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Google's Pixel Buds' most impressive trick is real-time language translation. Photo: Google

At the surface level, Pixel Buds are Google's answer to Apple's AirPods. Both are wireless headphones designed to easily connect to each company's latest smartphones.

Despite those similarities, they are different products, pointing to each company's strengths.

Our take: Apple's AirPods are more elegant as well as smaller and more comfortable. However, Pixel Buds have some other appeals, most notably the ability to aid in real-time language translation.

The comparison: Apple's AirPods are decidedly more elegant, effortlessly connecting to the iPhone and so light and comfortable you barely notice they are there.

Pixel Buds, by contrast, are a less radical design, with the two buds connected via a long cord. Where they shine is in added features, in particular one that lets the headset handle real-time translation via Google Translate. In my limited testing, it wasn't that different than just using the Google Translate app, though it is a bit more discrete.

Who it's good for: People who have a Pixel or Pixel 2 (regular or XL models) and are already in the market for wireless headphones; those who travel a lot internationally.

Who it's not: People that already have wireless headphones they like or who want the smallest and most comfortable headphones.

The practicalities: Pixel Buds sell for $159 and are available to order from Google's Web site. While early orders are shipping this week, those ordered now could take until December to arrive.

Go deeper

Updated 36 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Concerns grow over CDC's isolation guidelines — Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: America's vaccination drive runs out of gas — Puerto Rico expands booster shot requirements.
  3. Politics: Joint Chiefs chair Gen. Mark Milley tests positive for COVID-19 — Vivek Murthy calls SCOTUS vaccine mandate block "a setback for public health."
  4. Economy: Report: World's 10 richest men doubled wealth during pandemicAmerica's labor shortage is bigger than the pandemic.
  5. States: America struggles to keep schools open — Youngkin ends mandates for masks in schools and COVID vaccinations for state workers.
  6. World: Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — French parliament passes COVID vaccine passport legislation.
  7. Variant tracker

Joint Chiefs chair Gen. Mark Milley tests positive for COVID-19

Photo: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday.

State of play: Joint Staff spokesperson Col. Dave Butler said in a statement that Milley — who is fully vaccinated and has received a booster shot — is experiencing "very minor symptoms" and is "working remotely and isolating himself."

Momentum builds to ban lawmakers from trading stocks

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Some progressive Democrats and MAGA Republicans are uniting on a proposal to ban sitting lawmakers from trading individual stocks, although it's unlikely that leadership will bring the bill up for a vote.

Why it matters: Members of Congress have great power to move stock prices, and great financial incentives to do so.