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Pixel Buds Pro: 4 features Google blatantly borrowed from Apple

At least they come in multiple colors. From left to right: Coral, Lemongrass, Fog, and Charcoal. (Image source: Google)
At least they come in multiple colors. From left to right: Coral, Lemongrass, Fog, and Charcoal. (Image source: Google)
At its annual I/O event, Google revealed the new Pixel Buds Pro. Available for preorder this July, take a look at what Google’s high-end headphones offer for US$199. Are the Pixel Buds Pro an innovative leap forward or simply AirPods Pro with a whimsical paint job? Listen up! It’s the latter.
Article compiled by Brahm Shank
The choices and comments made on this list belong solely to the author.

1. Transparency mode and spatial audio

With the Pixel Buds Pro, Google went ahead and borrowed Apple’s transparency feature from AirPods Pro that lets ambient noise in at the touch of a button. Perhaps the most insulting takeaway here is the fact that Google did not bother to create a new marketing name for this feature and instead recycled Apple’s branding.

Yet another copycat feature introduced on the Pixel Buds Pro is spatial audio, an immersive 3D audio mode that AirPods Pro users gained via an over the air (OTA) software update back in 2020.

A closer look at the 6-core audio chip enabling active noise cancellation (ANC) on the Pixel Buds Pro. (Image source: Google)
A closer look at the 6-core audio chip enabling active noise cancellation (ANC) on the Pixel Buds Pro. (Image source: Google)

2. Automatic device switching

Multi-device pairing and automatic switching between devices has been standard across iOS, macOS, and watchOS for the past two years. These features remain exclusive to the recently unveiled Pixel Buds Pro and will not be available on the Pixel Buds A-series.

While Google has opted to hijack these features from Apple, its approach to compatibility is not mirroring that of Apple’s given that all models of AirPods currently on sale, including AirPods 2 and AirPods 3, support multi-device switching. 

3. Find my buds

Shortly after revealing the Pixel Buds Pro, Google added that both buds could be tracked individually via the Find My Device app on Android. This is similar to the Find My app integration utilized by Apple’s AirPods since iOS 10.3 was released back in 2017.

However, individual bud tracking was not made available until iOS 15 debuted last year. AirPods can even notify users if they happen to leave their headphones behind. Pixel Buds Pro notably lack such functionality.

Like the AirPods Pro and AirPods 3, the Google Pixel Buds Pro feature IPX4 sweat and water resistance. (Image source: Google)
Like the AirPods Pro and AirPods 3, the Google Pixel Buds Pro feature IPX4 sweat and water resistance. (Image source: Google)

4. Hands-free assistant

Accessing Siri hands-free via a “hey Siri” command has been a standard AirPods feature since AirPods 2 were released in early 2019 featuring Apple’s custom H1 chip.

Over three years later and Google’s first-party buds finally gain the ability to summon Google assistant simply by saying “hey Google”. It’s about time.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2022 05 > Pixel Buds Pro: 4 features Google blatantly borrowed from Apple
Brahm Shank, 2022-05-16 (Update: 2022-05-16)