Google always likes to have an eye-opening software angle to give its hardware an edge. For its phones, it’s computational photography from a standard lens.
For speakers, it’s the assistant.
For its new Pixel Buds 2 (€199), it’s a combination of virtual intelligence and audio power.
Arguably the most notable element is its real-time translation. Say “Hey Google, help me to speak Spanish” and, as long as you have an Android 6 phone, it will start translating what you say into Spanish.
This isn’t a brand new feature, but it’s the first time it’s been integrated so seamlessly into a pair of wireless in-ear headphones.
The new Buds 2 also do a good job of adjusting the noise depending on where you are. While it doesn’t have active noise cancellation on board, it does still interpret what you’re listening to improve your own audio experience.
But the biggest plus to these Pixel Buds 2 is the audio quality. I’m slightly taken back by just how good they are at the thing you’re really buying them for.
They sport 12mm dynamic speaker drivers,but I’m not sure that this is what’s doing it. It may just be good engineering on the physical rubber tips and Buds themselves.
In my ears, which often don’t play well with in-ear headphones, they sit neatly in and don’t budge. Once you twist them in properly,the audio quality is simply superb (relative to umpteen other in-ear headphones I’ve tried over the last year).
The bass is comparatively rich and warm with voices completely clear.
They’re also very easy to set up: the minute you take them out of their case, they’re ready to pair. I did it with both an iPhone and Android phone and experience zero problems.
Like almost all such buds headphones,they come in a pill-style recharging case which gives them at least three or four hours of battery life per Buds charge, up to around 20 hours before you need to charge the case (via USB-C). That white case is elegantly designed and, I found, is relatively scuff-proof.
Call quality is also good and it has no problem picking up your voice clearly.
Lastly, the Buds are somewhat rain and sweat resistant, although you wouldn’t want to be out for a while in a deluge.
Overall, these are well worth buying and will provide serious competition for both Apple’s AirPods and AirPods Pro.
Question: I'm planning to buy a new laptop for home and some light work use. I plan to retire from my full-time job and do some small amounts of consultancy, as well as possibly returning to education. I find it difficult to understand the significance of some of the differences and would appreciate your advice.
Oh, to be someone with a budget to mull the merits of laptop models between €2,000 and €3,000. Theirs is currently a happy hunting ground. In the case of Microsoft's new Surface Book 3, it's quite an innovative, flexible one too.