Google announced a new entry in the Pixel Buds line — the $199 Pixel Buds Pro — at its annual Google I/O developer conference today. They join the lower-cost Pixel Buds A-Series and the defunct original Pixel Buds. They’ll be available for pre-order on July 21, and in stores on July 28, same as the Pixel 6A.
The Pixel Buds Pro sport a new design, are water- and sweat-resistant, have the usual touch controls — and, of course, have hands-free access to Google Assistant. And Google says they’ll sound great, too, with beam-forming microphones, a voice accelerometer, and mesh covers to block wind. They also measure bone conduction to analyze vibrations near your jaw to pick out your voice above the din. They’ve got “premium coatings” with a soft, matte texture and two-toned design, and they’ll be available in four colors — charcoal, fog, coral and lemongrass.
The Google Pixel Buds Pro feature active noise cancellation — otherwise known as ANC — with a “Silent Seal” feature that Google says adapts to the shape of your ear to block out as much noise passively as possibly. There are onboard sensors that measure the pressure in your ear canal, and the Pixel Buds Pro somehow will adjust that pressure to help keep things comfortable. It also comes with three sizes of tips. And the ANC itself has a custom processor and algorithms, as well as custom speakers.
Google also says that this will help out on the low end, as will “Volume EQ.” The short version there is that as you decrease the volume, the Pixel Buds Pro will automatically increase the bass to help keep things full, even when they’re not loud.
Transparency mode also remains extremely important for earbuds with ANC, so that you can still wear them on the street and in other busy places while remaining aware of what’s going on around you. And later this year, Pixel Buds Pro will support spatial audio.
The case remains roughly the same shape as before — much like a pebble. A single charge gets you 7 hours of listening time with ANC turned on. The charging case ups the total listening time to 20 hours, and just five minutes in the case will get you an hour of listening time back. And the case itself works fine with Qi-certified chargers, so you can juice it up wirelessly. You can also use the Find My Device feature to find your buds, if and when they go missing.
Multipoint connectivity is important these days, too, as we tend to keep our earbuds connected not just to our phones, but also to our computers and tablets. And that feature is present on the Pixel Buds Pro.