Google Pixel Buds 2020 Truly Wireless Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.4
Reviewed Jun 10, 2020 at 08:46 am
Google Pixel Buds 2020 Truly Wireless Picture
6.8
Mixed Usage
7.1
Neutral Sound
6.7
Commute/Travel
8.2
Sports/Fitness
6.1
Office
5.7
Wireless Gaming
5.6
Wired Gaming
6.4
Phone Calls
Type In-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless Truly Wireless
Noise Cancelling No
Mic Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The Google Pixel Buds 2020 are the successor to the Google Pixel Buds 2017 Wireless but now feature a truly wireless design without a cable connecting each earbud. Due to their small, lightweight design, they're quite comfortable, even for people who may not like the fit and feel of most in-ears. Their sound profile is versatile enough for most genres and content, though unfortunately, their companion app doesn't offer any EQ settings. Their 6.7-hour battery life is alright, and their case holds an additional five charges, which is great. They look and feel quite premium and high-end, and Android users can pair them very easily by simply opening the charging case near an Android device.

Our Verdict

6.8 Mixed Usage

The Google Pixel Buds 2020 are okay truly wireless headphones for mixed usage. They're very comfortable for in-ears that feel stable enough to take with you to the gym. While their 6.7-hour battery life is a lot longer than advertised, it still likely isn't long enough to last an entire work day without needing a quick top-up. They also block out very little background noise, so they won't help to give you peace and quiet during your morning bus ride or while in the office.

Pros
  • Premium, comfortable, and stable design.
  • Easy pairing with Android devices.
  • Very easy-to-use control scheme.
  • Fairly well-balanced and versatile sound profile.
Cons
  • Limited app with no EQ customization.
  • Poor microphone recording quality.
  • Bad noise isolation.
7.1 Neutral Sound

The Google Pixel Buds 2020 are decent truly wireless headphones for neutral sound listening. Their sound reproduction is fairly well-balanced and follows our target curve well. That being said, they lack a bit of low-bass which may bother fans of a more bass-rich sound profile. They're also slightly recessed in mid-treble, though this may not be too noticeable to everyone. Also, due to their closed-back in-ear design, they have a bad soundstage overall.

Pros
  • Comfortable in-ear fit.
  • Easy pairing with Android devices.
Cons
  • Limited app with no EQ customization.
  • Slightly lacking in bass.
6.7 Commute/Travel

If you want headphones primarily for travel days or your daily commute, the Google Pixel Buds 2020 are only okay. While they're comfortable enough to wear for long periods, they block very little background noise, especially the low engine rumble of bus or planes. While their 6.7-hour battery should be long enough for your daily commutes, it may not be long enough for longer flights. On the bright side, Google advertises 2 hours of playback from a quick ten-minute charge, though we don't test this.

Pros
  • Comfortable in-ear fit.
  • Easy pairing with Android devices.
  • Very easy-to-use control scheme.
  • Fairly well-balanced and versatile sound profile.
Cons
  • Bad noise isolation.
  • Unremarkable single-charge battery life.
8.2 Sports/Fitness

The Google Pixel Buds 2020 are great truly wireless headphones for sports. Thanks to their lightweight design and stability fins, they feel very stable in the ear and don't move or slide around, even with more intense head movements. They're rated IPX4 for sweat and water resistance, so you can wear them while jogging in the rain, though we don't currently test this. They look and feel very well-built and durable, and should be able to withstand being used in the gym without any issues.

Pros
  • Premium, comfortable, and stable design.
  • Poor noise isolation helps you stay aware of surroundings.
  • IPX4 sweat and water resistance.
  • Very easy-to-use control scheme.
Cons
  • Slightly lacking in bass.
6.1 Office

The Google Pixel Buds 2 are mediocre truly wireless headphones for use in the office. They're comfortable enough to wear all day, but their battery doesn't last long enough to get you through an entire work day. On the upside, Google advertises two hours of playback from a ten-minute charge, though we don't test this. Unfortunately, they don't help much with blocking background noise, but they don't leak much audio, so you can turn your music up without bothering nearby coworkers.

Pros
  • Comfortable in-ear fit.
Cons
  • Bad noise isolation.
  • Unremarkable single-charge battery life.
5.7 Wireless Gaming

The Google Pixel Buds 2020 are Bluetooth-only headphones that aren't recommended for wireless gaming. While you can game with them on a mobile device or Bluetooth-enabled PC, their high latency and poor overall mic performance make them less than ideal for this use.

5.6 Wired Gaming

The Google Pixel Buds 2 are Bluetooth-only headphones that can't be used wired.

