Google launched its wireless headphone Google Pixel Buds, a competition to Apple’s AirPods

Google launched its wireless headphone Google Pixel Buds, a competition to Apple’s AirPods

Google followed Apple’s move to on the Pixel 2, and like the handset itself, Google designed a pair of headphones to best show off Google Assistant’s capabilities. Real-time is possible, so you can have a conversation with someone who speaks one of 40 foreign tongues. As soon as you pair them with your Pixel or Android phone running Nougat or higher, Assistant is available.

Unlike Apple’s AirPods, the Pixel Buds have a wire connecting the two earpieces. However, that wire doesn’t connect to a smartphone or other device. Pixel Buds will pair via Bluetooth to the new Pixel smartphones and presumably any other devices that accept Bluetooth wireless earbuds.

All of the Pixel Buds’ controls are built in to the right earpiece, which is a common hardware solution on wireless earbuds. You can access Google Assistant by tapping or pressing on the right earbud, and the Assistant will be able to read notifications and messages to you through the Buds.

The headphones come with a pocket-sized charging case, with 5 hours of listening time with one charge, although the case itself gives you up to 24 hours of listening time on the go.

They will be available in the same colors as the Pixel 2: Clearly , Kinda Blue and Just Black. At a price of $159, pre-orders begin today.

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The Battle of Wireless earbuds

Apple’s iPhone 7 is definitely the most important and popular phone to discard the headphone jack, and Apple is dragging the industry toward a wireless future, whether we like it or not. At least the company provided its own solution, , are one of the newest truly wireless earbuds you can buy. By truly wireless, they are just two buds that sit in both ears without anything connecting them. Much like other Apple technology, AirPods are not the only truly wireless buds on the market.

Like other Apple technologies, AirPods have a unique spin that sets them apart from the competition. Apple hopes to convince consumers that its buds are the best to pair with their iPhones, but consumers have many options to choose from when it comes to competing wireless earbuds.

Specs compared: AirPods and competitors
DeviceAirPodsPowerbeats3SkybudsVerve One
Onboard call and music controlsVoice with Siri onlyInline remote, voice with SiriOnboard buttons, can access Siri and Google NowOnboard buttons, can access Siri and Google Now
Interchangeable ear tipsNoYesYesYes
Included charging caseYesNoYesYes
Local music storageNoNoNoNo
Built-in micYesYesYesYes
CompatibilityAndroid and iOSAndroid and iOSAndroid and iOSAndroid and iOS
Battery life5 hours12 hours4 hours4 hours
Battery life with charging case24 hoursN/A12 hours24 hours

Apple AirPods: The AirPods can be easily pair with an iPhone or other Apple device. The W1 chip inside of them lets you flip open the lid of their charging case, and your iPhone will pull up a pairing window. This takes the headache out of pairing another Bluetooth device to your iPhone, and it’s especially easy compared to other wireless buds that use regular Bluetooth pairing (something the AirPods can also do, if you need to pair them with something that doesn’t run iOS).

  • $159/£159 Apple AirPods
  • A larger opening in the back makes for stronger bass
  • AirPods camp out in their charging case
  • The charging case provides up to 24 hours of additional battery life

Beats Powerbeats3: The Powerbeats3 are in line with the rest of the family, and they have that traditional over-ear design that places a flexible piece of plastic over the outside of your ear. I was never a big fan of this design until a few years ago when I used a bunch of them and found that the bendable hook really helps keep the buds in place. Beats also includes various-sized ear tips in the Powerbeats3 box, letting you adjust the fit of the buds in your ear canal.

  • $199/£160 Beats Powerbeats3 wireless
  • The two buds are connected by a singular wire that lies against the back of your neck
  • MicoUSB charging port
  • Inline remote for controlling music playback and volume

Skybuds: $249 Skybuds come nestled in their charging case, a small, squarish pod, and pop up out when you want to use them. Each bud is a silver orb with ear tips sticking out of the narrowest end. Both the left and the right bud look identical, each with a square button on its back that has a glowing rim of light around it. These buttons act as your onboard controls for music playback, and the colored light shines blue when they turn on (automatically, when they come out of the case) and red when you stick them back in the case to turn them off.

  • $249/£170 Skybuds
  • One Skybud in its charging case
  • The charging case provides an extra 12 hours of battery life
  • It’s slightly smaller than a pack of cigarettes

Motorola VerveOne: Motorola got into the wireless audio action last year with a handful of wireless earbuds, including the $199 VerveOnes. These are one of three truly wireless earbuds that Motorola makes, and they look like a rounded-oval version of Skybuds. They, too, have physical buttons on both the left and right bud. The left VerveOne bud acts as the master module and transmits sound and information to the right bud. They live in a tubular case that you twist open to reveal the charging inserts for each bud.

  • $199/£150 Motorola VerveOnes
  • The VerveOnes and their tube-like charging case
  • The tube twists to open and close, encasing the buds inside


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