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Google’s new Pixel Buds are truly wireless headphones, and they’re always listening to you

Google has joined the arms race for truly wireless headphones, after the tech giant unveiled the Google Pixel Buds—their first attempt at wireless earbuds. It’s an increasingly competitive market right now, with Samsung’s Galaxy Buds, Sony’s WF-1000XM3 headphones, and of course, the Apple AirPods all already in the market.

Google is relying on its Google Assistant to give the new Pixel Buds the edge here, with users having hands-free access to the virtual assistant by simply uttering “Hey Google” or “OK Google”. Each bud comes with two built-in microphones, which supposedly focus in on your voice while “suppressing” background noises. Google says that a voice accelerometer will also allow for you to be heard in windy conditions, with vibrations in your jawbone detected.

Google is also promising pretty decent battery life, with up to 5 hours of continuous listening and 24 hours if you include the wireless charging case—putting it right up there with the Apple AirPods. The buds also have long-range Bluetooth connectivity, staying connected even if the connected phone is three rooms away indoors or a football-field away outdoors (American football, we assume).

There’s no Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) tech, unfortunately. Instead, Google’s Adaptive Sound automatically adjusts the volume of the buds as you move through different environments, so you won’t need to readjust your volume whilst moving from a noisy area into a quiet one.

There’s a spatial vent on each bud as well, which means that you can still hear what’s going on around you. Google says that this is “just the right amount of environmental sound”; that sounds like the opposite of ANC, so we’ll just have to wait and see how the Pixel Buds actually sound if we get our hands on a set.

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The new Google Pixel Buds will only be available in the U.S. in 2020 however, and will be priced at US$179 (about RM749). There will be four colours: Clearly White, Oh So Orange, Quite Mint and Almost Black.

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