First shown off at last year’s Pixel 4 launch, the second iteration of Google’s Pixel Buds has finally gone on sale for USD $179. The all-new Pixel Buds now offer a true wireless experience, without the fabric cable that connected earpieces of the previous generation buds. If that’s not enough to entice Android users into picking up a set, there are many other improvements that make the 2020 Pixel Buds a solid upgrade over the original version.
A true wireless experience
Unlike the original Google Pixel Buds, the new ones are truly wireless, and the cable connecting the two earpieces is no longer around (finally putting Google at par with the competition). There’s also a wireless charging case, which, according to Google, needs just 10 minutes to fuel up the Pixel Buds for 2 hours of listening time and an hour of talk time.
Upgrades also include a ‘stabilizer arc’ that’s supposed to help keep the earpieces secure, a vented design to help ambient sounds come through (runners should find this rather useful), and at the same time, reduce the ‘suction cup’ effect found in some in-ear headphones. As with the original Pixel Buds, the new versions are also IPX4 water resistant.
Other features the buyer might like include the true hands-free nature of the new Pixel Buds, which don’t require a tap to access Google Assistant (just call out “Hey Google”), and the beamforming mic and accelerometer (to detect speech by sensing jawbone vibrations), which Google says will boost voice quality in windy environments.
Then there’s Adaptive Sound, which adjusts volume to match ambient noise, support for Android Fast Pair easy Bluetooth pairing and battery information, and finally, something what anyone who’s ever lost a wireless bud-style earpiece will appreciate: Android’s Find My Phone feature will alert you if an earpiece falls off during your jog or workout. Unfortunately, there’s still no Active Noise Cancellation, and Google’s counting on the eartips seal to provide, as it calls it, ‘Passive noise reduction’.