Google decided to re-do the Pixel Buds and is now launching the second-generation model, starting with a US release.
The original earbuds were meh. We dubbed them Pixel Duds when they launched in 2017. Despite most critics not having a nice thing to say about Google's first pair of wireless earbuds, Google isn't ready to exit the headphone space. Instead, it's wiping the slate and launching a new pair of Pixel Buds. They're a second-generation model, but they aren't called Pixel Buds 2. They're just Pixel Buds.
Available for purchase in the US in Clearly White to start, the new earbuds sport an entirely new design. They're button-like, complete with an engraved G, and come with three-sized tips in the box. There’s also a small, removable silicone wing to help keep them in place.
The Buds themselves offer touch controls on their surface: Tap to play/pause media or answer calls; double-tap to skip track, end calls, stop the Assistant; triple tap to go to the previous track and rewind; and swipe forward or backward to adjust the volume.
Google said the new Pixel Buds should get 24 hours with the case. It's a white ovular case that opens with a flip and has black accents around the lid. There's also a USB-C port on the bottom - the Buds can wirelessly charge as well - and a pairing button on the rear. You'll also see a charging light on the case itself - Google said white stands for full, and orange is for low battery.
Flipping the case open with the Pixel Buds in prompts a dialogue box to appear on Pixel phones and other devices running Android 6.0 and up. This starts an instant pairing process, and then once registered, you'll get a pop up with details on your other devices.
There’s no active noise cancelation, but there is “Hey Google” integration (activated by voice or a long press with a finger). At $179, the new Pixel Buds are clearly mid-rangers and major upgrade to the original model.