Google Pixel Buds review: Google Assistant creates a home in your ears

Google’s unequivocally initial span of headphones go on sale Nov 17 for $159, and we got a span to exam out their ability to interpret 40 languages, play music, ping notifications in your ear, and energy Google Assistant commands like grouping a pizza, removing directions, and acid Google.

All tests of a device took place with a Pixel 2 smartphone. Pixel Buds can be used with Android or iOS smartphones, yet a Google Assistant facilities are usually accessible for Android phones.

Pixel Buds initial made their entrance final month during Google’s largest hardware eventuality of a year, reason in San Francisco.

Instant interpretation (almost)

Translated review competence be a singular many expected underline for impending Pixel Buds owners. To be clear, Google Assistant is already means to interpret into some-more than 100 languages by simply observant “Hey Google, how do we contend ‘I need to get to a hospital’ in Korean?,” yet this is different.

As Google employees demonstrated onstage final month, with Pixel Buds, translations are oral into your ear, while a denunciation we wish to promulgate in is played by a orator in your smartphone. At launch, translations are accessible in 40 languages, from Arabic to Vietnamese, yet they can usually be carried out with a Pixel 2 smartphone.

Translations need we to download a Google Translation app. Once that’s done, we usually daub and reason a earbud and contend “Help me pronounce Spanish,” por ejemplo, to launch Google Translate in Speech mode.

To have a review with someone in a opposite language, daub a mic symbol on your smartphone. Once they finish speaking, a interpretation will be oral to we in your Pixel Buds. Translations finish if we let your smartphone go to sleep.

This is a cold feature, yet it’s not nonetheless a Babel Fish. Most phrases longer than a judgment are cut off after about 5-7 seconds of translation. That’s about a same we can pattern from any smartphone regulating a unchanging Google Translate app.

Whereas interpretation of a word or dual can seem roughly instant, longer translations take a few seconds to process. That’s not a whole lot in a grand scheme, yet it could feel extensive if you’re indeed translating a conversation, not usually a few sentences.

Translations can also be interrupted or improper when in loud environments like a train or city streets.

As a VB guest author recently forked out, Google Translate still gets stranded on informative complexities. Any name that doesn’t seem common to Google Translate will expected be misinterpreted. And given translations are carried out in a cloud, they require an internet connection. If you’re roving outward of your internal country, we competence not have a information connection.

Chat with Google Assistant

Beyond a Babel Fish-like translation, Pixel Buds let we pronounce to Google Assistant and accept pull notifications in your ears. Voice can also be used to supplement equipment to a offered list, and emanate reminders delivered formed on time or location.

To discuss with Google Assistant, daub and reason a right earbud. You can do this to ask questions like “What’s a collateral of Zaire?” or “What’s my subsequent meeting?” or  “When’s my subsequent flight?” or “When’s a subsequent Warriors game?” The AI partner can tell jokes on ask or respond willingly if a user says something like “Google, we don’t feel good.”

Pixel Buds can entrance Google Assistant voice apps to do things like make a reservation with OpenTable, check your heart rate with Google Fit, or control intelligent devices. This is unequivocally interesting, a thoroughness on carrying out simple tasks that engage spending income and interacting with businesses.

In other words, Pixel Buds can hoop many things we can ask Google Assistant using on a smartphone or Google Home device — yet not everything. For example, open Google Assistant on your phone and we can emanate a calendar eventuality by asking, since drumming and holding Pixel Buds does not seem means of formulating a calendar event. Pixel Buds also seem incompetent to trigger a Now Playing underline to brand songs on a Pixel smartphone.

Take a “order a pizza” unfolding mostly used by app developers. Say “I wish to sequence a pizza” and Google Assistant will advise we pronounce with Dom, Domino’s Pizza’s voice app. You have to set adult an comment and enter preorder information to finish your order. Google Assistant on Pixel Buds also falls brief in being means to finish a assign “I wish to book a flight.”

Of impetus a voice app for Domino’s competence not be required now that Google Assistant can make phone calls, yet that won’t assistance we many when you’re perplexing to book a flight.


Auditory notifications are a large and for Google Assistant with Pixel Buds. You hear a carillon in your ear any time your phone gets a pull notification. To hear Google Assistant tell we what sparked a notification, double-tap a right earbud. The notifications we hear in your ear and a ones that seem on your shade should not be treated as equals, yet for now Google Assistant tells we probably everything.

