There’s almost a sense of irony that just as OnePlus announced its truly wireless earbuds coming next week, Google makes an announcement that steals a bit of that thunder. Of course, we know nothing about OnePlus’ surprise TWS earbuds, both its features and especially its price, but that’s precisely the point. The 2nd-gen Google Pixel Buds are already here and are now available in 9 more countries. That is if you can actually stomach its price tag.
The Pixel Buds are unmistakably Google’s attempt at completing its mobile hardware ecosystem to rival Apple’s iPhones. More than just a “has too”, however, the Pixel Buds naturally offered Google exclusives, like tighter integration with Google Assistant and Google Translate. It is, to some extent, the premier earbuds for the avid Android user.
While the Buds may have some things going for it, it was sadly out of reach for the rest of the world living outside the US. It has almost three months since it launched and it is only now that the 2nd-gen Pixel Buds are breaking out into other markets. Even then, it’s still limited to only 9 countries, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Singapore, Spain, and the UK.
It’s also limited in available color options despite Google’s announcement of four. Right now, only the Clearly White variant is available for purchase in all those markets. Google is promising that more colors will be coming soon and hopefully, it means that Oh So Orange, Quite Mind, and Almost Black will be launching soon. Either that or it will announce more color options we can’t even buy yet.
As far as design goes, the Pixel Buds (2020)’s larger body belies its lightweight feel. While it makes for a good Google Assistant interface, its audio skills are more on the OK side rather than anything exception. Its biggest flaw, however, might be its $179 price that does put it on the same level as Apple’s AirPods but also allows others like the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ and perhaps the upcoming OnePlus TWS Buds to undercut it.