Nov 13, 2017

Axios Review: Pixel Buds are powerful, but lack Apple's simplicity

Ina Fried, author of Login

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 51 mins ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand has a single novel coronavirus case after reporting a week of no new infections, the Ministry of Health confirmed on Friday local time.

By the numbers: Nearly 6 million people have tested positive for COVID-19 and over 2.3 million have recovered from the virus. Over 357,000 people have died globally. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world with over 1.6 million.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 5,803,416 — Total deaths: 359,791 — Total recoveries — 2,413,576Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 1,720,613 — Total deaths: 101,573 — Total recoveries: 399,991 — Total tested: 15,646,041Map.
  3. Public health: The mystery of coronavirus superspreaders.
  4. Congress: Pelosi slams McConnell on stimulus delay — Sen. Tim Kaine and wife test positive for coronavirus antibodies.
  5. World: Twitter slapped a fact-check label on a pair of months-old tweets from a Chinese government spokesperson that falsely suggested that the coronavirus originated in the U.S.
  6. 2020: The RNC has issued their proposed safety guidelines for its planned convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.
  7. Axios on HBO: Science fiction writers tell us how they see the coronavirus pandemic.
  8. 🏃‍♀️Sports: Boston Marathon canceled after initial postponement, asks runners to go virtual.
  9. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

3 hours ago - World

The eye of the COVID-19 storm shifts to Latin America

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

The epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic has moved from China to Europe to the United States and now to Latin America.

Why it matters: Up until now, the pandemic has struck hardest in relatively affluent countries. But it's now spreading fastest in countries where it will be even harder to track, treat and contain.