Google Pixel Buds (2020) vs. Microsoft Surface Earbuds: Which should you buy?

Google Pixel Buds 2020
Google Pixel Buds 2020 (Image credit: Andrew Martonik / Android Central)

Google Pixel Buds (2020)

Google Pixel Buds 2020

The Pixel Buds integrate with Google Assistant and Android really well. They also feature a compact wireless charging case, and superior sound compared to the Surface Earbuds.

Google Pixel Buds (2020)

Integrates with Google

Good battery life
Wireless charging case
USB-C wired charging
Compact charging case
Integration with Google Assistant
Comfort could be better
Lacks active noise canceling

Microsoft Surface Earbuds

Microsoft Surface Earbuds

The Surface Earbuds integrate super well with Microsoft's PowerPoint, Word, and Outlook apps. They also feature a built-in EQ and nearly double the battery life, compared to the Pixel Buds.

Microsoft Surface Earbuds

Integrates with Microsoft

Long battery life
USB-C for wired charging
Integration with Microsoft 365
Can pair two devices at the same time
Good, bass boosted sound
Lacks wireless charging case
No active noise canceling
Sound not as great as Pixel Buds

Both the Pixel Buds (2020) and the Surface Earbuds are solid true wireless earbuds. The Pixel Buds integrate super well with Android and the Google Assistant. On the other hand, the Surface Earbuds integrates super well with Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook (on both Android and iOS). The Surface Earbuds also last quite a bit longer than the Pixel Buds.

Battle of the ecosystems

Google Pixel Buds 2020

Source: Andrew Martonik / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Andrew Martonik / Android Central)

One of the biggest reasons to choose the Surface Earbuds over the Pixel Buds is battery life. The Surface Earbuds net you 8 hours of battery life on the buds side while the Pixel Buds only give you 5 hours. However, both sets of earbuds net you a total of 24 hours between both the buds and the case, which is always welcome.

Both the Pixel Buds and Surface Earbuds feature USB-C for wired charging, but only the Pixel Buds are capable of wireless charging. The Surface Earbuds don't offer wireless charging of any sort, which is unfortunate given their price.

In terms of sound, the Pixel Buds edge out the Surface Earbuds. The Surface Earbuds sound good but they are very bass boosted while lacking midrange and treble. The Surface Buds sound very hollow and lack detail in the higher ranges. The Pixel Buds are also pretty bass heavy, and while they lack in treble a bit, they are still able to maintain detail in those higher notes. However, the Surface Earbuds' companion app have a built-in equalizer that lets you customize the way your earbuds sound. The Pixel Buds don't have a native equalizer.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Google Pixel Buds (2020)Microsoft Surface Earbuds
Battery life (buds)5 hours8 hours
Battery life (case)19 hours16 hours
Wireless charging caseYesNo
Hands-free digital assistantYesNo
Built-in EQNoYes

Microsoft Surface Eacbuds

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

When it comes to comfort, neither set of earbuds will win awards. The Pixel Buds are really comfortable for short term use. They feature an integrated wing that isn't all that adjustable. After a few hours, the wing really starts digging into the top of your ear.

On the other hand, the Surface Earbuds are heavier than most true wireless earbuds out there. Just like the Pixel Buds, they're great for short term use, but they really start irritating your ears after several hours. I'd say the Surface Buds are more comfortable if you can deal with the weight of the earbuds.

Both the Pixel Buds and Surface Earbuds have their own unique features.

Both the Pixel Buds and Surface Earbuds have their own unique features. The Pixel Buds integrate super well with Android and the Google Assistant. They offer hands-free Google Assistant by simply just saying their trigger word. Using the Pixel Buds app (Android only for now) you can view the buds' battery life, find your earbuds if you happen to lose them, and more. Hopefully, an EQ will come in a future firmware update.

The Surface Earbuds allow you to pair up to two devices simultaneously as well, and with the app you can manage which two devices they are connected to. The Pixel Buds can only pair to one device at a time. You'll also need the app to update the Surface Earbuds' firmware.

One super nifty feature (depending on who you are) with the Surface Earbuds is that they can dictate PowerPoint and Word documents. The feature isn't perfect, and it caters to a very niche market. If you have the Surface Earbuds paired to an iPhone, they can also read out your emails if you have the Outlook app installed. The Surface Earbuds lack support for a hands-free digital assistant, though. No Google Assistant, Siri, or Microsoft's own Cortana. For that, you'll need to use a tap gesture on the actual earbuds to trigger your digital assistant.

To wrap things up, the decision is pretty easy if you already know which ecosystem you live in. The Pixel Buds are great if you absolutely need the Google Assistant 24/7. The Pixel Buds also feature wireless charging and better out of the box sound overall. However, they only get about half of the battery life of the Surface Earbuds (5 hours vs. 8 hours respectively) and don't offer a built-in EQ. However, the Surface Earbuds don't sound as good as the Pixel Buds (out of the box) and lack hands-free digital assistant support overall but are great if you use Outlook, PowerPoint, or Word.

Peter Cao