6.4 Phone Calls

The Google Pixel Buds 2 are mediocre headphones for phone calls. While they have an integrated mic that allows you to easily take phone calls while on-the-go, the recording quality isn't the best, and your voice gets lost in loud environments. While it's good enough for casual calls, you may want something more designed for phone calls if that's your main use.

Pros
  • Comfortable in-ear fit.
  • Easy pairing with Android devices.
  • Very easy-to-use control scheme.
  • Microphone helps separate your voice from background noise.
Cons
  • Poor microphone recording quality.
  • 6.8 Mixed Usage
  • 7.1 Neutral Sound
  • 6.7 Commute/Travel
  • 8.2 Sports/Fitness
  • 6.1 Office
  • 5.7 Wireless Gaming
  • 5.6 Wired Gaming
  • 6.4 Phone Calls

Check Price

Clearly White Pixel Buds 2
Unavailable
Amazon.com

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style

The Google Pixel Buds 2020 are well-designed and premium looking headphones. Unlike the first-generation Google Pixel Buds 2017 Wireless, they're now truly wireless headphones with an in-ear fit. We tested the white version which have a mix of matte white and black on both the earbuds and the case. They're also available in black, orange, or green, though the case is the same for all color options, and the black part of the earbud remains unchanged. The earbuds themselves are quite small and have a fairly unique look that sets them apart from the competition.

7.5
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.02 lbs
Clamping Force
0.0 lbs

The Google Pixel Buds 2 are quite comfortable for in-ears. They're very lightweight and don't put much pressure on the ear. They also don't go too deep in the ear canal, and people who generally don't like the fit of in-ears will likely find these comfortable.

6.9
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use Great
Feedback Good
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control Yes
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control No
Talk-Through
No
Additional Controls Voice Assistant

The Google Pixel Buds 2 have decent controls. Each earbud has a decently sized touch-sensitive surface so you can make commands without having to push the headphones further into your ear. They're very easy to use and you can issue all commands on either ear, which can be handy if your hands are full. Unlike the first version, which were prone to erroneous inputs, we didn't have this issue with these headphones.

9.3
Design
Portability
L 1.4 "
W 1.5 "
H 1.0 "
Volume 2.1 Cu. Inches
Transmitter Required No

The Google Pixel Buds 2 are very portable headphones that can easily be tossed into most pockets.

8.5
Design
Case
Type Hard case
L 2.5 "
W 1.7 "
H 1.0 "
Volume 4.3 Cu. Inches

The Google Pixel Buds 2's case looks and feels very premium and supports Qi wireless charging. While there's a light on the outside, it only tells you when the case itself is charged, and you have to open the lid to see the light inside to check if your earbuds are finished charging, which can be a bit annoying.

7.5
Design
Build Quality

The Google Pixel Buds 2 look and feel well-made and durable. They're made from dense, good quality plastic and are covered in a matte plastic that isn't prone to scratches. They feel like they should be able to withstand a few accidental drops or bumps without sustaining any damage. They're rated IPX4 for basic sweat and water resistance, though we don't test for this.

8.0
Design
Stability

The Google Pixel Buds 2 feel very stable in the ear. Thanks to their stability fins, they don't move at all, even during more intense workouts.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Google Pixel Buds 2 headphones
  • 3x tips
  • Charging case
  • USB-C charging cable
  • Manuals

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
-3.53 db
Treble Amount
-2.66 db

The Google Pixel Buds 2020's sound profile is fairly well-balanced. They're versatile enough for a wide range of genres and content, though fans of bass-heavy music may find them lacking in thump.

9.1
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.18 dB

The Google Pixel Buds 2's frequency response consistency is excellent. Once you achieve a proper fit and seal with the included tips, you'll experience the same sound reproduction every time you use them.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
7.3
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.36 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
89.8 Hz
Low-Bass
-5.83 dB
Mid-Bass
-3.15 dB
High-Bass
-1.55 dB

The Google Pixel Buds 2020's bass accuracy is decent. Low-bass is quite recessed, resulting in a lack of thump and rumble. This may not be too noticeable with all music, but fans of EDM or dubstep will likely be disappointed. They also lack a bit of kick and body which is noticeable with most genres. On the bright side, their bass doesn't sound boomy, cluttered, or overpowering.

9.3
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
0.95 dB
Low-Mid
0.17 dB
Mid-Mid
0.31 dB
High-Mid
0.4 dB

The Google Pixel Buds 2's mid accuracy is outstanding. Almost the entire range is even, well-balanced, and natural. This ensures instruments and vocals that are clear and present without sounding cluttered or thin.

