Google Pixel Buds 2020 – as good as a bud can get
Name: Google Pixel Buds 2020
Price (RRP): $279
Google says life sounds amazing with its new Google Pixel Buds 2020. To me, they are as good as I can expect from a pair of $279 buds – and that is quite a lot.
Why? Because there are a lot of buds out there apart from Google Pixel Buds 2020. Samsung Galaxy Buds+, Apple AirPod, PowerBeats Pro, JBL, Audio-Technica, Sennheiser Momentum, Sony, Bose, Plantronics, Jabra 85t, Jaybird, Blueant, 3SIXT, Skullcandy, Creative, Vissler, Noble Falcon, xFryo and even the Rock (Dwayne) had a go. That is only a small selection of buds – sorry earphones – we (Thomas Bartlett and I) have reviewed over the past 12 months.
So, Google Pixel Buds 2020 need to offer more than the plethora. Let’s see.
Australian review: Google Pixel Buds 2020
- Australian website here
- Price: $279 inc free delivery
- Elevator Pitch: True Wireless buds – the result of thousands of ears research!
- Warranty: 2-years ALC
- Country of Manufacture: China
- Google is a United States-based multinational technology company that specialises in Internet services and products including online advertising technologies,search engine, cloud computing, software, and hardware.
Can you trust Google? Our analysis shows Americans trust Google over their Government. Well, some Americans trust almost anyone over their Government! On the whole, Google has a ‘closed’ loop. The data it collects from search and Google devices stays with Google. It uses data to sell advertising (its main source of revenue) – never sold to third parties. On that basis – yes Google is safe.
Google Pixel Buds – the first impression of the ‘Clearly White’ – more a chalky white.
This review is after two days of almost 12-hours daily use. Let’s just say that is longer than I have ever had anything in my ears for well, ever. And it is because these weigh a minuscule 5.3g each. I usually prefer over-the-ear, noise-cancelling headphones for my quiet time.
Point one – get the right fit from the small, medium, or large silicone tips, and you should be happy as they are very comfortable. And they don’t stick out of your ear as far as most do. I would put them on a par with the Samsung Galaxy Bids+ and Jabra Elite 75t for comfort.
They come in a rather cute pillbox (Google calls it a river stone), wireless/USB-C charge case that automatically found my Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra and Gmail account, downloaded the app and we were away. I guess that is the benefit of being in the Google Android stable.
Point two – wireless charging is not a luxury – it should be mandatory so, thanks Google.
And sound. I love the Blues Brothers, Manhattan Transfer and the Beachboys (sexagenarian tastes). I have also lost a much of the top-end hearing frequency response (above about 6kHz) – so I look for buds to have a good upper mid-range response (clear dialogue) as well as the necessary amount of bass for the Blues Brothers (from 100Hz is fine).
Point three: These have 12mm drivers (oversized) and more than meet my needs. As we cannot measure the frequency response of in-ear buds, it is a subjective test. In a comfort sense, they are also vented to reduce in-ear pressure and let some external sound in.
Setup – EXCEED
Out of the box, it is dead easy for Android (iOS not tested) as it does everything for you. I suspect that is partly to do with BT 5.0, and Google develops Android as well.
Windows setup is easy. Put the buds back in the case, and press/hold the case button for three seconds to enter BT pairing mode. These show up as a headset A2DP stereo device and use the 16-bit, 44.1Hz SBC codec. It also supports Windows Sonic effects and Dolby Atmos for faux 3D sound.
I expect macOS will be similar to Windows, and there is no app iOS/iPad OS – it is just a BT device.
Fail – once paired to a Windows device I had to unpair and repair (from scratch) to the Android device.
Fail – firmware update. It kept saying there was a firmware update available, but it never came.