The first generation of Google’s Airpod-contenders sounded fine, if you could get past the many frustrations of getting them to work properly. Pairing was a mess, some features only worked with Pixel phones—even turning them off was overly complicated. The newly announced Pixel Buds (yep, the name stays) aim to be the refresh that fixes all that. Onstage, Google didn’t go into much detail about the fiddly mechanics of pairing devices—the headset won’t ship until next spring—but the changes the company did highlight seem intended to make the Buds more functional. The new earphones are fully wireless, rather than connected by a cord like before. The Bluetooth connection has also gotten a boost; Google says it will work through three rooms in a house, or across an entire football field outside. Unfortunately, battery life isn’t exactly great: 5 hours, with 24 hours of charging in the case. It’s about the same amount as Airpods, but still nothing special.
One good part about the original Pixel Buds was their Google Assistant integration, which returns for the next-gen earbuds. It’s a useful feature, allowing you to get notifications beamed straight into your external auditory meatus or to use Google Translate in real time. Pixel buds have always had a lot of potential. Let’s just hope that now they work right.
The Pixelbook was the first Chromebook that felt kinda like a real computer. It had some problems running basic apps, but in theory the specs behind it were powerful enough to manage far more than the basic tasks of other Chromebook models. The goal of the new Pixelbook Go seems to be to realize that potential. Some of its specs are downright high-end: an optional 4K display, an Intel i7 processor, and up to 16 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage. It’s also got a 12-hour battery, two USB-C ports, a headphone jack, and a weird ribbed rubber bottom for better grip. At a starting price of $649 (that’s without the 4K screen and high-end specs), it could be the Chromebook that convinces you to move fully into the cloud.