May 25, 2024


The Internet Generation

Google Pixel Buds 2 review: These AirPods competitors are the real deal

When Google unveiled its new genuine wireless Pixel Buds two ($179) very last October, they appeared like a large improve more than the first versions. The Pixel Buds, which debuted in 2017, experienced a twine among them and attained decidedly combined testimonials many thanks to their crazy Mentos-esque style and middling sound. But at the 2019 launch party for the new Buds, the prototype versions were not doing the job, so we were being left pondering how they sounded and executed.

Table of Contents


  • Improved match with stabilizing fin
  • Hands-no cost Assistant and Translate characteristic
  • Quite fantastic sound for genuine wireless
  • Outstanding phone good quality
  • Wonderful charging case with wireless and USB-C charging
  • IPX4 sweat-resistant (splashproof)

Really don’t Like

  • No energetic noise-canceling or transparency
  • Battery everyday living isn’t stellar at 5 several hours
  • Not really as at ease as some rivals
  • More options you should not operate with iOS units

Numerous months on, I’ve gotten my hands on a pair and can fix the mystery: They sound really fantastic, execute nicely and are worthy contenders in the top quality genuine wireless earbuds arena, especially for Android buyers. (They officially hit stores on Monday in white — black, mint and orange shades will arrive later. British isles and Australian selling prices are not nonetheless accessible, but $179 converts to about £145 or AU$275.)

The Pixel Buds will appear in 4 shade solutions, but at launch, only white will be accessible.

David Carnoy/CNET

Sure, the wearable Mentos look has returned, but I like the way the stabilizing fin — Google phone calls it an “arc” — has been built-in into the style. With a minimal clockwise convert the buds (5.three grams or .19 ounces every) twist securely in place, scarcely sticking out from my ears. Although the first Pixel Buds experienced an open up style like the regular AirPods, these have a noise-isolating style, which usually means the ear suggestions get jammed into your ears, sealing them off to the outdoors environment. (It can be important to get a limited seal to increase sound good quality.)

You do get decent passive noise muffling but these you should not offer energetic noise-canceling like the AirPods Pro, Sony WF-1000XM3, Sennheiser Momentum Genuine Wireless two and an growing range of genuine wireless earbuds. Some of the Pixel Buds’ closest competitors would be the Galaxy Buds Furthermore ($a hundred and fifty) and the Jabra Elite 75t ($one hundred eighty). I did locate people two versions somewhat far more at ease to dress in more than longer listening periods and how you ultimately really feel about the match will rely on the condition of your ear. But the new Pixel Buds need to match most ears nicely.


The Mentos-formed buds you should not stick out from your ears way too far. 

David Carnoy/CNET

Aside from their enhanced style and match more than the first Pixel Buds, a couple matters stand out. Initially, the fifty six.1-gram wireless charging case (with USB-C charging port) is definitely nice. It can be compact, feels reliable in your hand and has a sleek matte complete. I liked it better than the AirPods’ case and it feels far more top quality than Galaxy Buds Plus’ case. Also, the buds are easy to get in and out of it, adhering magnetically to their charging contacts.

These are also the initial Google Assistant “hotword-enabled” earbuds. If you have an Android unit working Android 6. or better, you can just say, “Hey, Google,” or, “Alright, Google,” and Google Assistant is ready to answer to your voice instructions. The AirPods and Beats Powerbeats Pro have constantly-on, hands-no cost Siri and Amazon’s Echo Buds have the same characteristic for Alexa.

With new audio devices-on-a-chip from Qualcomm, hands-no cost obtain to digital assistants will appear to far more genuine wireless earbuds later this calendar year, but for now it’s quite abnormal. It labored really nicely with the Google Pixel 4 XL I was utilizing for this review, with Google Assistant responding swiftly to my voice instructions. (You can also obtain Assistant by tapping and holding the right or left earbud.)

Immediately after creating its debut in the first Pixel Buds, the Google Translate characteristic returns with the Pixel Buds two. Again, this is an Android-only characteristic. You just convey to Google Assistant to enable you speak no matter what language you want, with far more than 40 languages supported. You faucet and maintain possibly earbud and get started speaking in the language stated underneath the headset icon. Your mobile phone then interprets and reads out loud what you reported into your chosen language. Just right before the human being you might be conversing to speaks, faucet the right microphone in Google Translate and their response will be translated into your language and played back through the Pixel Buds. It operates incredibly nicely, especially in quieter environments, while the human being you might be conversing to has to hear to your translated language through your phone’s speakers, which have their volume limits.

The Pixel Buds two are splash-resistant and can be applied for working.

