Apple AirPods vs. Google Pixel Buds

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Nov 16, 2017.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    The Pixel Buds, Google's $159 headphones designed to compete with Apple's AirPods, finally launched this week so we thought we'd pit the two devices against one another to see how they measure up.

    While the AirPods are widely loved and have received mostly positive reviews from customers and media sites, things aren't looking quite as rosy for the Pixel Buds. In a lot of ways, the Pixel Buds don't measure up to the AirPods, and in the video below, we compare design, features, sound quality, comfort, and other metrics.

    Pixel Buds and AirPods both cost $159 and are Bluetooth earphones designed for the Google and Apple ecosystems, respectively, but when it comes to design, they're quite a bit different. The AirPods are entirely wire-free, but the Pixel Buds have an adjustable cord that connects the two earpieces together. Each is stored in a case that provides extra battery.

    Both earphones support touch and tap gestures to do things like activate Siri or Google Assistant and control music playback, but each one has shortcomings. There's no volume control on the AirPods, meaning you need to use Siri or your connected device to adjust volume, and on the Pixel Buds, there's no gesture for switching tasks, so you need to use Google Assistant. By the way, when connected to an iPhone, Google Assistant functionality doesn't work.


    AirPods have a nifty feature that stops music playback when an AirPod is removed from the ear, and there's no equivalent feature on the Pixel Buds. The Pixel Buds do have a unique translation feature, but as it turns out, it requires Google Translate on a smartphone and isn't too much different from just using your phone for translation purposes.

    The W1 chip built into the AirPods allows them to be swapped seamlessly between Apple devices and is one of the best AirPods features, while the Pixel Buds aren't quite as convenient. On Android devices, you need to put the buds back in their case, hold the pair button, and then re-pair when you want to switch.


    At their price point, both the AirPods and the Pixel Buds offer relatively decent sound, but we did feel that the AirPods were better in this regard. The Pixel Buds sounded somewhat muddled, especially when using Spotify.

    Given some of the shortcomings of the Pixel Buds, the AirPods seem to have them beat, based on our own experience with the two products and a range of less than enthusiastic Pixel Bud reviews from media sites. And of course, as an Apple-centric site with employees that largely use iOS devices, MacRumors is partial to the AirPods.


    We may prefer the AirPods to the Pixel Buds, but as with our comparison between the iPhone X and the Google Pixel 2 XL, choosing between the AirPods and the Pixel Buds largely comes down to the ecosystem you're using. If you have an iPhone, iPad, or Mac, the AirPods are the obvious choice.

    If you don't have an iPhone or another Apple device, you're not going to get the benefits of the W1 chip, so it may be worth considering the Pixel Buds instead. And, of course, there's always the neither option -- there are hundreds of other Bluetooth headphones on the market.

    Article Link: Apple AirPods vs. Google Pixel Buds
  2. Goldfrapp, Nov 16, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2017

    Goldfrapp macrumors 601


    Jul 31, 2005
    No company can match Apple's vision, attention to detail, or the cool factor, no matter how hard they try to "innovate". Why? Simply because Apple, unlike others, take their time to polish and perfect their products.

    A tech marvel like iPhone X, its design and its stupidly intuitive gestures are a clear example, something that competitors have never even dreamt of.
  3. blacktape242 macrumors 65816


    Dec 17, 2010
    Sacramento, CA
    well google's pods are theres that....
  4. iapplelove macrumors 68040


    Nov 22, 2011
    East Coast USA
    I hear the google buds are horrible. Have yet to listen myself but reviews are not good.
  5. WAM2 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 6, 2011
    United States
  6. djeeyore25 macrumors 6502


    Dec 23, 2014
    New York City
  7. jetjaguar macrumors 68030


    Apr 6, 2009
  8. nikhsub1 macrumors 68020


    Jun 19, 2007
    mmmm... jessica.'s beer...
    WTF cable connecting them? I use one airpod all the time for phone calls... would be awkward having one hanging round my neck since I only like to use ONE while on the phone.
  9. Syk macrumors 6502a

    Jun 20, 2010
    Lot cheaper options for corded wireless earbuds...

    Apple needs to release a black version of airpods. Not everyone wants to walk around with what looks like QTips sticking out of their ears.
  10. deanthedev macrumors 65816


    Sep 29, 2017
    No they don’t, and that’s a common misconception.

    All the translation is done on the phone. The Pixel buds are just a remote.
  11. Starship67 macrumors 6502


    Oct 28, 2017
    2nd star to the right and straight on til morning
    For me the fact that they have a cable connecting them together make them lesser than the AirPods just for that.
  12. oneMadRssn macrumors 68040


    Sep 8, 2011
    Boston, MA
    More like Pixel Duds, amiright?

    ... I'll see myself out.
  13. H.E. Pennypacker macrumors regular

    H.E. Pennypacker

    Oct 23, 2017
    This is very true. My one critique of the airpods is fit. Why can’t they use an earbud style. More people than not have issues with fit with the airpods and Apple branded earphones.
  14. ersan191 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2013
    Apple really did kind of unexpectedly knock it out of the park with the AirPods - probably the best Apple product in years, and I like the low-key rollout.
  15. euvnairb macrumors regular

    Oct 13, 2010
    Goleta, CA
    I really want to buy a pair of airpods but I want to see if Apple releases a new version with the updated case with wireless charging capability. I hope Apple doesn't sell the wireless-capable case as JUST a standalone.
  16. H.E. Pennypacker macrumors regular

    H.E. Pennypacker

    Oct 23, 2017
    This is a done deal. Already been announced. The package with airpods and case al la cart if needed
  17. euvnairb macrumors regular

    Oct 13, 2010
    Goleta, CA
    Ahhhh...didn't know this. Guess I will be waiting for that release then.
  18. Will.O.Bie macrumors regular


    Aug 29, 2016
    Those "Q-tips" make it unique IMO, but a black set of AirPods wouldn't be so bad.
  19. OldSchoolMacGuy macrumors 68040


    Jul 10, 2008
    I'd take the AirPods any day over the Pixel Buds.
  20. Will.O.Bie macrumors regular


    Aug 29, 2016
    And this is why they design their own hardware and software. They don't have to rely on outside sources to put together their products. Obviously, not all of their products are exclusively Apple made but you get what I'm saying.

    The W1 chip and FaceID are their latest true innovation in my opinion. Anything compared to the AirPods would not fare as well as they have.
  21. OldSchoolMacGuy macrumors 68040


    Jul 10, 2008
    There are a number of companies that sell them. There are also others that sell them in multiple color choices.
  22. jarman92 macrumors 6502

    Nov 13, 2014
    Exactly the point, and the reason Apple will always make them only in white: they're iconic. You can tell immediately when someone is wearing AirPods (and EarPods) whereas the Pixel Buds could be any of a hundred other brands.
  23. Mr. Mad Vibes macrumors member

    Mr. Mad Vibes

    Apr 1, 2008
    Ill take google's pixel buds color any day. Over apples played out white
  24. genovelle macrumors 6502a

    May 8, 2008
    That would make them more like the Beats X like I have. They still have the W-1 chip and it is awesome.
  25. enduro0125 macrumors regular


    Apr 9, 2012
    Sport model AirPods would be the cats ass.

    I loved the AirPods but they wouldn’t stay in my ears.

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