While the new Apple Airpods Pro from Apple impresses with active noise cancellation, Google is planning a counterattack with its Pixel Buds: the Mountain View company has presented new in-ear headphones with a hybrid design together with the Pixel 4. The wearables in comparison. So far, the Apple Airpods looked like a small toothbrush in the ear. That’s history now because the Cupertino-based company has given its wireless headphones a new design.
Even before the official launch at the end of October, an icon of an actual wireless headset hidden in iOS 13.2 suggested this. And this is even though Apple only launched the second generation of Airpods in spring.
Apple Airpods Pro: Airpods Pro With Active Noise Cancellation
The new design is due to the most important new feature: the Airpods Pro has a unique shape to perform active noise cancellation. They are reminiscent of a small hairdryer.
While the old Airpods had an open design and therefore still allowed ambient noise, the new plugs sit more firmly in the ear and isolate external noise. However, before using all functions such as active noise cancellation, you must update your device to the latest operating system, iOS 13.2, or iPad OS 13.2.
Interchangeable Plugs In Different Sizes
Apple has also made the headphones more accessible to a wide range of people. The Airpods were previously only available in one size. Anyone who didn’t fit them was unlucky and had to use other headphones.
The Airpods Pro now comes with interchangeable silicone tips in three different sizes. They are conically shaped on the inside and hold securely in the ear. In addition, ventilation equalises the pressure so that it feels like you don’t have headphones in your ears at all.
Charging Case And Accessories For Airpods Pro
Just like the old Airpods, the Airpods Pro can be independently connected to an Apple device of your choice. In addition, the new headphones again support use with the voice assistant Siri. So instead of lifting a finger, you can control music, calls, volume, and more with your voice.
Also, audio sharing allows us to share a song or audio stream between two pairs of Airpods and then listen to content with a friend at the same time.
The Competition: Google Pixel Buds In Hybrid Design
At the same time, Google has introduced new headphones together with the Pixel 4 and 4 XL: The new Pixel Buds are entirely wireless, small, and should not stick out of the ear.
The company’s goal was to make the earplugs comfortable for as many ear shapes as possible. That’s why Google says it scanned thousands of ears. Of course, this cannot guarantee an ideal fit for everyone. After all, everyone has a different ear. On this point, Apple and Google seem to be on par.
However, in terms of technology, there is one crucial difference between the Airpods and the Pixel Buds: Google’s headphones come in the so-called hybrid design. This means that you are not entirely isolated from the outside world, but you can still hear a compelling sound.
Adaptive Sound And “Excellent Sound Quality”
At the presentation in October, Google’s hardware boss Rick Osterloh also said that the headphones had “excellent sound quality” thanks to dynamic twelve-millimetre speakers.
As with the current second-generation Airpods, the battery life should be five hours. The associated protective case also has an integrated battery. You should also get 24 hours of additional listening time with several charges, as with the competition.
Google also promises a comfortable wearing experience: the earplugs should gently seal the ear to reduce or exclude outside noise. The speakers also have a small opening intended to reduce the otherwise typical stuffy feeling in the ear.
Another highlight is the adaptive sound: you can adjust the volume dynamically when you move from a quiet to a louder environment. So we don’t always have to regulate them ourselves on our smartphones or MP3 players.
Phone Calls And Interaction With The Google Assistant
In addition, two beamforming microphones are installed in the Pixel Buds, which are intended to record our speech specifically. A voice accelerometer detects our address from the vibration of our jawbone. This is how the Pixel Buds understand us in wind and weather or running or cycling.
The Bluetooth connection between the headphones and the paired smartphone or notebook should work across three rooms. According to Google, this corresponds to an association of over 100 metres outdoors.
Conclusion On The Apple Airpods Pro And Google Pixel Buds
The Airpods Pro provides active noise cancellation, while the Pixel Buds promise a powerful sound experience with which you can still perceive your surroundings.
However, we will have to be patient before testing the headphones: The Pixel Buds will not be available in the USA until spring.