The earbuds will then will read your words back in another language.

While great in theory, it fell short due to Google Translate’s own shortcomings in real-world use. Although it handled basic sentences and conversations, the translations often came off very simplistic and lacked nuance.

Good enough for use in a pinch or for basic tourist functions. But you'll sound far from fluent.

Battery life impressed with the buds lasting through 5 hours of continuous usage on a single charge. With intermittent use, reviewers found they'd last about 8 hours before needing to top up again.

Reviewers appreciate the forward-thinking features of the Pixel Buds, but have a hard time recommending it due to its drawbacks. Engadget states, “At best, they’re decent; at worst, they feel unfinished.” The Verge adds, “... this is a first-generation product in the bad kind of way, and it looks even worse when you compare it to Apple’s growing success with the AirPods.”

Critic Reviews


What Hi-Fi

Plenty of work to do if they want to be our best buds

The Pixel Buds stand out because they’re Google-powered and can draw on some neat features from the tech behemoth’s arsenal, including the smart assistant and language translation. But while these are worthy additions, you don’t strictly need the Pixel Buds to use them.

Read full review

The Pixel Buds stand out because they’re Google-powered and can draw on some neat features from the tech behemoth’s arsenal, including the smart assistant and language translation. But while these are worthy additions, you don’t strictly need the Pixel Buds to use them.

Read full review

Less

Business Insider

Less appealing than ever before

from Business Insider

Wondering if the sound is any good on Google's Pixel Buds? It's perfectly fine, but that's besides the point when literally everything else about the experience is subpar.

Read full review

Wondering if the sound is any good on Google's Pixel Buds? It's perfectly fine, but that's besides the point when literally everything else about the experience is subpar.

Read full review

Less

Android Central

Wireless, but still encumbered

from Android Central

If the Pixel Buds were less expensive, perhaps $79, I could look past the cumbersome touch controls, useless translation feature and questionable "smart" functionality. But if you take away all of the advertised advanced features Google advertises with the Pixel Buds, charging $159 for what are t...More

If the Pixel Buds were less expensive, perhaps $79, I could look past the cumbersome touch controls, useless translation feature and questionable "smart" functionality. But if you take away all of the advertised advanced features Google advertises with the Pixel Buds, charging $159 for what are then essentially dumb Bluetooth earbuds is a tough ask.

Read full review

Less

Good Gear Guide

There are a lot of great ideas here. Unfortunately, they’re let down by the hardware.

from Good Gear Guide

Compared to the rock-solid hardware they share their branding with, Google’s Pixel Buds are unequivocally a bit disappointing. They’re not comfortable to wear, they don’t sound particularly great and the even the headline act of real-time translation isn’t quite all it's cracked up to be, nor is it really exclusive to the Pixel P.

Read full review

Compared to the rock-solid hardware they share their branding with, Google’s Pixel Buds are unequivocally a bit disappointing. They’re not comfortable to wear, they don’t sound particularly great and the even the headline act of real-time translation isn’t quite all it's cracked up to be, nor is it really exclusive to the Pixel P.

Read full review

Less

Coolsmartphone

A decent pair of headphones with Google features

from Coolsmartphone

I was pleasantly surprised at the great audio quality and how handy it was having the assistant in my ear instead of having to take out my phone all the time.

Read full review

I was pleasantly surprised at the great audio quality and how handy it was having the assistant in my ear instead of having to take out my phone all the time.

Read full review

Less

TrustedReviews

Unrefined and difficult to recommend overall

from TrustedReviews

The Pixel Buds are an ambitious attempt at high-tech headphones but they’re poorly executed and limited by a need for a Pixel phone if you want to use them to their full potential.

Read full review

The Pixel Buds are an ambitious attempt at high-tech headphones but they’re poorly executed and limited by a need for a Pixel phone if you want to use them to their full potential.

Read full review

Less

Daily Express

These are NOT the wireless earbuds that Pixel 2 owners deserve

from Daily Express

Google Pixel Buds are a little disappointing. Despite a slick design and some genuine moments of brilliance, the Pixel Buds are plagued by some baffling choices.

Read full review

Google Pixel Buds are a little disappointing. Despite a slick design and some genuine moments of brilliance, the Pixel Buds are plagued by some baffling choices.

Read full review

Less

TechieLobang

A well balance product

from TechieLobang

Overall, a well-balanced product. If you need just a headphone, there are many other choices out there. But if you need a headphone with integrated Google Assistant Service to match your Pixel phone, this will be the one you need to get.

Read full review

Overall, a well-balanced product. If you need just a headphone, there are many other choices out there. But if you need a headphone with integrated Google Assistant Service to match your Pixel phone, this will be the one you need to get.

Read full review

Less

Know Your Mobile

Beyond disappointing

from Know Your Mobile

Terrible. I wanted to love these headphones, but the reality of using them is just one depressing event after the other. The battery sucks, the sound quality sucks, they’re uncomfortable and they cannot translate language in real-time.

Read full review

Terrible. I wanted to love these headphones, but the reality of using them is just one depressing event after the other. The battery sucks, the sound quality sucks, they’re uncomfortable and they cannot translate language in real-time.

Read full review

Less

Pocket-lint

More like Pixel duds

from Pocket-lint

On one hand, Pixel Buds offer a decent Google Assistant experience. On the other hand, they're frustratingly designed, don't sound great, and don't deliver on the potential of their real-time translation headline feature.

Read full review

On one hand, Pixel Buds offer a decent Google Assistant experience. On the other hand, they're frustratingly designed, don't sound great, and don't deliver on the potential of their real-time translation headline feature.

Read full review

Less

User Reviews


Darn, there are no reviews yet for this accessory. Be the first to write a review.

Resources


Review Sources and Citations Share / Embed

You can share this accessory with friends or embed the reviews widget on your website.

Q&A Forum


No questions for the moment.

Videos