Google just released its Pixel Buds 2, the long-awaited second generation of their maligned Pixel Buds that came out a few years ago. The original Pixel Buds were slammed due to design and audio issues.
In the meantime, Google’s arch competitor’s wireless buds, the AirPods, have become the de facto gold standard in wireless earbuds. Apple’s most recent AirPods, the AirPods Pro is the cream of the crop thanks to their sleek design and their active noise cancelation.
But has Google finally struck back with its new Pixel Buds 2? Let’s take a look at how the earbuds stack up.
Apple’s AirPods Pro vs Google’s Pixel Buds 2
- AirPods Pro – The AirPods Pro improves on the AirPods’ iconic design by having both a shorter stem and they also include three rubber tips to give users a better fit.
- Pixel Buds 2 – The Pixel Buds, on the other hand, feature a less-sleek design, but it’s not a bad one. They’re a little more cartoonish looking, but feature a cool stabilizer arch to help keep them in your ears.
Winner? AirPods Pro – Their design still outshines the upcoming Pixel Buds 2. They’re tiny works of art.
Audio & Connectivity
- AirPods Pro – The AirPods Pro includes dual beam-forming microphones, dual optical sensors, a motion-detecting accelerometer, and a speech-detecting accelerometer. They also connect over both Bluetooth and Apple’s H1 chip, which makes connecting them to an iPhone effortless. Another major advantage? Their incredible active noise cancellation (ANC).
- Pixel Buds 2 – The Pixel Buds also feature beam-forming microphones and a voice accelerometer, as well as connecting over Bluetooth too. But when it comes to audio quality they can’t compete with the AirPods Pro as they don’t feature any ANC. The Buds to have “Adaptive Sound” that automatically raises or lowers the volume based on your surroundings, but it’s no ANC.
Winner? AirPods Pro – The AirPods Pro has active noise cancellation. Because of that, it’s not even a contest.
Battery & Charging
- AirPods Pro – The AirPods Pro gets you 4.5 hours of use when active noise cancellation is engaged. When active noise cancellation is turned off, you’ll get 5 hours of use. The AirPods Pro also comes with a wireless charging case as standard, which gets you over 24 hours of use.
- Pixel Buds 2 – The Pixel Buds get you 5 hours of use and their case gets you another 19 hours in total.
Winner? Draw – The battery life on both are identical.
- AirPods Pro – The AirPods Pro supports hands-free “Hey Siri” commands as well as giving you full access to all of Siri’s capabilities.
- Pixel Buds 2 – The Pixel Buds support hands-free Google Assistant. Right there, they beat the AirPods Pro’s Siri.
Winner? Pixel Buds 2 – Google Assistant is a much better assistant than Siri.
- AirPods Pro – $249.99
- Pixel Buds 2 – $179.99
From an audio and design perspective, the winner is clear –the AirPods Pro. Their active noise cancelation can’t be beaten here. It especially can’t be beaten because the Pixel Buds 2 don’t even offer ANC.
However, if you don’t use your earbuds mainly for music and instead use them for interacting with your phone’s assistant, then the Pixel Buds are a great choice because they support Google Assistant. Google Assistant blows Siri away any day of the week.
Apple’s AirPods Pro vs Google’s Pixel Buds: Full Specs
Here are the specs for the AirPod Pro:
- Connectivity: Bluetooth, H1 chip
- Wireless charging: Yes
- Battery Life: 4.5 hours AirPod use, 24+ hours with charging case
- Sensors: Dual beam-forming microphones, Dual optical sensors, Motion-detecting accelerometer, Speech-detecting accelerometer, Force sensor
- Voice assistant support: Siri
- Noise Cancellation: Yes
- Sweat and water resistant: Yes
And here are the specs for the Pixel Buds:
- Connectivity: Bluetooth
- Wireless charging: Optional
- Battery Life: 5 hours Pixel Buds use, 24 hours with charging case
- Sensors: Beam-forming microphones, Voice accelerometers, Touch
- Voice assistant support: Google Assistant
- Noise Cancellation: No, but Adaptive Sound feature will raise and lower the volume based on outside noise
- Sweat and water resistant: Yes
Apple expert and novelist, Michael Grothaus has been covering tech on KnowYourMobile for the best part of 10 years. Prior to this, he worked at Apple. And before that, he was a film journalist. Michael is a published author; his book Epiphany Jones was voted as one of the best novels about Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly. Michael is also a writer at other publications including VICE and Fast Company.