Google takes a second stab at Pixel Buds with a true wireless design

Google first Pixel earbuds were, well, pretty underwhelming. Coming in early 2020 for $179, the updated model will feature a true wireless design, and promise a better experience overall.

Credit: Google

Google’s Pixel Buds, first released in 2017, just couldn’t compete with better offerings from dedicated bud manufacturers, and stacked up even more poorly against Apple AirPods. Today, though, Google announced a Pixel Buds update slated for Spring 2020, and if its Made By Google presentation is any indication, the company is intent on making the new version a major technological make-good.

The original Pixel Buds delivered access to Google Assistant, but the implementation was clumsy, requiring tap prompts. The new Buds, though, promise hands-free access to Assistant, letting you ask for walking directions, control your music playback and translate languages (among other tasks) with just a verbal “Hey Google” prompt. Google says the new Buds will include “on-device machine learning” that will be refined as the Buds project develops.

Bluetooth range? It was a problem with the original Pixel Buds, which actually were wired bud to bud. The new Pixel Buds feature a true wireless design, and Google says Bluetooth range will cross three rooms indoors (rather vague) and a fully football field outside (360 feet).

pixel buds close Google

Battery life is rated at five hours, with another 24 hours promised via the new wireless charger, which appears to ditch the frustrating, difficult-to-fully-close design of the first generation product.

As for the buds themselves, Google says the new Pixel Buds will deliver better sound quality, sit flush with one’s ears, and include a “spatial vent” to reduced that “plugged ear feeling.” There’s also a “voice accelerometer” that detects speech through your jawbone and the buds will dynamically adjust volume to ambient noise conditions.

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Jon Phillips

PC World (US online)
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