Giving users a ability to set simply that apps put a ping in your ear could severely raise a Pixel Buds experience. For example, it would be good to hear news headlines as they occur from one or dual sources like AP or Reuters, yet we don’t wish to hear any news-related presentation we accept in my ear. The same goes for amicable media updates and many other notifications that seem on a Pixel 2 lockscreen.

Notifications around Pixel Buds can be incited off when a smartphone interconnected with a earbuds is placed in Do Not Disturb mode.

At this time, interactions with Google Assistant around Pixel Buds do not seem in a activity tide we see when we open Google Assistant on a smartphone and appropriate up. However, all activity does seem in a My Activity section.

Phone calls

Calls are flattering easy with Pixel Buds. Incoming calls ring in your ear and on your phone, and we can answer them with a singular daub on a right earbud. Calls are finished or declined with a tap-and-hold gesticulate on a right earbud.

Google Assistant also creates job internal businesses flattering easy. Tap and reason a right earbud to launch Google Assistant and contend “Call Target” or your favorite circuitously restaurant, and Google Assistant can assistance bond you. You can start with a simple query like “Where’s a nearest bakery?” and finish with a phone call.

Yes, we can do this with any span of headphones and many smartphones today, yet doing this with voice usually and an partner already in your ear creates it usually a small easier.

Navigation and directions

Ask a partner and we can get walking directions wherever we wish to go. You’ll hear a same navigation we would hear from Google Maps.

In a frisk around downtown San Francisco Friday, Google Assistant was means to give discerning walking directions to my destination. Just by conference me contend “I need to get to Target” or “I need to get to a nearest hospital,” Google Maps began a outing and started rattling off instructions. In a box of streamer to a hotel downtown, oral walking instructions were usually as good as a kind we get from Google Maps normally, yet it did tell me we arrived during my finish a retard before we had.

Setup, performance, and design

To fast bond wireless headphones to an Android device, a earbuds implement a new underline called Fast Pair, that Google first announced in late October. Pairing with a phone takes no some-more than 5 seconds, as against to a normal track of going to settings and selecting a Bluetooth device. This helps Google contest with Apple’s AirPods, that have a underline called involuntary ear showing that turns on sounds as shortly as we put a buds in your ear.

For a device that packs so many intelligence, these are a comparatively simple-looking span of headphones, solely for a cord joining a earbuds that we wire along a behind of your neck. If you’re a kind of chairman who likes wearing wireless neckband headphones already, this competence not be a large understanding to you. But if you’re someone who tends to wear some-more normal earbuds or over-the-ear headphones, a pattern can take some removing used to.

A loop during any finish of a cord between a dual earbuds contingency be inserted into your ear. That can also take some removing used to, as can rambling a wire to fit into a carrying and horse case.

Volume is practiced by swiping brazen or back on a right earbud. It’s good to be means to control things like reminders though wanting to demeanour for your phone, yet we found a volume outlay for Pixel Buds lacking in comparison to QC 35 II or a standard-issue span of headphones. A float on a train or a travel down city streets lets in plenty ambient sound.

As distant as battery life goes, any assign of Pixel Buds delivers adult to 5 hours of battery life. Pixel Buds are charged by fixation them inside their charging case. Filling adult a charging box around a USB-C wire takes 10 mins and should store adequate for mixed charges, giving a earbuds roughly 24 hours of listening time before a box needs to be plugged in again.

It’s an AI partner smoothness mechanism

Google and Apple didn’t usually get absolved of a headphone jack in preference of USB-C — they also brought Pixel Buds and AirPods to marketplace to inspire people who squeeze high-end smartphones to buy their wireless headphones as well. Whether or not $150 is a good cost for what they’re is offered is something we have to answer for yourself, yet Pixel Buds are another step in Google’s impetus toward AI partner dominance.

The form cause an AI partner exists in matters. With wireless headphones, a tech giants that control a dual largest smartphone handling systems are creation a box for an partner that can assistance us make transactions, get things done, and perhaps demonstrate a bit of personality.

Despite some shortcomings, Pixel Buds are a flattering absolute answer to AirPods, and a initial pierce toward an AI partner in your ear.

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