In the weary world of true wireless earbuds, Google's new coin-operated Pixel earbuds stand out as something new and unique. They emphasize usability and hands-free operation, with full Google Assistant integration and the best automatic Android pairing yet. Among reviewers, the consensus is clear: Google Pixel Buds are a groundbreaking product.
But the Pixel Buds are not perfect. As Becca Farsace mentions in The Verge in her video review, they feel "like a first generation product". For the price, they lack common features like ANC and custom EQ options, and some reviewers complain that there isn't enough bass ̵
In this article, we continue to look at what early reviewers have to say about the Pixel Buds. But first, let's take a look at the rough specifications of the Pixel Buds:
- Small vented design with in-ear hooks
- IPX4 water resistance
- 12-millimeter speaker drivers
- Hands-free Google Assistant controls
- Adaptive sound to automatically adjust volume
- Battery for 4 or 5 hours earbuds, 24 hours battery for charging case
- Fast charge in 10 minutes for 2 hours of listening
- Charging via USB-C, Qi wireless charging  Ear Detection Pauses Music When You Pull The Knobs
Okay, let's get into the weeds. Here's what early reviewers have to say about the new Pixel Buds.
The best hands-free and touch control
Google is the king of smart speakers, and the company's experience with products like the Google Nest Mini has clearly influenced its approach to the Pixel Buds. In a way, the Pixel Buds are like a portable version of the Google Nest Mini, with hands-free Google Assistant and intuitive touch controls. They also have auto pairing and Adaptive Sound features, which reduce the time you spend fidgeting with your phone.
Full hands-free Google Assistant integration is the prominent feature here, and I think Becca Farsace best describes it in her video for The Verge :
Coming from the Google-connected world in which I already alive, i'm so used to calling commands to the assistant without touching anything. So on the way, I set alarms, replied to text messages, changed the song, changed the playlist, and even turned on the lights while I was cycling to my house, all without touching a single thing.
Even if you're not a big Google Assistant fan with a decked-out smart home, hands-free assistant is groundbreaking. You don't have to scramble to your phone or press and hold the side of your earbuds to write a quick reminder or send a quick text message. In addition, hands-free controls can prevent you from touching your face or phone while in public – a feature that seems invaluable during a global pandemic.
Google's robust touch and gesture controls are also quite impressive, especially for people who don't want to use Assistant for any volume adjustment or song skipping. These touch controls are similar to what you'll find in a Google Nest Hub, and they translate well to the Pixel Buds. Sherri L. Smith of LaptopMag says the Pixel Buds' touch controls are "the best way to customize the touch controls of wireless earbuds I've been allowed to use," and most reviewers agree.
Here's a short paragraph by Todd Haselton at CNBC explaining how the touch controls work:
I like that I can easily control the volume by sliding my finger forward or backward over the left or right pod . When I tap it once I get notifications. That touch control also extends to calls and music control. A single tap answers or ends a call. A double tap skips numbers forward and a triple tap skips numbers back.
And of course, the Pixel Buds have automatic pairing and Adaptive Sound functions. According to reviewers, the automatic pairing works as expected: just open the Pixel Buds case next to an Android 6.0 phone, hit a notification and you're good to go. But Adaptive Sound is, in the words of Sherri L. Smith, "quite subtle." As your environment gets louder, the Pixel Buds turn up the volume "just enough to gently mute the sound." Most reviewers note that Adaptive Sound is a weak substitute for ANC – a feature not available on the Pixel Buds.
High quality sound, but nothing groundbreaking
Reviewers seem divided about the sound quality of the Pixel Buds. Most agree that the sound is clear and crisp, with a good separation between high and low and none of the annoying muddy you'll find in cheaper earbuds, but due to the Pixel Buds' small form factor and lack of ANC, they don't reach the audiophile level of devices like the Sony WF-1000XM3 or the Jabra Elite 75t.  I think MrMobile says everything you need to know in his video review:
I'm like most people with my audio, I know what sounds good and I know what sounds thin. [The Pixel Buds] are the first. They get rich and they get loud.
The only serious complaint about the sound quality I've seen comes from Chris Welch in The Verge, who notes that the "bass is the weakness of these earplugs" and that "low end won't be exciting if you mainly listen to EDM, funk, metal or other genres that are heavy on bass. ”Engadget's Billy Steele echoes this claim, stating that“ low-end gets a little lost in some genres like metal, electronic and hip hop. ”Of course, if you prefer to a clear sound above the bass-heavy tone of some modern speakers, this may be more of a function than an error.
Google Could Add EQ Controls To The Pixel Buds With A Future Software Update, Some Complaints About Bass But at the moment, the company has not yet published any plans to do so.
One final note: reviewers spend a lot of effort talking about the beamforming microphones and accele rators of the Pixel Bud. This beautiful technology helps the earbuds maintain consistent call quality, and you can see it in action during Becca Farsace's video review. From what I've seen, the microphone quality of these earbuds isn't all that special, but it's acceptable for voice or video calls.
A small form factor, acceptable battery life
The Pixel Buds have an incredibly small form factor comparable to the AirPods. But unlike most earplugs, they actually look pretty cool. They come in a variety of colors, they don't protrude too far from your ear, and their charging case is fairly discreet. Most reviewers note that the Pixel Buds remain in your ear during exercise or changing, which is rare during a review of an earplug.
Here's a line from the MrMobile review that caught my eye:
[The Pixel Buds case] takes the Pixel 4's matte finish a step further in the eggshell area – in fact, it really feels like an egg. It's much thinner than egg, of course, you can even put it in a coin pouch, and despite that small size, it has a battery that can charge the buds more than four times.
Surprisingly, MrMobile is one of the few reviewers. which says something nice about the battery life of the Pixel Buds. With a lifespan of the buttons of 4 to 5 hours and 24 hours of extra power from the charging case, the Pixel Buds are technically outdated. Products with similar prices, such as the Jabra Elite 7t, have a 7 or 8 hour life, with an additional 28 to 30 hours out of the case. Even cheaper earbuds, like the $ 80 Creative Outlier Air, have a larger battery than the Pixel Buds.
But to be honest, a lifespan of 4 to 5 hours is fine for many people. Even if you empty the Pixel Buds during a Netflix binge or an exceptionally long workout, a quick 10-minute charge will give you 2 hours of extra playtime, so it's not that big of a deal as some people claim to be  The Gist: Premium Earbuds for the Masses
I think the Pixel Buds will appeal to a wide range of people as they appeal to the common address problems people experience when using wireless earbuds. They can work hands-free, so you don't have to take your phone off. They are small and stylish and will not fall out of your ear or make you look like an idiot. And with full Google Assistant integration, they're the only serious pair of earbuds for crazy smart home fans.
The issues reviewers have with the Pixel Buds, such as limited bass response or 4 to 5 hours of battery life, are usually cited as a footnote to some form of praise. So if you're an average person who wants a good pair of earplugs, I wouldn't take these complaints to heart.
But if you're an audiophile or someone who listens to music for 6 hours, then you should seriously consider these complaints before buying the Pixel Buds. Similarly priced earbuds, like the Jabra Elite 75, may offer the sound and battery life you're looking for. But of course you miss the form factor and hands-free operation of the Pixel Buds.
Cited Reviews: CNBC, Engadget, LaptopMag, MrMobile (YouTube), The Verge, The Verge (YouTube)