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.
My expectations were muted last fall when Google announced a revamped pair with the same name—this time with no wire connecting the buds, just like offerings from Apple, Samsung, and Amazon. On specs alone, they’re not remarkable. They’ve got five hours of battery life, which is short, especially compared to the 11 hours you get with Samsung’s buds. They’re also $179, making them $20 more than Apple’s AirPods.
And yet, somehow, I’ve fallen in love with Google’s tiny, rounded earbuds. Especially as someone with an Android phone, I’d take these over nearly any wireless earbuds around.