Pixel Buds and Google’s own reality distortion field

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 2 min read

Reviews for Google’s Pixel Buds hit the web this week and the reviews are actually pretty middling. People seem to like the sound quality and pairing process1, but they’re less enthused about the charging case and translation feature.

So if reviewers are not fawning over the Pixel Buds, what is this article about? Check out the Engadget review below and listen to how he frames the Pixel Buds compared to the AirPods:

And I have to say I like Google’s approach. If the AirPods are all about convenience, then Pixel Buds are all about getting stuff done.

That framing sounds like it was taken from Google marketing page for the Buds, and is not the reviewer’s own conclusion based on the functionality in the headphones. Seriously, watch the rest of the review and tell me what makes the Pixel Buds so much better at getting stuff done than the AirPods.

I’m genuinely wondering because the only arguments I could see being made are that the translation feature is hugely useful or that Google Assistant is so much better than Siri that Siri doesn’t even count as a voice assistant.

Other than that, Pixel Buds are basically the same as AirPods in every way. They both have easy pairing methods, both have 5 hours of battery life and have a case that will add 24 hours of charge, and both share the same $159 price point. So please tell me what makes the Pixel Buds a better productivity device than AirPods. I’d also make the argument that the things that the AirPods do for “convenience” are actually just a long list of things the AirPods seem to do better.

P.S. This description of the Google Translate feature from Gizmodo really makes the feature sound like it’s made a good product worse.

I did get the translation feature to work, by the way, and it’s just as confusing as everything else about the Pixel Buds. You’d think that you could just tap the right earbud and ask Google to translate what you’re hearing, but it’s more complicated than that. You do have to tap the earbud and ask Google to translate, but then you have to open up the Google Translate app and hold your phone in front of your foreign language-speaking friend. And, of course, your phone must be a Google Pixel or Pixel 2.


  1. Although unlike AirPods, Pixel Buds don’t sync with multiple devices without resending, which sounds like a pain.