Earlier this month, Google took the stage and announced quite a few different things. We've got not just one new Google Home product, but two (Home Mini and Home Max). We've got new Daydream VR headsets. There is a new Google Pixelbook, which you can even accessorize with a new Google stylus. And then there are the smartphones. The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL saw quite a few leaks in advance of the announcement, but the big unveil still seems to have gone off pretty well for the company.
As my fellow editor, Anna, already wrote up, one of the other cool things about the reveal event was Pixel Buds, Google's new wireless headphones. We had heard speculation that Google was working on its own effort in this category, especially after Apple launched its AirPods last year, and sure enough, along with the new Pixel 2 smartphones they are officially official.
Of course, they would be announced alongside the new phones, because those new phones drop the 3.5mm headphone jack.
The Pixel Buds were seeing some positive feedback from those who managed to get some hands-on time with the new headphones after the event. In the videos and write-ups I perused, people said they sounded good (sometimes great, depending on the person), and the quick access to Google Assistant was a nice feature, too. Using taps and gestures to control music playback and volume also got top marks, too.
Those circular headphones got my attention with the taps and gestures. I've been using the AirPods for months now, and while I thought they were severely lacking in comparison to other truly wireless headphones on the market in terms of controls, Apple finally added the ability to change songs (either skip or go back) just by double-tapping on one AirPod or the other. That helped quite a bit, but you still can't control the volume from the AirPods, and I don't see that happening in this generation of product.
While I am on board with the controls offered by the Pixel Buds, I can't help but be not a fan of the wire connecting each bud to the other. These are wireless headphones, but not truly wireless headphones like those offered by Bragi, Samsung, or Apple. Some folks like this particular design, and I'm not inherently against it. I just prefer the truly wireless design.
Being able to give one AirPod to a friend so they can check out a song I'm listening to, without being tethered to them is pretty great. I'm sure this doesn't happen all that often, and, to be fair, I can only think of one instance where this has happened to me since the AirPods launched, but it was still nice being able to roam around and still experience the music together.
On a more regular basis, though, I can just have one headphone in, the other tucked in my pocket, and I don't have anything hanging around my neck. I don't know if the design of the Pixel Buds will make them better for working out or general exercise, but I haven't had an issue in that regard with the AirPods, either.
The Pixel Buds are a nice addition to the Pixel-branded lineup, and I'm hoping they sound as good as one would want their wireless headphones to. I'm definitely going to try them out. Maybe I can start to like the tethered design, and they can convince me to switch.
What about you? How do you like the design of the Pixel Buds in general? Do you prefer the design of a truly wireless pair of headphones? Let me know!