Google has stealthily released its Pixel Buds 2 in the US. Here’s what you need to know about the tech firm’s latest true wireless earbuds.
Up until late April we hadn’t seen much of the new Pixel Buds since their October unveiling at the Made by Google 2019 event. An FCC listing, as well as an appearance on Taiwan’s NCC database in early April, suggested they were on their way. A bit like a Beyonce album, Google has decided to drop the Pixel Buds 2 without any advance notice.
Here’s what we’ve gleaned about the Pixel Buds 2 from its launch.
Google Pixel Buds 2 — release date
They’re out in the US now, but what about the UK and Europe? Well, the UK page for the Pixel Buds 2 still requires signing up to the waitlist.
We’d imagine Google will do the same as it did in the US, which is to drop the earbuds with little warning. We assume they’ll launch in the UK and Europe in the next few months.
Google Pixel Buds 2 — price
The US price is $179, which works out to £140. When the original Pixel Buds eventually went on sale, they were priced at £159.
We’d expect the price to be similar, if not a bit less to be competitive with Apple and Amazon’s true wireless earbuds.
Google Pixel Buds 2 — design and features
Google intends to make tasks easier and faster to do with the Pixel Buds 2, with even quicker access to its Google Assistant.
In terms of design, the wireless earbuds are small and circular in shape with a stabilising fin that Google calls the ‘arc’. The design is based on scans of 1000s of ears and appears to sit flush against the ear. This is intended to help create better noise isolation – something the original were poor at doing.
The Pixel also has adaptive sound, allowing the volume to dynamically adjust itself depending on the listener’s environment. As a result, Google says there’s no need to raise and lower the volume. There’s a little spatial vent on the bottom of the earbud that allows environmental sounds through, so you can listen to your music but keep track of what’s around you.
Touch controls offer access to playback and volume (through swipes), and connectivity includes Bluetooth 5.0, as well as quick pairing to Android 6.0+ compatible devices via Google’s Fast Pair 2.0 functionality. Fast Pair 2.0 works by sending out a signal to nearby Android devices and offering one-tap connectivity.
The original Pixel Buds had excellent battery life for its time. The new Pixel Buds battery levels remain the same at five hours, with the compact USB-C charging case delivering enough charge for the earbuds to last up to 24 hours. It’s been confirmed that the Pixel Buds 2 charging case is Qi certified so they can be used with wireless charging mats.
If you’re an active person, the new Pixel Buds have IPX4 sweat and water resistance.
Google Translation returns, offering the ability to translate foreign languages on the go, although it appears to be Google Assistant on the mobile device that does the grunt work.
Other features include better wireless connectivity, with Google claiming that the Pixel Buds stay connection from three rooms away, and can stay connected across the length of an entire football field. Reviews have indicated that was a fanciful claim, but wireless connectivity does appear to be stronger than before.
Google Pixel Buds 2 — sound quality
The Pixel Buds 2 feature custom designed 12mm dynamic drivers which Google says they’ll assist in producing high-quality audio. As always, we’ll believe it when we hear it.
As we touched on previously they’ve made design changes to the earbuds for better noise isolation, so you can actually listen to your music in noisy areas. According to reviews that have gone live, the spatial vents do allow sound to leak out a little, especially when the volume is set to high.
There are two mics in each earbud for clearer call quality, as well as integrating a voice accelerometer that detects speech through your jawbones and adjusts the audio quality so you can be heard on a windy day.
Google has said the Pixel Buds 2 have a more balanced sound, and recent reviews indicate that the sound quality is improved over the original, but the bass is muted, and the overall sound quality does not match more premium true wireless earbuds.
That’s all we know about the Google Pixel Buds 2. We’ll be hoping to get more time with them once a UK release date is confirmed.