David Carnoy/CNET

Although I believed the Pixel Buds 2’s sound good quality was really fantastic — far more on that in a moment — they executed definitely nicely as a headset for creating phone calls. I am at present not in New York, in which I ordinarily test out phone good quality, but I made some phone calls and played New York Metropolis road noise (by means of YouTube) in the background as I conversed. I put the volume quite far up on a set of small speakers and callers were being amazed by how minimal noise they read all over me, while some leaked in when I talked. Google suggests that “two beamforming mics target on your voice, though voice accelerometers detect jaw movement to know when you might be conversing.” The noise reduction is really helpful. The Pixel Buds two are right there with the best earbuds for creating phone calls. 

Browse far more: Most effective wireless earbuds and Bluetooth headphones for mobile phone phone calls

There’s an application for non-Pixel Android units — with Pixel telephones it’s built-in into the method — but no application for iOS units, which is way too undesirable. You can however use these with iPhones and Macs like regular Bluetooth headphones, but you shed extra options like the constantly-on Google Assistant.

As I reported, there’s no noise-canceling. Instead, there’s an adaptive sound method that mechanically adjusts the volume to the surroundings you might be in. I did not see a transparency method, but there’s some venting in the earbuds that keeps you from sensation way too occluded and lets you to hear your voice in the buds when you might be creating a mobile phone phone (Google phone calls it a “spatial vent for in-ear strain reduction and spatial awareness.”) It can be not a comprehensive-on sidetone characteristic, while I’d phone it sidetone lite. Be aware that a minimal sound does leak out of the buds when you definitely crank your tunes, so you probably you should not want to perform these at higher volumes in a peaceful area with folks sitting close by. 

Dual IR proximity sensors detect when the buds are in your ears and mechanically pause your audio when you pull a single out of your ear and resume when you put it back in. You can also use a single bud independently of the other (if you want to go the single-bud route for phone calls). And it’s also value noting that I paired the buds to various units, but I experienced to manually pick out the past unit from its Bluetooth menu if I preferred to go back to it. Google suggests the Pixel Buds two will store pairings with up to 6 units. There’s a pairing button on the case, as there is with the AirPods.

The match properly in the wireless charging case.

David Carnoy/CNET

Like the AirPods Pro and Galaxy Buds Furthermore, these have an IPX4 water-resistance rating, which usually means they’re splashproof and sweat-resistant. I ran with them without a dilemma and I believed the touch controls were being responsive and labored really nicely. A swipe characteristic lets you to regulate volume from the buds themselves.

Except for a insignificant Bluetooth glitch or two, my wireless relationship remained rock reliable and I was ready to wander quite far from my mobile phone (far more than the normal 10 meters) right before getting rid of the relationship. The buds use Bluetooth 5., and I did not recognize any audio lag when viewing films from streaming products and services like YouTube and Netflix.   

Battery everyday living is related to that of the AirPods and AirPods Pro — 5 several hours, moreover an additional 19 several hours from the case (a 10-moment demand in the case offers you two several hours of battery everyday living, Google suggests). The Galaxy Buds Furthermore can provide up to eleven several hours at average volume stages. It can be unclear how significantly the influence the constantly-on Google Assistant has on battery everyday living, nevertheless. 

These have “personalized-made” 12mm dynamic motorists, and, as I reported, they sound really fantastic for genuine wireless, with nicely-outlined bass and fantastic clarity. They are right there with the Galaxy Buds Furthermore and Jabra Elite 75t with about the same bass functionality or (it may possibly be a touch significantly less plump, depending on the seal you get from the incorporated ear suggestions, which appear in a few dimensions). The AirPods Pro sound somewhat far more open up but the Pixel Buds two are a minimal far more in depth. I did not see any way to change the bass and treble stages in the options on the Pixel 4 or in the Android application. 

For sound, these you should not rise to the level of the leading sounding genuine wireless earbuds, which contain the Sony WF-1000XM3 and Sennheiser Momentum Genuine Wireless two. That reported, both of people are far more expensive, especially the $300 Sennheiser, which delivers richer, far more refined sound with a greater soundstage. For instance, listening to Pink Hearse’s self-titled monitor with the Sennheiser, the bass goes further and there’s a minimal far more sparkle in the treble. The sound from Momentum Genuine Wireless two just feels greater and far more immersive.

For better or worse, when it will come to sound, often it helps to look at a headphone to the leading versions to hear what you might be lacking. But if you were being just utilizing the Pixel Buds two without listening to nearly anything else, most folks would be really happy with the sound. 

In the conclusion, Google lastly has a set of wireless earbuds that are worthy contenders. They are a minimal far more expensive than the Samsung Galaxy Buds Furthermore, which are probably the better price — they get discounted $10 or $twenty on celebration — but the Pixel Buds two are a reliable all-all over bundle with some distinguishing options and excellent phone good quality.