What Are Google Pixel Buds and How Do They Work?

What you need to know about Google's wireless earbuds

Google’s Pixel Buds are wireless earbuds with an array of features, including Google Assistant support and real-time language translation via Google Translate. It’s part of an ever-growing market that includes Apple AirPods, Samsung Galaxy Buds, and Amazon Echo Buds.

These are the second-generation of Pixel Buds, which are available in spring 2020. Some reviewers call them Pixel Buds 2, but Google calls them Pixel Buds. The most obvious difference is that this newer pair is truly wireless; the first-generation model had a tether connecting the two earbuds.

What Are Pixel Buds?

Pixel Buds are wireless earbuds that include Google’s virtual assistant, Google Assistant. The built-in mic filters out background noise for better quality calls, and the ear tips have a three-point anchor system that should keep the Buds in your ear. The Pixel Buds come in four colors: orange, white, mint green, and black.

Which Smartphones Work With Pixel Buds?

These earbuds incorporate a lot of technology. They have built-in Wi-Fi, long-range Bluetooth, and voice commands via Google’s virtual assistant as long as you have a smartphone running Android 6.0 or later.

Google Pixel Buds with carrying case.
Lance Ulanoff 

If you’re an iPhone user, you can use the Pixel Buds as Bluetooth earphones, but you’ll miss out on Google Assistant integration.

Both Android and iPhone users can use the Pixel Buds to listen to music, podcasts, audiobooks, and other audio, as well as make and receive phone calls. The earbuds are sweat and water-resistant.

Google Pixel Buds Sound

Pixel Buds come with ear tips that create a seal to keep noise out, and its speakers adapt to your environment by automatically adjusting the volume depending on the noisiness of your location. When you make a call, two built-in mics make sure the other party can hear you by blocking background noise, including wind.

Conveniently, the Pixel Buds can detect when they’re in your ear, and each one has touch controls for play, pause, and volume adjustment.

Google Pixel Buds Wireless Range

Built-in Bluetooth 5 means the Pixel Buds can stay connected from as far as three rooms away when inside, and 100 yards away when outside. Google says the Pixel Buds will last up to five hours of continuous use, and the included charging case gives you another 24 hours.

Pixel Buds Google Assistant Integration

Using Google assistant, you can send text messages, ask for directions, and request translation help. You can either use the OK Google wake word or use a touch and hold gesture on the right earbud.

When you request a translation, Google Translate launches in conversation mode. From there, you can begin your conversation or record audio to translate. The translation will play through the earbuds. This Pixel Buds feature supports about 40 languages, including Finnish, Mandarin, Portuguese, and Spanish.

Technical Details to Know

Competitors of Pixel Buds include Apple AirPods 2, Amazon Echo Buds, Samsung Galaxy Buds, and Microsoft's Surface Buds. Pixel Buds are similar to these competing products, though a different shape and size than the rest.

A single charge yields a five-hour battery life; if you use a charging case, that extends to 24 hours.

Google Assistant voice control requires an Assistant-enabled phone running Android 6.0 or later. The translation feature also requires at least Android 6.0. If you have an iPhone running at least iOS 10, you can use the Pixel Buds as a Bluetooth headset, but you can't use the Assistant or translation features.

Pixel Buds are sweat and water-resistant so they can withstand a walk in the rain and an intense workout, but not a swim in the pool.

Where to Find This Product

There's a waiting list for Pixel Buds that you can register for at Google's online store.