The original Pixel Buds were released in 2017 and, unlike its competitors, had a cable running between each of the buds. That disqualified them from counting as truly wireless earbuds, and unfortunately, they were extremely bad. Not only was the wire confusing to pack into the wireless charging case, but connecting to them your phone was a pain. Plus, the touch controls were finicky at best.
This time around, the new Pixel Buds do away with the cord, but also seem to address some of the major issues we had with the original Pixel Buds. As you’d expect, they come with integrated, hands-free Google Assistant. Like their predecessor, you can also use the Buds to translate speech—though in practice that was quite finicky with the original earbuds. And interestingly, the new buds include a long-range Bluetooth connection, which Google says will free you from your phone. Outside they can connect across an entire football field, and across three average-sized rooms indoors.
Battery life is the same at five hours, though Google says they can last up to 24 hours with the wireless charging case. Sound-wise, they have dynamic volume adjusting depending on your environment. Google also emphasized they thought real hard about stuffing all those components into a new design—a video described them as “floating computers.” They’re not exactly noise-canceling; Google described them as “noise-isolating.” Basically, it’s got a small spatial vent to let in outside air. Supposedly that makes for a more comfortable Pixel Bud, but we’ll have to try them out for ourselves.
Unfortunately, the Pixel Buds won’t be available for the holiday season. On stage, Google said they’ll be available sometime in spring 2020 and they’ll retail for $180.