While everyone is concentrating on all the IoT changes in Google, no one noticed the upgraded earbuds, those small essential items that always go unnoticed. So, this article is dedicated to Googles Ear Buds.
This is the Pixel USB-C earbuds. These small buds are priced at $30 and are a basic looking set of PnP buds.
Now, you might think that earbuds are not such an important item to review, but guess what, they are. Earbuds have four basic features that need to be perfect. Otherwise, these simple devices lose their brilliance and become just another pair of plastic thruways that cause a lot of frustration and even end up making crazies stab one another in a crowded underground carriage.
The four core features are:
- Ear Comfort; how well do they sit in the ear?
- Bass; how deep is the bass range?
- Clarity; how clear is the overall tone?
- Audio Insulation; does the bud cancel out external noises?
Before I answer the four core feature questions, let’s take a look at the good, the bad and the weird.
Clean, smooth sound
Extremely comfortable and very light
Compatible with most recent USB-C devices
Negligible external noise insulation
Virtually nonexistent bass
The in-ear cable loops
Earbuds have evolved over the past two decades, from chunky heavy phones to lightweight, USB/Bluetooth connected buds. With the need to reduce weight and size, came the reduction in quality of tone, as well as a reduction in the ability to isolate external sound from penetrating the ear.
There have been great results, but these great results end up costing around $149, such as the Libratone buds, which are perhaps the best buds on the market, but come at a price most will not pay for a pair of earbuds.
However, Google just walked in with a $30 pair that claims to be as good as, if not better than all phones on the market.
Unfortunately for them, even with all their billions, the product is not complete and is far from being a Libratone competitor.
The overall design is nice, the standard shiny white that sort of loses its sheen after a few uses. Nothing spectacular in the design. The USB connector is linked to a shiny wire that runs up to a three-button console that then splits into wires leading to the two buds. Standard simple and works.
What is weird are those ear loops, semi-hard cables that can be adjusted to help hold the bud in place. I do know that some like these attachments, while others hate them. The cable loop is one of the features that is split 50:50, and you can never win with them. Personally, I like them when they feel right, but most of the time they just annoy me.
The sound was initially great, there is a clear and smooth rendering of the audio, and they do not swamp you with treble. These are well-balanced speakers that meet most requirements. However, the bass is too lightweight, and sometimes I miss those mind moving vibrations that can change the aspect of a musical file from being a song to be an emotionally moving piece of wonder. However, for their price, the sound and clarity are truly great, and they are well worth the value you pay for.
Now we come to the audio insulation. This is one of the biggest issues I always have with any earbud, how to keep out external sounds from invading my private space. Basically, for a company that spends billions on researching autonomous vehicles, you would think they could produce a pair of earbuds that totally isolate outside sounds. Not so, there is still interference, although the buds are better than many competitors, you expect to get more, and meeting expectations is always a big issue. What I found is that these buds are similar to the Apple buds, you can listen to your music and hold a conversation at the same time. However, if you do decide to blast the volume all the way up, obviously you will go deaf as you enjoy basting out the extremal noise through overstated sound.
The Pixel USB-C earbuds work well with all Android devices, and also connected them to Apple devices. Yes, the USB-C port is universal, and it’s an IoT which means you can connect these buds to Apple devices too. However, there are still some issues with USB-C, so don’t expect these buds to work with every device that has one.
The Bottom Line
If you are a standard user, that has a mix of devices from every platform, and are not just a Lightning Apple freak, then you should consider buying a pair of these compatible buds. They really do work with most everything, and they do deliver a good affordable result. If you can overlook the week bass and the poor sound insulation, which when compared to most others is still better then most. Then you get a decent pair of buds for $30 and can have them as your primary or secondary pair. I find that most homes have around 5 to 6 pairs of buds anyway, so buy one of these and add them to your collection.