Google announced its second-generation Assistant headphones last October, but set retail availability for Spring 2020. After some false starts, the new Google Pixel Buds are now available to purchase from the US Google Store.
Compared to the 2017 model, Google’s second iteration is truly wireless with no fabric cord connecting the earbuds. The touch-sensitive surface is still round with swipes adjusting volume and taps to play/pause.
Scanning thousands of ears for reference, Google built a “three point anchor system” to keep Pixel Buds flush and secured “even when working out.” It starts with a “stabilizer arc” that aligns to the outer curvature of your ear, while the “retention curve” matches the ear’s bottom valley. Interchangeable soft-fit eartips round out that design, while the “spatial vent” prevents the “plugged-ear feeling” feeling and lets users hear their surroundings
Inside, Google packed 12mm dynamic speaker drivers and sweat/water resistance. Two microphones in each bud work to suppress background noise, while a voice accelerometer detects speech through the vibrations of your jawbone.
There are five hours of listening time on a single charge, while the egg-shaped charging case provides 24 hours. Wireless charging compliments USB-C, with the sleek package a great improvement over the previous bulbous, fabric-covered case.
Google says the Pixel Buds will remain connected even if your paired Bluetooth 4.0+ device is “three rooms away indoors or a football field-distance away outdoors.” Android 6.0+ phones benefit from Fast Pair, Find My Device, and a notification that lists the battery percentage for each component. That said, they’ll work as regular headphones on iOS and most computers.
The Assistant experience starts with “Hey Google” for quick commands and real-time translation, while Adaptive Sound automatically adjusts volume as you move from quiet to loud environments.
They are available from the Google Store for $179 in four colors, though the portion inside your ear is black: Oh So Orange, Clearly White, Quite Mint, and Almost Black. Only Clearly White is available right now in the US.
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