Thanks to Google, I am able to try out the Google Pixel Buds headset. One of the biggest features of the headset is that, when paired with Google Pixel family of smartphones, can help to translate a foreign language in real time (via the Google Translate app).
Here is a short video of the translation feature of the Google Pixel Buds.
The first impression of the Google Pixel Buds is it is a well-packaged product. I love the charging casing that comes with it.
You can also get a matching casing for your Pixel phone. In this case, it is the Pixel 2 XL.
When you open up the case, the first thing you notice is that it is very neat. The headphone cord is neatly curled around the edge of the casing.
After you take out the earbuds, you can see the charging points.
I love the minimalist look of the charging case. It has a 620mAh battery in it while the earbuds have 120mAh battery. The case is recharge via a USB-C cable.
Google has also added subtle LED into the case to show the battery life of the case (the three dots) and the status of the earbuds (the green dot showing that it is charging).
The earbuds do not come with any silicon tip. It is just one size. I love the design of the cord. It is very functional. For example, by pulling the cord, you can determine the loop size needed for the Pixel Buds to sit comfortably in your ears.
Connecting the Pixel Buds to the Pixel smartphone is a breeze. Once you take it out of the casing, it is automatically detectable. I have no issue pairing it.
As there are no physical buttons (only capacitive sensor) on the Pixel Buds, the casing is like an extension of it. To pair it using the traditional way, you will need to place the Pixel Buds back to the charging case and press on the one and only button until it starts to blink. The rest of the procedure is the same as any Bluetooth earpiece.
The surface area of the Pixels Buds is quite big. Therefore it may seem to protrude from some angle.
Here is the side view.
Using it as a normal earphone
Although the first time I used the Pixel Buds is in a very noisy environment, it is still able to let me hear the music clearly. In terms of bass and treble, it is not the best ones but above average from many in the market.
I always have my reservation using an on-ear headset as compared to an in-ear type because I feel that it is not tight enough and music/sound may “leaked” away.
The Pixel Buds did not disappoint. I can enjoy my music, videos. I am not an audiophile so you have to discount on the “quality” that I mentioned. They are based on my judgment on various earphones that I tried.
Using it as a language translator
One of the biggest features of the Pixel Buds is that it is a real-time language translator (using the Google Translate app) when paired with a compatible Pixel smartphone.
You can check out the video above to see some demos.
When paired properly, you can touch the right side of the earbud and it will automatically connect you to Google Assistant.
With Google Assistant, you can say “Help me speak Chinese” and it will automatically call up the Google Translate app.
I find it very convenient. As of now, it is able to translate one of the 40 languages.
Once ready, it should be in the conversation mode. To talk to someone in a foreign language, you will need to touch the right earbud and speak in your language.
You will see a transcript of what you have said and a translated version of the sentences in the requested foreign language. The smartphone speaker will read out aloud the translation. You will need a data connection for it to work.
Translation-wise, it is the good old Google Translate.
I did not test out the battery life but based on the digital battery display, it seems to be very lasting. As an earphone, it did a good job. However, without any physical button and with a sensitive touch surface on the Pixel Buds, there is a chance that you will accidentally activate something.
With a price point at S$238, it is really not cheap. But if you already have a Pixel phone, I highly recommend that you get it.
1. Love the design and casing.
2. Love the ease of connection.
3. Love the translation feature which might come handy in a foreign country.
4. Love the fast charge and good battery life.
5. Love the output quality.
2. Can only connect to one device at a time.
3. Very sensitive capacitive button.
4. Full features are only limited to Pixel family of smartphones.
Overall, a well-balanced product. If you need just a headphone, there are many other choices out there. But if you need a headphone with integrated Google Assistant Service to match your Pixel phone, this will be the one you need to get.
If you are already using one, let me know how you feel.