Google on 15 Oct announced the latest generation of its Pixel Buds wireless headphones. The new pair comes in the “true wireless”, with two small earbuds that connect to a source device without any cables running between them.
Hands-free Google Assistant, more discreet design and adaptive sound features may make the new Pixel Buds worth waiting for. As for the wireless range, Google said the Buds will stay connected up to three rooms away. With an outdoor connection range that can stretch as long as a football ground.
Google says the new Pixel Buds will get five hours of battery life on a charge, with up to 24 hours added through its charging case. The company also touts “long-range Bluetooth connectivity” that grants the earbuds enough range though Google didn’t go into any specifics regarding how it has achieved that.
Google says the new Pixel Buds are sweat- and water-resistant as well, though it didn’t provide a specific IPX rating. The case itself is small and egg-shaped, and there are two microphones in each earbud to help with call clarity. Like the previous Pixel Buds, these are intended to be “smart” headphones, and as such you get hands-free Google Assistant support in addition to basic playback controls on each earbud.
There’s no active noise cancellation, but there is an “adaptive sound” feature designed to adjust the volume of whatever you’re playing dynamically, depending on the noise levels of your surrounding environment.
That’s decent enough, but thanks to more energy-efficient Bluetooth 5.0 chips, some of the latest true wireless buds offer better battery life — in the six-to-eight-hour range.
The new Pixel Buds charging case delivers an additional 19 hours of juice, Google said. We assume the case charges via USB-C and has some sort of fast-charge feature, but we’re still awaiting confirmation of that.
The new Pixel Buds will cost $179 and arrive sometime next spring. Google says it will detail the new earbuds more in the coming months. Either way, the company is jumping back into an increasingly crowded wireless headphone market, joining fellow tech giants like Amazon and Microsoft in addition to usual headphone makers like Sony, Beats, Jaybird, and so on.