When it comes to true wireless earbuds, Apple’s AirPods are king. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other options out there for those looking to take a different route. Just one of these alternatives is the brand new Google Pixel Buds 2, which was announced alongside the Google Pixel 4 on October 15.
But do the Google Pixel Buds 2 have what it takes to rival Apple in the fight for true wireless earbud domination? Or has Big G once again created a set of Buds that only cater to a Pixel-adoring audience? Let’s find out as with pit the two products against each other in an early, specs-only comparison.
At $200 for the Apple AirPods 2 with Wireless Charging Case, Apple’s best wireless earbuds aren’t exactly what you’d call cheap. It hasn’t always been this way, though. When the Pods first hit the shelves, sans Wireless Charging Case, they retailed for $160 — on par with the original Google Pixel Buds.
Some have argued that the AirPods 2 isn’t worth the $200 Apple asks. Considering the Google Pixel Buds 2 will retail for $179 when it launches in 2020 and will deliver a far superior user experience — making the Google Pixel Buds 2 the much better buy in terms of bang for your buck.
Let’s not forget it’s cheaper, too.
Winner: Google Pixel Buds 2
For most of the best earbuds, battery life is the dealbreaker when considering a pair of wireless headphones. After all, the last thing you want to do is take a break from your music umpteen times a day to let them charge. With the AirPods 2, you’ll get around five hours’ worth of use. The same applies to the Google Pixel Buds 2.
Both come with an included charging case, which they’re stowed in when they aren’t in use. The one bundled with the AirPods 2 has enough charge for more than 24 hours of playback. Once again, the same applies to the Pixel Buds 2. That’s a reserve of a tad less than five full charges for both.
Features and ease-of-use
Apple AirPods are about as basic as true wireless earbuds can be. There aren’t any fancy features like noise-cancellation, IPX water resistance, or fitness tracking. All you can do is listen to music, take calls, and communicate with Siri — which can handle basic tasks, like sending a text.
The Pixel Buds 2 take this one step further with long-range Bluetooth that can span three rooms indoors and an entire football field outdoors, Google Translate, and an intuitive software feature that dynamically adjusts the volume as you move from a quiet office to a noisy subway — and vice versa.
While it would have been nice to see noise-cancellation on the AirPods (as Apple is rumored to be implementing on the AirPods 3), and some other new features to bring them more in line with the competition, Apple instead focused on hitting the nail on the head in its usual department: ease-of-use.
Pairing the AirPods takes no more than a second and barely requires any interaction — just bring them in range with an iPad or iPhone and tap a button on the screen. Then, either tap the side of a Pod or mumble the beloved “Hey, Siri!” hot-word whenever you want to dictate a command.
Unsurprisingly, all the other manufacturers followed suit and now the AirPods has been left in the dust in this department. Sure, it’s easy to set up — but the Pixel Buds 2 connect to an Android device in a similar way and can also be operated hands-free, all while bringing a lot more to the table.
Winner: Google Pixel Buds 2
It’s too early to pick an overall winner in this match-up as we have yet to see how the Google Pixel Buds 2 sound, and how they actually perform in the real world. As soon as we get our hands (and ears!) on the Pixel Buds 2, we’ll update this post with more lifelike information and select a winner.
Missed the rest of the announcements from Google’s October 15 event? You can catch up here.
- Jabra Elite 75t vs. Apple AirPods Pro: Who makes the better buds?
- Apple AirPods Pro vs. Apple AirPods: Are the pricier Pros worth it?
- The best Apple AirPods deals for January 2020: AirPods and AirPods Pro
- Common AirPods problems, and how to fix them
- These are the best Google Pixel deals for January 2020