7.2
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.74 dB
Low-Treble
-0.56 dB
Mid-Treble
-4.23 dB
High-Treble
-10.82 dB

The Google Pixel Buds 2's treble accuracy is decent. Vocals and instruments are detailed and articulate, thanks to their well-balanced low-treble. While mid-treble is recessed, it isn't too noticeable, and many people may prefer it over an overemphasized treble range that sounds piercing and painful. High-treble is very recessed, though this is at a high enough frequency that it likely won't be noticeable to most people.

8.5
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.06 db
Dips
0.65 db

The peaks and dips performance of these headphones is excellent. The small dip in mid-treble may make some frequencies dull, while the large peak immediately following it may make other frequencies sound slightly piercing. Overall, these are in high enough ranges that they likely won't be too noticeable to most people.

8.5
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.11
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
1.7
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
1.62
Weighted Phase Mismatch
1.62

The Google Pixel Buds 2's imaging performance is excellent. The entire group delay response is below the audibility threshold, resulting in a tight bass and a transparent treble reproduction. The L/R drivers of our test unit are exceptionally matched, resulting in accurate placement of instruments and objects (like voices and footsteps) in the stereo image. However, these results are only valid for our unit and yours may perform differently.

2.0
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
N/A
PRTF Distance
N/A
Openness
6.0
Acoustic Space Excitation
2.7

The soundstage of these headphones is bad. This is expected due to their closed-back, in-ear design as they bypass the pinna without interacting with it. Overall music sounds as if it's coming from inside your head as opposed to in front.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No

The Google Pixel Buds 2 don't have any virtual soundstage features.

7.2
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.504
WHD @ 100
0.170

The Google Pixel Buds 2's weighted harmonic distortion performance is decent. They tend to distort a bit more in the higher frequencies, which can be a bit more noticeable, but it's still mostly within good limits, and shouldn't be too noticeable to most people.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
225
Power
On
Connection
Bluetooth 4.2
Codec
SBC, 16-bit, 48kHz
EQ
No EQ
ANC
No ANC
Tip/Pad
Silicone (small)
Microphone
Integrated

These are the settings used to test the Google Pixel Buds 2020. Our results are only valid when listening using these settings.

Isolation
3.9
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-8.98 dB
Bass
-0.51 dB
Mid
-6.73 dB
Treble
-20.18 dB

The Google Pixel Buds 2's noise isolation is bad and they passively block a lot less noise than most in-ear headphones. They block almost no low-frequency noises, like the engine rumble from a bus or plane. They're also poor at blocking out background chatter, and only do a mediocre job at higher-frequency sounds like fans or AC units.

7.6
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
35.89 dB

The Google Pixel Buds 2's leakage performance is good. Even at higher volumes, the amount of leakage is around the noise floor of an average office, so while nearby co-workers may hear some audio, it shouldn't be too distracting.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
Yes
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No

The Google Pixel Buds 2 have an integrated microphone.

5.3
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
630.82 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
3.87 dB
HFE
3272.31 Hz
Weighted THD
5.814
Gain
2.73 dB

Voices recorded with the microphone sound fairly thin, muffled, and somewhat distorted. That being said, your voice is still fairly easy to understand.

8.5
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise
Speech + Subway Noise
SpNR
34.13 dB

The noise handling of the microphone is excellent. In moderately noisy environments, the person on the other end of the line should have no problem hearing you. However, as you can hear in the 'Speech + Subway Noise' audio clip, your voice still gets easily drowned out in very loud situations.

Active Features
5.9
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
6.7 hrs
Additional Charges
5.0
Total Battery Life
40.2 hrs
Charge Time
1.0 hrs
Power-Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
No
Charging Port USB-C

The battery performance of these headphones is only sub-par overall. They last 6.7-hours off a single charge, which is a bit longer than some other popular truly wireless in-ears, like the Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless, but not nearly as long as the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ Truly Wireless. On the bright side, their charging case holds around five additional charges, which is excellent, and it charges the buds fully in an hour. Google also advertises two hours of playback from a ten-minute charge, though we don't test this.

6.5
Active Features
App Support
App Name Google Pixel Buds
iOS No
Android Yes
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
No
ANC Control
No
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
No

The app for the Google Pixel Buds 2020 is only satisfactory. It doesn't offer too many customization options and has no EQ settings at all, which is a shame. On the bright side, you can use it to help find your earbuds' last known location if you misplace them, which is helpful.

Connectivity
6.6
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
5.0
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
156 ft
PC Latency (SBC)
291 ms
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
230 ms
Android Latency
165 ms

The Bluetooth connectivity of these headphones is alright. While you can pair them with any Bluetooth device like normal, when you open the case near a compatible Android device, it automatically recognizes them, making pairing very easy. This is advertised as working with any device running Android 6.0 or newer, and while it worked with our Samsung Galaxy S10e, we can't verify which other devices are compatible. Unfortunately, these headphones don't support multi-device pairing, which is a shame. We also tested high latency on all devices, though it's worth noting that different apps and devices seem to compensate for this differently, so your mileage may vary in real-world usage.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A

These headphones are Bluetooth-only.

