By Matt Chen
After much fanfare, it’s finally here in Singapore! I had been on their waitlist since launch and as soon as I got an email from the Google Store mentioning that the buds had launched at 11pm on Monday the 13th July, I immediately headed over and placed my order.
I was pleasantly surprised when I got a package delivery from DHL on Wednesday the 15th (keep in mind I ordered this close to midnight on Monday) and immediately paired it with the Samsung A71 which I was currently using to test and write a review about.
What’s In The Box And My Initial Impressions
It’s packaged in the typical Google minimalistic style, mostly white except at the back where they had a picture of a lady using the pixel buds. Once opened, you see this relatively small, flattish egg like case inside of the box.
Under the Pixel Buds case, you have these two additional pairs of rubber ear pieces, one smaller and the other larger than the pair on the buds for people with non standard ear sizes and under these was a USB A to USB C cable which is always nice to have given the ever increasing number of devices adopting USB C ports.
The touch of the case is very nice, the plastic is soft and very comfortable to hold and does not feel hard and plasticky like some of the other brands that I’ve used. Once you flip open the lid, you see these two round unobtrusive earbuds looking back at you with a pulsating white light in between them.
The pulsating white light meant that they were ready to be paired immediately and it was really simple to do, I just unlocked my phone, went into the bluetooth settings and looked for available devices to pair with and clicked on the Google Pixel Buds and that was all there was to it.
If you want to setup your Google Assistant to read out your messages and turn on adaptive sound, you will need to install the Pixel Buds app off the playstore. I strongly recommend that you install the app, if not for the assistant, then for adaptive sound which adjusts the volume depending on the ambient noise around you without you having to do anything.
This is being written only two days into using the earbuds so don’t consider this an extensive sound quality review yet – I will update this as I use these as my main earbuds for the next couple of weeks.
My initial reaction when listening to Spotify using these earbuds was that the base seemed a bit weak, however after a quick back and forth with a couple of other earbuds for comparison, I realised that the base was actually quite good, but the highs, mids and lows seemed to be competing to outshine each other to the point that they drown each other out. At this point I wished that they had included an equalizer in the Pixel Buds app.
Now keep in mind this was straight out of the box, since then I’ve activated adaptive sound and used this to listen to a lot more music and find that it’s not as flat as I initially felt, either because of the adaptive sound, or maybe my ears have gotten used to the tuning of the Pixel Buds. Either way, I’ll try and do a few side by side comparisons to compare the sound with some of the other premium earbuds out there and update this once available
Having to work from home, I used these in multiple video and audio calls and found them to have decent voice quality. People at the other end claimed to have heard me very clearly while I had no issues with audio quality in any of the meetings.
There were early reports of the buds being pretty uncomfortable to wear for extended periods due to the stabilizer arc, but I haven’t had any issues so far. These sit really nicely in my ears and the stabilizer arcs make it stay in no matter what I’m doing. The buds are relatively light and small sized and were pretty comfortable.
ANC and other features
While not equipped with active noise cancelling, it does a pretty good job at keeping the ambient sounds to a minimum. If truth be told, I couldn’t hear people talk around me when wearing the earbuds. It also has a feature that’s on by default, which allows it to detect an earbud being taken out of the ear, and pauses the music as soon as it does.
The early verdict
So should you get these? To be honest, I feel that it’s too early to tell. While the comfort and fit are great, I’ve yet to test it really rigorously enough to feel confident enough to tell anyone that they definitely need this in their life. At S$269 its not exactly cheap so my recommendation at this point in time is that it depends.
If you want an easy to use, comfortable and easy to carry around case and good sound quality for a decent price, then you should definitely go for it. However if you are looking for the best sound quality no matter the price, then I would probably shop around a bit more. Come back in a couple of weeks and I will have a more thorough review and will have a recommendation that I can stand behind.