Ask me a week ago and I would have told you that the perfect pair of earbuds have active noise cancellation, Qi wireless charging, extra-long battery life, ultra HD low latency sound with multiple drivers in each earbud, and a whole lot of other features. For me, it was about finding the pair of earbuds that had it all. So what has changed my mind over the past week? The Google Pixel Buds.
I’ve been using the Pixel Buds for over a week now and in that time I have learned that I actually don’t need it all. As simple as it sounds, it really does come down to the right mixture of design, function, and performance.
With design in mind, you can tell that Google spent some time here. They have done a great job creating a seemingly simple design, blended with heavy functionality.
The case itself is minimalistic, resembling the style Apple has been known for, but a little added flair with the matte black rim and interior of the case helps Google keep a distance from their popular competitors.
This design style extends to the earbuds themselves. The matte black and white keep the theme, with a very low profile G logo to brand them. Again, I am very happy with the minimalist approach with the muted matte finishes. Even what we have seen of the other colors, they went with a toned-down color palette. Very clean.
With regard to function, Google added what they needed to sit them well in the field of competition. As I mentioned, before testing the Pixel Buds, I would have listed a ton of features I would have liked to have seen, however after spending over a week with them I have been very satisfied with what they have to offer.
The sound quality has been fantastic, with a clean overall sound signature. The blend of highs, mids, and lows has been spot on. If you are a bass head, look elsewhere, the Pixel Buds deliver enough bass to cover your music well even hitting into the deep bass ranges but are a brighter set of buds, so if you are looking for brain-rattling bass you might be disappointed.
When it comes to making phone calls, once again the Pixel Buds deliver, check out this audio sample I took with the windows down, going about 50mph down a highway, let’s just say I was impressed…
The touch controls also deliver. Volume controls worked great, as well as all of the touch sensor controls. A nice light touch always connected for me and delivered the desired action. In addition, the in-ear sensors performed great with the autoplay and pause of music, audiobooks, and podcasts.
Battery life did pose a slight challenge for me. The 5 hours of battery life while listening to music or podcasts were spot on and worked well enough for my listening needs. I don’t usually listen to anything for 5 hours straight so it worked. Where I ran into the most trouble was when making calls mixed with consuming media. The battery life dips quite a bit when making phone calls and leaves little leftover if you plan to continue directly after playing that podcast again.
Last but certainly not least is the deep Google services integration. This is the feature (or set of features really) I honestly didn’t know I needed or wanted so badly. Having ‘Hey Google’ at the ready or a long press on either earbud when you didn’t want to say it out loud made accessing Google easy and natural.
It took me a little bit to figure out how I could implement it in a pair of earbuds but once I learned the commands for reading notifications, controlling my music, starting phone calls, checking my daily schedule, and adding reminders, I quickly found I was able to interact with my phone without actually having to interact with it. This allowed me to stay more focused throughout the day. I felt quite a bit less attached to my device, which after being locked inside for over a month, refreshingly freeing.
At the end of the day, the Pixel Buds are a total package. Not THE total package, but a perfectly solid standalone set of earbuds that would make any Google ecosystem user very happy.
Now considering the $180 price tag, is it worth it? I think for someone who uses Android and especially if you already use other Google Home devices, this is a no brainer. I think with that same integration always at the ready no matter where you are plus the entire package of hardware considered, $180 is an easy purchase for me. In fact, I did buy them and feel perfectly confident in that decision now.
I hope this was helpful or you, my goal here is to help you make a better tech buying decision. Let me know in the comment section what you think!
When in stock you can learn more and order some for yourself here: https://store.google.com/us/product/pixel_buds