0
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
No
USB Audio
No
Detachable No
Length N/A
Connection No Wired Option
Analog/USB Audio Latency
N/A

These headphones can't be used wired. They come with a USB-C charging cable for their case.

Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC/PS4 Analog
No
PC/PS4 Wired USB
No
PC/PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No

These headphones can only be used via Bluetooth on PCs, and aren't compatible with the PS4.

Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
No
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Wireless
No

These truly wireless earbuds are Bluetooth-only, so they're not compatible with the Xbox One.

2.2
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
Charging Case
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
Yes
Power Supply
USB-C

Like most truly wireless headphones, the charging case doesn't have any inputs. It has a USB-C port for charging, and supports Qi wireless charging.

Compared to other headphones

Comparison picture

The Google Pixel Buds 2020 are the successor to the Google Pixel Buds 2017 Wireless but now have a truly wireless design. They look and feel well-designed and premium, and can easily pair to newer Android devices by simply opening the charging case near your device. They're as comfortable as the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ Truly Wireless and the Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless, but unfortunately, unlike the Apple, they don't have ANC and block very little background noise. Check out our recommendations for the best truly wireless earbuds, the best wireless earbuds, and the best wireless earbuds for Android.

Samsung Galaxy Buds+ Truly Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Samsung Galaxy Buds+ Truly Wireless are better truly wireless headphones than the Google Pixel Buds 2020 Truly Wireless. The Galaxy Buds+ have a much more accurate and better-balanced sound profile, block a lot more background noise, and have a much longer battery life. They also have a better app that has access to some EQ presets so you can customize the way they sound. On the other hand, the Pixel Buds pair to Android devices almost instantly, and have a better control scheme that's very easy to use.

Jabra Elite Active 75t Truly Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Jabra Elite Active 75t Truly Wireless are better truly wireless in-ears than the Google Pixel Buds 2020 Truly Wireless. The Jabra have a higher IP rating for water and dust resistance, have a more excited sound profile with a ton of extra low-bass, and have physical buttons that offer more functionality. They also block way more background noise, have a better microphone, support multi-device pairing, and have a much better app with access to a graphic EQ and presets. On the other hand, the Pixel's case holds more charges, and can fully charge your earbuds much faster. They also pair instantly with Android devices.

Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless are much better truly wireless in-ears than the Google Pixel Buds 2020 Truly Wireless. The AirPods block significantly more background noise, thanks in part to their excellent ANC feature. They also have a slightly better-balanced sound profile with a bit more bass. On the other hand, the Pixel Buds last longer off a single charge, and have an easier-to-use control scheme.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Truly Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Truly Wireless are better truly wireless headphones than the Google Pixel Buds 2020 Truly Wireless. The Galaxy Buds have a much more accurate and better-balanced sound profile and isolate much more background noise. Their companion app also gives access to EQ presets to change the way they sound, though unfortunately, it's not available for iOS. On the other hand, the Pixel Buds pair to Android devices almost instantly, and have a much easier-to-use control scheme. Their companion app is also compatible with both Android and iOS, though it doesn't offer much in terms of customization options.

Microsoft Surface Earbuds Truly Wireless
SEE PRICE
BestBuy.com

The Google Pixel Buds 2020 Truly Wireless are much better truly wireless headphones than the Microsoft Surface Earbuds Truly Wireless. The Google are more comfortable and have a better control scheme that's much easier to use. They also feel more stable in the ear and have a much better-balanced sound profile that's much more consistent between different users. They also last longer off a single charge, and their case holds a lot more full charges. On the other hand, some people may prefer the fit of the Microsoft as they don't enter the ear canal nearly as deeply. Their companion app also gives access to a graphic EQ and presets, while Google's app doesn't allow you to change the way the Google sound.

Google Pixel Buds 2017 Wireless
SEE PRICE
BestBuy.com

The Google Pixel Buds 2020 Truly Wireless are better wireless headphones than the Google Pixel Buds 2017 Wireless but with a different design. While the 2017 model have a wire connecting each earbud, the new Pixel Buds 2020 are truly wireless. Other than that, the 2020 Pixel Buds are more comfortable, have a much better-balanced sound profile, and have a longer single-charge battery life. On the other hand, the 2017 Pixel Buds can be paired to two devices at once, though the newer model now has instant pairing with Android devices.

+ Show more

Google Pixel Buds 2020 Truly Wireless Price

Clearly White Pixel Buds 2
Unavailable
Amazon.com

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