Categories: TECH LIFE
January 22, 2018
| On 10 months ago

Google Pixel Buds: An In-Depth Review Of Google’s Flagship Earpiece

By Iqmall Hayat

Google Translate has been a lifesaver, especially for avid travellers. What if I told you that you can now own a device that was designed specifically for using the Google Translate effectively?

Introducing, the Google Pixel Buds. These revolutionary wireless headphones include a few typical Google-centric features, which we’ll mess around with today.

Rocky Set-Up

The first hurdle after unboxing the buds was the set-up. It’s 2018 and we’re still relying on Bluetooth that’s over 20 years old! Sure, the instructions made it look very simple but we fumbled with the settings for a good 30 minutes before my Pixel 2XL prompted the successful connection.

My biggest gripe with the whole “No Headphone Jack” movement that’s sweeping the industry now is that the pairing between the wireless earpiece and phone isn’t as stable as I would like it to be; I often find myself losing and regaining connection in spurts.

‘Hook’ Design

The fit of the Pixel Buds is weird, to say the least. You’d think it would be great ergonomically because of the hook design of the buds, but it felt extremely unfamiliar. It didn’t feel secure, almost as if it was dangling by the earlobe.

The Right earbud houses all the controls and to use it, you’ll have to keep touching the earbud to play, pause or adjust the volume and the slightest movement dislodges it.

Casing Woes

Covered in felt, the compact casing is also the charging base for the Pixel Buds. For such a multi-functional casing, the hinges were staggeringly flimsy.

It felt exactly like those cases you’d get with your earpiece just that this actually charges the Pixel Buds too. Imagine having them tear apart through usage; you’d lose the charger as well.

Touch Control

Buttonless in design, the earbuds function by touch, with certain gestures performing different actions. You can play a song, call on the Google Assistant, as well as adjust the volume just through a swiping motion.

It’s all very new and requires a huge learning curve. I do like the functionality of it but the execution was rather poor.

After using the Google Assistant religiously for a month though, it’s been nothing short of life-changing. It actually works perfectly fine without the buds and I found it cumbersome to start tapping the right earbud just to get it activated.

It sure made me feel like technology has really evolved, having a computed voice as my personal assistant.

Ultimately, the Pixel Buds were made specifically to make live Google translations as seamless as possible. However, I got off to a rough start when I found out that you’ll need the Google Translate app installed on the phone beforehand.

I can’t imagine how thrusting my phone close to someone and expecting them to know what to do with it would look like. You’d still need to tap on the mic icon on the screen before it picks up the foreign language.

That being said, the translations were surprisingly accurate, however, the whole process was a bit cumbersome and I can’t help but feel like I’m troubling the person I’m conversing with more than I should.

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Not many products are a hit right from the start and for its first crack at the earphone and headphone category, the Google Pixel Buds face similar woes. Sure the innovative features sound cool in theory, but the practicality of them fall short on many accounts.

It can only get better from this point though, and if Google fixes the buds flaws, the tech giant would have a very good product on hand. Until then, the Google Pixel Buds are an easy pass for any audiophile.

Price: S$238

Google Pixel Buds: Website

Iqmall Hayat

IG: @datingjenniekim