Google's Pixel Buds Pro are the tech giant's premier noise cancelling earbuds, although they're not quite up there with the likes of Apple's excellent AirPods Pro 2. But a new, free software update could give them a massive spec boost that would make them among the best noise canceling earbuds for Pixel and Android users.
The update, as described by X user Mishaal Rahman (see the post below), could deliver three key features: Conversation Detection, Hearing Wellness and Clearer Calls. If these sound familiar, it's because Apple recently brought out similar features to its best AirPods, just under different names like Conversation Awareness.
Google is rolling out an update to the Pixel Buds Pro that brings Conversation Detection, Hearing Wellness, and Clearer Calls.Conversation Detection: Automatically switch to Transparency and pause media when you talk.Hearing Wellness: See current loudness levels and an… pic.twitter.com/xx4I8WRUrWOctober 2, 2023
What new features are in the Pixel Buds Pro update?
Conversation Detection is a feature we've seen in ANC buds from the likes of Sony and of course Apple. It monitors the sound around you and when it hears you speak, it takes action – in this case, pausing whatever you're listening to and turning on transparency mode so you can hear the person or people you're talking to. It's one of those features that you don't care about until you have it, and then you can't imagine life without it.
Hearing Wellness is less exciting but potentially more important. It enables you to see your current loudness levels and track your exposure to loud sound (similar to Apple's Personalized Volume). That's important because long-term exposure to too-loud audio can cause hearing damage, and once your ears are damaged they don't recover. Prevention therefore is much better than trying to deal with the results.
Last but not least, there's Bluetooth Super Wideband (SWB), which doubles the available data bandwidth in order to deliver much clearer audio in calls for both you and the person on the other end.
There are some other rumored features too, alongside the Pixel Buds Pro leak that suggested new colors will be unveiled at tomorrow's Google Pixel event. A new low-latency mode is said to be coming for gamers and should be handy for music makers too, while Chromebook users might be glad to see that the Pixel Buds Pro app is going to be available for their devices too.
The new update should be rolling out globally soon and will be free to all Pixel Buds Pro users. We'll likely hear more about its release at tomorrow's (October 4) Made by Google event.
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Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.