It’s taken Google a surprisingly long time to make good earbuds. The original Pixel Buds from 2018 were a bulky, mushroom-shaped mess that made you look like Frankenstein’s monster. The charging case was huge, the sound was middling, and when you finally worked up the courage to go outside with them, it felt like everyone wearing AirPods was laughing at you.
One of the most important things about the hardware of earbuds is fit and comfort and this is something that I feel Google has absolutely nailed. The Pixel Buds are very small compared to normal silicone-tip wireless earbuds. They’re slimmer than Samsung’s Galaxy Buds and smaller in almost every dimension compared to other options.
Excellent touch gestures that could use some fine-tuning
Touch gestures are one of the best parts of Google’s Pixel Buds. Generally, truly wireless earbuds have some form of touch gestures for simple functions such as play/pause, skipping tracks, accessing your voice assistant, and
Here’s the thing, Google’s gestures are fantastic, but they could use a bit of work. Sensitivity is at times too much but at others too little. Constantly I found myself raising the volume while trying to pause music or vice versa. Part of this is just the nature of the buds. Since they’re smaller than the previous generation, there’s less space to recognize the gestures. More than likely, though, this is something Google can adjust with software updates.
You might occasionally use voice commands to text someone back or ask Assistant the weather, but the vast majority of your time with the Pixel Buds will be spent listening to music. For audio quality, these are some of the best wireless earbuds I’ve tried.
They’ve got one of the more nuanced sound signatures I’ve ever heard in portable earbuds. Every instrument comes through with crystal clarity, which makes denser mixes like Foxygen’s “San Francisco” come through with elegant depth. You hear the tinny cymbals in the middle, the beautiful piano notes on the far right side, with chugging acoustic guitars on the left. Each has its own musical space.
The Google Pixel 5 release date will likely be toward the end of 2020, a year that’s starting to feel very long indeed – but that just means the tech giant has time to retool and learn from the feedback on the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL phones.
The big theme with the Pixel 5 has to be fixing the mess that Google itself created with the Pixel 4. The Pixel 4 and the 4 XL were two of the most viciously criticized flagships of 2019, and shortly after the launch, the two phones were discounted sharply, not least because of all the bad press around the two devices. Most people were disappointed with the small size of the battery on the Pixel 4, but other key features were also missing.
Before the Pixel 5, we’re expecting to see the Pixel 4a phones, mid-range versions of the Pixel 4s in the same vein as the Pixel 3a. We’ve heard a lot of rumors as the phone gears up to launch at the end of May or the beginning of June.
Google Pixel 5 rumored specifications:
- Lower-tier Snapdragon 765G Chip
- Lower price, expectations are for $600 to $700 MSRP
- Improved power efficiency, bigger battery size
- Improved camera
- 5G support
Improved battery life
More power efficient chip and bigger size of the batteries
While performance on the Pixel 5 might take a hit, the newer chip might also be more power efficient. We expect Google to benefit from the more power-efficient Snapdragon 765G and from a bigger battery cell.
The one key camera feature that is missing
Google, we come on bended knee. We entreaty. We plead. Make like every other Android flagship in 2020 and give us an ultra-wide lens on the Google Pixel 5.
The addition of a telephoto lens was very welcome, justifying a lot of hopes that a second lens would enhance the Pixel’s portrait photography and expand its versatility. But the phone could be so much better, and have so much more range, with an ultra-wide camera. We can, and will, still dream.
In late 2020, the year of the corona, the price of new phones will matter more than ever. Millions of people have lost their jobs, and the recovery process might not be easy. A mid-range Pixel 5 phone that can’t match the performance of other 2020 Android phones, and which is significantly more expensive than several iPhone models will be a tough sell.
And don’t forget that phones like the OnePlus 8 and upcoming OnePlus 8T, would be better alternatives at the same price. By then, the Galaxy S20 will be even cheaper than it is now — and Samsung has been started cutting the price weeks ago. Not to mention the flurry of devices made in China that rock high-end specs for bargain prices.
The $699 Pixel 5 is a great deal only if it gets the best possible mobile chip available right now. Hopefully, the Pixel 6 won’t have this problem, as Google is finally developing its own silicon.