As Amazon and Apple continue to push their virtual assistants onto consumers, Google follows suit. The conglomerate has teamed up with a few big-name companies to enable Google Assistant integration into a variety of headphones. If you want to take full control of your phone from your headphones, any of these picks will do.
Why should you buy Google Assistant headphones?
Google Assistant headphones with complete integration grant listeners more control of their phones. It means that Google certified and optimized the product for its virtual assistant software. You can receive notifications via your voice without reaching for your phone. That said, not all Google Assistant headphones support direct voice access.
What should you look for?
- Bluetooth codec support — Bluetooth codecs determine how your Bluetooth headphones and source device transfer audio. Each codec has its pros and cons; ideally, the best Bluetooth codec is the one that allows for the greatest data transfer at a consistent, efficient rate. For reliable streaming, Android owners should look for headphones that support aptX, and iPhone owners can enjoy high-quality audio from headphones that support AAC.
- Frequency response — Every pair of headphones and earbuds has a certain frequency response, casually referred to as a sound signature. If you like bass emphasis, you’ll enjoy most all consumer headphones, but audiophiles may need to do a bit of EQ tinkering to get the perfect frequency response for accurate audio reproduction.
- IP ratings — Athletes who want to use their Google Assistant headphones in the gym need their headsets to be water-resistant. The industry-standard IP rating is IPX4, and this denotes a great degree of water resistance that should endure all of your workouts.
The best Google Assistant headphones
Sony WH-1000XM4: The best Google Assistant headphones for most people
The Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones succeed the Sony WH-1000XM3, and offer incremental but welcome improvements from the previous generation. For one, there are now modern comforts like automatic ear detection, so media playback auto-pauses as the headset is removed. It also uses speak-to-chat voice recognition, which relies on AI to detect your voice. It then automatically decreases media volume so you can carry a quick exchange with someone.
The Sony WH-1000XM4 are the smart headphones for every listener.
Noise-cancelling performance is excellent, and low-frequency sounds are effectively reduced. Any commuter will be happy to have these noise-cancelling headphones. Audio quality is great but may sound odd to listeners used to cheaper consumer headsets. Bass notes are mildly amplified and can make it seem like the bass is too quiet. This is a versatile headset when it comes to software features and reproducing all genres of music.
High-quality Bluetooth codecs are supported for all of your streaming needs, including SBC, AAC, and LDAC. The omission of aptX support is curious, but LDAC has been supported across Android devices since Android 8.0, so it shouldn’t be an issue for modern devices. Fast charging is very efficient: 10 minutes of connection to the USB-C cable yields five hours of playtime.
Check out our full review to learn more about the Sony WH-1000XM4.
LG Tone Flex XL7: The most stylish design
If you want a pair of stylish, low-profile earbuds with a dedicated Google Assistant button, look no further than the LG Tone Flex XL7. These wireless neckband earbuds fully retract, so when you aren’t listening to music, you can wear the neckband without the earbuds and cables bouncing all over the place.
Meridian Audio tuned the earphones so that upper-bass and midrange frequencies sound accurate. Nearly all genres of music will sound very good through these earbuds, save for bass-heavy tracks. Sub-bass notes sound half as loud as mids, and this can be a disappointment to dedicated bassheads. The neckband houses a 32-bit DAC that upscale low-resolution audio files. The headset only supports AAC and SBC, though.
Check out our sister site SoundGuys‘ full review to learn more about the LG Tone Flex XL7.
Google Pixel Buds (2020): The best Google Assistant true wireless earbuds
The new Google Pixel Buds (2020) take a very simple, elegant approach to intricate technology. Users can easily access Google Assistant directly by saying, “Hey Google,” or by a simple tap-and-hold of either touch panel. The snail-like design is uniquely slim and sits practically flush against the outer ear, but the disc has a relatively large diameter and may prove uncomfortable for those with small ears.
Sound quality is excellent for a pair of consumer earbuds: bass notes are lightly amplified, granting more “oomph” to music reproduction. The spatial vent at the bottom of each earbud keeps listeners aware of their surroundings while still isolating the listener a bit from her surroundings. It serves as a good middle-ground between nozzle-free designs (e.g., AirPods) and standard earbuds.
Check out our full review to learn more about the Google Pixel Buds.
JBL Live 650BTNC: The best for bassheads
These are some of the best JBL headphones and can be had for less than $200. Based on the headphones’ design and sound signature, the JBL Live 650BTNC are a great Beats alternative. Noise-cancelling performance is fine for the price, especially with attenuating low-end sounds. Speaking of the low-end, these are bass-heavy headphones.
If you listen to classical or vocal-heavy music, you may want to consider some of the other products mentioned. JBL combines physical buttons with a touch panel on the left ear cup for comprehensive on-board controls and Google Assistant access. If you want a stylish pair of noise-cancelling headphones for less, these are your best bet.
Check out our sister site SoundGuys‘ full review to learn more about the JBL Live 650BTNC.
Bose QuietComfort 35 II: The best fit
Bose’s comfortable noise-cancelling headphones remain popular years after their release, thanks to regular firmware updates and a pleasing design. There are plenty of buttons that line the ear cups for you to take control of playback and volume, all the while, you can directly access your favorite smart assistant via the Action button. These headphones support just one high-quality Bluetooth codec: AAC, which is great for iOS devices but doesn’t deliver consistent high-quality audio across Android devices.
Sound quality is superb: bass and midrange notes are reproduced with extreme accuracy, so you’re hearing your audio exactly as the artist intended. This neutral frequency response is especially good for audio tinkerers who want to EQ the sound profile for different types of media. You get just under 19 hours of listening from a single, charge and may recharge the QC 35 II via the included microUSB cable. Just 15 minutes of charging supplies you with two and a half hours of playtime.
Check out our full review to learn more about the Bose QuietComfort 35 II.
These are our picks for the best headphones with Google Assistant integration you can get. This is a growing category, so we’ll update this list as soon as other worthwhile options become available.
Best Google Assistant headphones: Honorable mentions
- Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700: These headphones are for listeners who want something more modern than the Bose QC 35 II.
- Mobvoi TicPods 2 Pro: Mobvoi’s stemmed earbuds let you access your preferred virtual assistant hands-free. All you have to do is say the phrase, “Hey Tico,” which is a great workaround for smart assistant users who don’t want to pay a premium for first-party products like the Google Pixel Buds or Apple AirPods.
- Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro: While these earphones limit direct voice access to Bixby, you may still access the Google Assistant from the touch panels. The noise-cancelling is very good, as is the sound and microphone quality.
- Sony WH-CH710N: If you don’t want to spend more than $200 USD on noise-cancelling headphones, look no further. Sony’s headset has its flaws, but its ANC and Bluetooth stability are very good.
- Sony WF-1000XM3: True wireless earbuds are extremely convenient, and Sony’s are some of the best around. As with many of its other headsets, these earphones include active noise-cancelling. They feature a comfortable design for all-day wear, and support fast charging.
Why you should trust SoundGuys
The SoundGuys team commits countless hours to testing as many audio products as possible, including Google Assistant headphones. Our sister site has its own objective testing philosophy and methodology to equip readers with as much knowledge as possible for potential buying decisions. Members of the team respect and understand audio to be a simultaneously objective and subjective experience and use that knowledge to inform their reviews, lists, and features.