See my fanboy disclaimer in the Big Guy on the Google Pixel 2 XL post before reading up on the Pixel Buds. You’ve been warned!

Today (November 15th) was full of excitement because I was finally getting the “Kinda Blue” Google Pixel Buds that I ordered way back on October 4th along with my Pixel 2 XL! I work from home, and they showed up via Fedex just before when I usually take my lunch break. By this point, I can’t wait to get these things out and start using them.  The first thing the “Let’s get started” booklet says to do is to make sure they charge with the lid closed for 10 minutes. So, I do this.

Pixel Buds Case Closed

Pixel Buds Case Closed

Let’s Do this!

The anticipation has been growing since they showed up. I grab a quick bite to eat and head back down to my office to see what these things are like. As I mentioned, the first step is, “charge for 10 minutes” — check. Next we get to use the super awesome new Fast Pair technology on android that uses Bluetooth Low Energy to pair a Bluetooth capable device with your phone with no hassle at all!

… Yeah About that.

The next step is to “unlock your phone and turn on Bluetooth” — check. Then, “Open the charging case next to your phone with the Google Pixel Buds still inside” — check! Last, “Follow the on-screen steps to finish setup.” I’m not seeing any on-screen steps, so I wait… and wait. The step after says that if you have problems to charge for 10 more minutes and try again. I close the case and plug it back in, and then head to the Google machine to see if anyone else is having an issue.

One of the first results I find is on CNET, here. Now in the setup guide I did notice that it says “If there’s protective film, remove that before charging.” I didn’t see a protective film, so I started charging. As the article above points out, however, the protective coverings are actually on the bottom of the buds, covering the charging port. DOH! I charge them for ten more minutes now that the protective covers have been removed.

PIxel Buds Battery Protective Cover

See the white, protective cover on the right headphone (actually on the left here)?

It’s Time to Play!

Ten minutes later, I’ve finished my lunch, and I’m ready to listen to something, anything, on my new buds, so I unlock my phone, put it next to the closed Pixel Buds case, and then open the case. Wait for it. Wait for it. Huh. Nothing.  I close the case and open it a few more times. Waiting. Waiting. Nothing. I take to the internet again and find many people seem to be having this very issue. It seems like it’s either the fact that I don’t have the November patch yet, which supposedly includes some Bluetooth fixes, or the fact that it just does’t work that well sometimes. Either way, it’s time to get back to work, so I’ll have to wait until after work.

BLE Fast Pair

How it’s SUPPOSED to work.

Round 2

Alright. Work’s over. I’m slightly less excited about these headphones now, but I want to get them working nonetheless. So, as if it would actually work this time, I unlock my phone and open the case. I wait in anticipation… nothing. One more time. Nothing. I try another suggestion on clearing the data for the Bluetooth service on the phone. Same results. At this point, I figure I might as well go ahead and factory reset the phone, because I have had other minor issues that seem Bluetooth related.

Round 3: So Fresh and So Clean

The factory reset is complete. All of my apps have been installed back on a fresh new system install. Here we go. I’m getting excited again for some reason, because I know this is going to work. I unlock my phone and set it next to the closed Pixel Bud charging case. I open the charging case. Here we go. Maybe it takes a few seconds. Maybe it takes a minute. Nope. It’s not happening… again. I have things to do with the family, so I’ll have to get back to this later on.


Round 4: Can We Just Get it Working Now?

After all of my troubleshooting, I decide to call up Google support to give me a hand. I call up and talk to a lady named Alice who is only Nexus support (isn’t that going away?). She puts me on hold for about 10 minutes while she finds me a preferred care, Pixel support person. After the hold she connects me with Evan. Evan assures me that he is going to get my Pixel Buds connected. “Good luck, Evan,” I think to myself.

There’s one thing I have found about Google support. It’s usually REALLY good. The folks that you get who are “experts” in the technology you are calling in about, actually are really familiar with the technology and are very helpful. So, Evan gives me the usual questions. I explain what all I’ve done, including the details on the factory reset. Evan says there is one thing he wants to try. He says to make sure the Pixel Buds are IN the case, and then he says “You see that little button in the case?” I informed him that I have pressed it several times because I noticed that it makes the box “try” again (at least judging by the light effects). Evan says, “Hold that button down for about 45 seconds to a minute.” Thirty to forty seconds in, success!

Magic Button

Right there. The Magic Button. Hold it down for 45 seconds.

 Conclusion

I’ll save the full review of how they actually function once I’ve been using them for a while, but my initial impression is that they are really good. They sound great. The little resizing mechanism they have in place works well, and they fit my big head, which is a plus! Be looking out for my full post on this in the near future, but boy was this a ride! It’s hard being a fanboy sometimes.

Posted by Tommy

One Comment

  1. […] is the rest of the review I promised in Big Guy on the Google Pixel Buds: Part 1 – Connectiongate. I took a little time to do this review for a couple reasons. One, I really only use headphones […]

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