LE Audio Pixel Buds would be a top Google I/O reveal, but I wager we'll have to wait

Google Pixel Buds Pro in a hand
(Image credit: TechRadar)

Ah, the very-nearly-great Google Pixel Buds Pro. Upon trying them soon after their release last summer, it seemed to me as if Apple had nothing to worry about. Although to give Google credit where credit is due, these earbuds have since gained a free five-band EQ adjustment upgrade and head-tracked spatial audio if you own a Pixel phone

And with the Google Pixel 7 being one of the first smartphones to get Bluetooth LE Audio support with the LC3 codec (introduced in Android 13) plus scope for Auracast audio-sharing, one would hope that the earbuds boasting the potential for high bandwidth scenarios would be in the pipeline. Might they even show up at Google's annual big reveal event, Google I/O in a few moments though? Sadly, I think not. 

How much better might BLE Audio-toting earbuds be? We're talking "more than double the Bluetooth LE data rate – up to four to six megabits, maybe even up to eight megabits depending on the way the specification sorts out," Chuck Sabin, Bluetooth SIG’s senior director of market development, said at a recent media briefing. 

Opinion: LE Audio is the future, but we'll need to wait a little longer till the Google Pixel Buds are able to harness it 

Google Pixel Buds Pro next to a Google Pixel 6 Pro smartphone on silver background

(Image credit: TechRadar)

The issue is this: one must have Bluetooth LE Audio support on both the earbuds (or headphones) as well as on the source device. And so far, Google doesn't have those – the Pixel Buds Pro include Bluetooth 5.0, not the newer 5.2 that would open the door for LE Audio. 

Maybe in six months time – and certainly, all of the best earbuds will be wanting it, given those claims from Bluetooth. But full disclosure: we've seen no spec sheet leaks, no renders, no early looks and no retail pricing cheekily showing up online concerning a new set of Pixel Buds. 

Tell you what though, if you do want Bluetooth LE Audio earbuds now to go with your Bluetooth 5.2 LE Audio device, the Earfun Air Pro 3 are a great shout. Looking for a new device with LE Audio that isn't made by Google? If you're in the UK you can look to the Xiaomi 13

Becky Scarrott
Senior Audio Staff Writer

Becky is a senior staff writer at TechRadar (which she has been assured refers to expertise rather than age) focusing on all things audio. Before joining the team, she spent three years at What Hi-Fi? testing and reviewing everything from wallet-friendly wireless earbuds to huge high-end sound systems. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, Becky freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 22-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance starts with a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo and The Stage. When not writing, she can still be found throwing shapes in a dance studio, these days with varying degrees of success.