Google is adding a new set of true wireless earbuds to its line of audio accessories, among other big news today. The Pixel Buds Pro are the company’s first earbuds with active noise canceling (ANC) and will soon support spatial audio when paired with a compatible Pixel phone. However, noise canceling and immersive audio aren’t the only big features Google has included in its $199 audio accessory.
Inside is a new six-core custom-built sound processor powered by Google algorithms that distributes sound via proprietary drivers. The company says all aspects of the setup, including active noise cancellation, were tuned by its own sound engineers. A feature called Volume EQ adjusts the lows, mids, and highs as you change the volume to maintain a balanced sound profile. For example, if you mute the volume, the buds automatically boost the bass while keeping the midrange and treble in check. Touch controls give you the ability to play/pause, skip tracks, adjust volume, and enable (or disable) noise cancellation. Like both the Pixel Buds and the A-Series, the Pro is IPX4 rated, so you shouldn’t have any reservations about using them during your workout.
Google has also explained the fact that everyone’s ears are different. Although it scans thousands of ears to find the most comfortable shape for most people, the tips provided may not work perfectly for all users. With a tool called Silent Seal, Pixel Buds Pro can adapt to your ears to maximize the effectiveness of ANC. Google says the earbuds also monitor the pressure in your ear canal and can relax when needed to keep you comfortable.
Multi-point connectivity is a must for earbuds these days, allowing you to seamlessly switch between your phone and a computer or tablet. Pixel Buds Pro offers this feature by replacing the last two Bluetooth devices you connected, including TVs and iPhones. There’s also hands-free access to Google Assistant, so you don’t have to reach for your phone to call for help with various tasks. And yes, the list of jobs still includes real-time translation for 40 languages. Transparency mode is another useful feature that lets outside noise in when you need to be aware of your surroundings or have a quick chat.
Speaking of audio, Google has used bone conduction to help you pick up your speech during calls. Along with beamforming microphones, audio accelerometer, and wind-blocking mesh covers, the company says you can expect clear calls even in less than ideal environments. Mileage differs drastically from such claims from headphone companies, so we’ll take any appropriate considerations for now.
Google promises up to seven hours of use with ANC on, or up to 11 hours of listening with ANC turned off. That latter figure more than doubles the battery life of the 2020 Pixel Buds and Pixel Buds A-Series, neither of which have real noise canceling capabilities. Even if you choose ANC mode, you still have two more hours than Google’s previous two sets. The case, similar to the one that comes with the latest models, supports wireless charging (Pixel Stand or Qi-certified accessories) and adds 13 hours of noise-canceling use. Finally, there’s a quick charge feature that gives you an hour of ANC listening time in five minutes.
Pixel Buds Pro will be available for pre-order on June 21 for $199. They are expected to begin shipping on June 28. And if you decide to buy, you will be able to choose from Coral, Lemon, Mist and Charcoal color options.
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