More and more people have cut the cord when it comes to home entertainment. You, too, can make life more convenient and easier on your ears while using your smartphone or tablet.
If you’re constantly on the go and an Android user, Google has an answer: Pixel Buds 2.
These second-generation earbuds from the search engine giant are completely wireless – and smart, too. They’re designed to be easy to use and enhance your talking and listening experience. Google incorporates features they’re known for, plus some you might expect to be available for use only in your home or office.
The earbuds have a button-shaped top and winged rubber tips with stabilizer arcs that gently press up on the inside edge of your ear for a snug fit. They’re also sweat-proof and splash resistant.
The compact units are easy to carry and store. The charging case is smaller than the palm of your hand, and magnets guide the buds into place. The package weighs a mere 67 grams.
The buds are also easy to use.
Open the case and auto-pairing detects your phone’s buds, which can be controlled in several ways, including simple taps or swipes on the buds. You can also access Google Assistant through the earbuds.
The companion app gives you further functionality, including monitoring the buds’ battery level and the battery level in your case. The app also offers controls to configure or toggle on or off.
The Find My Buds feature can determine their location and send a signal that causes them to ring.
The buds also pause your audio when you remove them from your ear, which is handy when you stop to talk to someone. The audio resumes when you put them back in.
And the Adaptive Sound feature automatically adjusts the volume, dependent on your environment. This can be particularly handy when you move from a quiet place to a noisy street.
The buds allow for some noise for spatial awareness – such as a car horn – but don’t have active noise cancellation like Apple AirPods.
Pixel Buds 2 are also optimized for making phone calls. The microphones zero in on your voice and differentiate from background noise.
Pixel Buds 2 also supports on-the-fly translation in conjunction with the Google Translate app. By simply tapping your buds and saying for example, “help me speak,” you can carry on a conversation with someone in another language.
Battery life is rated at up to five hours of listening time or 2.5 hours of talk time. With a fully charged case, you can get up to 24 hours of listening and 12 hours of talking without recharging. If you happen to run out of juice at an inconvenient time, a 10-minute charge will keep you going for another two hours of listening or one hour of talking.
Google Pixel Buds 2 are designed for use with later-model Android devices (6.0 or later).
They also work quite well on an iPhone or iPad, but they would be overkill if you own only Apple devices. You can’t take full advantage of many of the advanced features.
The retail price in Canada is $239, including the earbuds, ear-tips with three size options for a good fit, wireless charging case (which can also be used wired) and a USB cable. They’re available in three colours: white, black and mint.
Greg Gazin, also known as the Gadget Guy and Gadget Greg, is a syndicated veteran tech columnist, communication, leadership and technology speaker, facilitator, blogger, podcaster and author. Reach him @gadgetgreg or at GadgetGuy.ca.