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65 Engadget Score
It has some redeeming qualities, but you could still do better.
65

It has some redeeming qualities, but you could still do better.

How we score

The Engadget Score is a unique ranking of products based on extensive independent research and analysis by our expert editorial and research teams. The Global Score is arrived at only after curating hundreds, sometimes thousands of weighted data points (such as critic and user reviews).

Engadget Review

Since Google's new Pixel smartphones don't have headphone jacks, the company's decision to make a pair of wireless earbuds was only logical. Unfortunately, the Pixel Buds could still use some work. In fairness, they sound better than Apple's AirPods, the translation feature works fine most of the time. It's just too bad that finagling the Buds into their charging case is inconvenient, and that the touch controls are easy to accidentally activate. We also experienced strange hiccups with Google Assistant that detracted from other pleasant performance. Ultimately, Google's first attempt at wireless earbuds show signs of promise but still feel like a $159 experiment.

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Pros
  • They sound better than expected
  • Intuitive touch controls
  • Solid battery life
Cons
  • They don't shut out ambient noise at all
  • Obnoxious case design
  • Touch pads are easy totap accidentally
  • Google Assistant seems hit-or-miss
65 Engadget Score
It has some redeeming qualities, but you could still do better.
65

It has some redeeming qualities, but you could still do better.

How we score

The Engadget Score is a unique ranking of products based on extensive independent research and analysis by our expert editorial and research teams. The Global Score is arrived at only after curating hundreds, sometimes thousands of weighted data points (such as critic and user reviews).

Scores

Engadget

65
 

Users

Not yet scored
 

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Score Breakdown

 
58
Average Critic Score
 
70
TechRadar
The Pixel Buds ... mostly succeed in executing their ambitions. While the sound and battery performance earn top marks, it’s knocked down by finicky usability and the fact that its best features are reserved for those wealthy enough to afford Google’s expensive smartphones.
 
60
Digital Trends
Overpriced and not truly wireless, the Pixel Buds still offer some unique Google-centric features.
 
70
CNET
The Pixel Buds are perfectly decent wireless headphones with a few extra tricks for Pixel phone users -- but don't expect a "Star Trek"-style universal translator.
 
60
The Guardian
Google enters the headphone market with interesting but flawed earbuds that don’t match Apple’s AirPods – and translation doesn’t live up to the hype.
 
40
PC Mag
Despite the promise of helpful voice assistant features, with its Pixel Buds, Google combines an uncomfortable design, mediocre performance, and a high price tag for an unappealing pair of wireless headphones.
 
50
The Verge
The Pixel Buds tease some really fantastic ideas that I hope Google will someday deliver on. But this is a first-generation product in the bad kind of way, and it looks even worse when you compare it to Apple’s growing success with the AirPods.
 
40
Stuff
Google Assistant can’t save these earphones from disappointment.
 
50
Tom's Guide
Wait for the next generation. The much-hyped translation features are impressive (even with some hiccups) and the tie-in to Google Assistant is nice. But other wireless headphones deliver better sound for less money.
 
60
Wired
I'm all in on the idea of ear-puters taking over the world, and I enjoy basically having a Google Home with me at all times. But I can't stand the rigamarole required to use them. And that should be the easy part.
 
80
Mashable
Google's Pixel Buds aren't perfect, but they're still the best alternative to AirPods.

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