Google proper now launched the second round of its very own Pixel phones, but it surely certainly moreover expanded its small universe of “Made by Google” . One of the model new merchandise beneath that umbrella, and a main for Google, are the Pixel Buds. They’re around-the-neck wi-fi earbuds (or “neckbuds”) that, in some strategies, resemble Apple’s AirPods.

Much like Apple, Google has carried out away with the headphone jack on its new telephones, so selling a pair of its private wi-fi headphones is wise. They’re even priced exactly the an identical as AirPods, at $159. However, there are numerous variations between the Pixel Buds and AirPods which could be value elucidating on the outset, even after we’ve solely gotten a extremely short-term chance to attempt them up to now, and would possibly’t really say so much in regards to the sound prime quality merely however. (If you want to know far more about Pixel Buds alone, check out our own exclusive first look at the product.)

How they work

Battery: Pixel Buds have about 5 hours of battery life, and embody a carrying case that will recharge the buds four events. Right off the bat, that’s pretty comparable to AirPods, with the one precise obvious profit going to Apple’s smaller, additional merely pocketable case.

Fit: Like AirPods, Pixel Buds use a additional open-air design than many various small, wi-fi earbuds. That means they sit positioned in the direction of, not in, your ear. That permits you to hear additional ambient noise, which is nice for individuals who don’t want to be too isolated, nonetheless harmful for individuals who’re going for max sound prime quality. Unlike AirPods, the Pixel Buds’ match is adjustable. The cloth twine that connects the two earbuds can actually slide up through a loop in each bud to slip into the folds of your ear. Here’s a GIF:

Connection and compatibility: Google apparently did some twiddling with the Bluetooth on Pixel Buds so that it’s easier to be a part of them than common Bluetooth headphones. It’s too early to say if it’s almost pretty much as good as a result of the outcomes that Apple obtained with the W1 chip that’s in AirPods and totally different headphones.

You’ll provide the possibility to use the Pixel Buds with totally different telephones, with Google Assistant choices engaged on any Assistant-enabled Android system, and the fast pairing engaged on any phone working Android N or bigger. The language translation is exclusive to Pixel Buds used with a Pixel phone. So they’re comparable to AirPods proper right here in that you just obtained’t get the full experience when using them with totally different telephones, nonetheless only a few additional choices journey with Pixel Buds than with AirPods.

Controls: Pixel Buds provide a bit additional administration than AirPods do. You can faucet to play and pause music, double faucet to study out notifications, and further importantly, swipe all through them to alter amount — nonetheless solely on the suitable one. AirPods are merely restricted to faucet controls, and don’t have as so much ground house accessible for that as a result of the Pixel Buds do.


This might be going to be in all probability essentially the most talked-about operate of the Pixel Buds, and possibly one among many clearest advantages, nonetheless supplied that it actually works. Google is saying that the earbuds are ready to doing real-time translation, which is an idea that’s usually promised nonetheless almost certainly not delivered on this kind problem by tech firms large and small.

The thought is that you possibly can faucet and preserve on the Pixel Buds, talk, after which the translated speech will come out of your Pixel phone’s audio system. The specific particular person you’re talking to speaks once more into the phone, and likewise you hear them in your native language. Bragi sort of got this idea working on its most recent product, the Dash Pro, and loads of totally different startups have collected an entire bunch of 1000’s of in crowdfunding and VC money attempting to do this.

Photo by James Bareham / The Verge

But the “Babel fish” dream is nowhere shut to completely realized, and it’s not clear that Google’s the one who’s solved a whole lot of the problems. After all, till every of you are sporting earbuds with no phone important, isn’t it easier to merely every communicate proper right into a translation app? For what it’s value, Dieter was dubious about this feature in the brief time he spent with Pixel Buds, and I’m always detest to think about any rosy onstage demos.

Regardless, it’s a cool idea that Google can hopefully quickly iterate on — lord is conscious of the company has the sources to attempt. Google says the operate helps 40 completely totally different languages, too. There’s an excellent chance this main attempt at earbud translation doesn’t work, but it surely certainly’s one factor that Apple doesn’t have however in AirPods, regardless of Siri’s new translation capabilities.


An monumental selling degree of every Pixel Buds and AirPods is that they supply you additional on the spot entry to the companies’ digital assistants with out requiring you to take out your phone. So as far as along with that operate goes, it’s a draw for now.

As for the usual of that assistant, Google most likely has the profit? Let’s merely say that no digital assistant is almost pretty much as good as promised, and go away it at that until we get a possibility to really test these buds.


Wireless earbud nomenclature is type of the headache for such a benign matter, nonetheless whereas Google’s new buds are going to usually be referred to as “wireless earbuds” because of there’s no plug working to the phone, know that they (clearly) have a wire working between them. AirPods don’t, because of they’re what we’ve taken to calling “truly wireless earbuds.”

Photo by James Bareham / The Verge

This one’s terribly up to you. Many people don’t just like the idea of really wi-fi buds because of they’re in all probability easier to lose, and see one factor like Pixel Buds as additional helpful because you presumably can drape them spherical your neck when not in use. Others like the freedom and futuristic actually really feel of really wi-fi earbuds, and some will not even consider the Pixel Buds to be within the an identical class as AirPods.

Of course, it behooves Google to pitch Pixel Buds as a competitor to AirPods. Because for individuals who start evaluating them to totally different throughout the neck wi-fi earbuds (like Jaybirds or JBLs), the Pixel Buds will definitely underperform these on battery life and, most likely, sound prime quality, and won’t be as good for sport settings. And, in reality, so will AirPods.


And the winner is…

Just kidding. These two merchandise are going to be endlessly in distinction inside the coming months, so we merely wished to break down what the variations and similarities are. It’s fascinating that Google’s moved into this space, an identical to it is with all the other markets it each entered or re-upped its presence in proper now. We’ll undoubtedly have a full overview of the Pixel Buds inside the shut to future, so maintain a be careful for that.