12 Technologies for the Holidays: Google Pixel Buds
by Betsy Burton
I was given a pair of Apple AirPod Pro headphones this year, and I love them. The noise canceling capabilities are great and the sound quality is good. I can easily connect to Siri. They are great, if...and this is the big IF... I am using them with my Apple device (iPhone, iOS, etc.). If I am using them to watch video or TV on a Windows or Android system, the connection drops out regularly. Even using them for a web-conferencing meeting on Windows is very unstable.
So, if you have a friend who runs a hybrid set of devices, it can get a bit more difficult to find the right wireless earbuds.
Google Pixel Buds For Android Users
If you have someone on your list who is a big Android user a great gift is the Google Pixel Buds. Users report that they have great sound quality and calling capabilities. The Pixel Buds are advertised to have a 5-hour battery life, but some users report slightly longer.
The Google Pixel Buds also support different-sized ear tips, which can fit different people better. And they are reported to be fairly sweat-proof.
Integration with Google Assistant
The big benefit of the Google Pixel Buds for Android users is the integration with Google Assistant. Like AirPods with Siri, Google Pixel Buds can be integrated with Google Assistant, enabling users to communicate directly with Google Assistant to make/receive calls, text, find direction, etc.
However, users report that they are not able to integrate with Google Assistant when it is loaded on an iOS device.
A feature Google is promoting with the Google Pixel Buds is the integration with other Google apps, and specifically with Google Translator. This integration feature can be used to translate live in-person conversations and phone calls.
Many users report that this feature is a bit cumbersome; Google Translate would sometimes use the audio on the Pixel Buds and sometimes use the phone. In addition, the support for this is limited to French, German, Italian, and Spanish being translated into English.
However, if you have ever been in Argentina begging the police not to tow your illegally parked car, this could be a real saver.
The good news is that the earbud market is becoming more mature, and the sound/audio quality is improving. In addition, the ability to integrate with digital assistants is getting better. The cost of this integration, however, is that earbuds are becoming much more platform specific.
If you just want sound quality, then look to a third party, such as Bose or Jabra. If you have an Apple user then Apple AirPod Pro is a great choice. If you are buying for an Android user then the Google Pixel Buds is the way to go.