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.
Best Google Assistant headphones:
Editor’s note: We will update this list of the best Google Assistant-integrated headphones regularly as new devices launch.
1. Sony WH-1000XM3
The Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones have rightfully drawn the attention of audio enthusiasts. These noise-cancelling headphones reign supreme with regards to comfort, battery life, and ANC performance. Low-end rumbles are no match for Sony’s excellent noise-cancelling technology. Plus, these cans support a slew of Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX, and LDAC. No matter what your source device, wireless streaming will sound great. You can use the Sony | Headphones Connect app to make granular EQ adjustments if the bass response is too much for your liking.
2. Bose Headphones 700
If you’re a committed Bose fanboy, the Bose Headphones 700 are the company’s latest flagship. These have great noise-cancelling capabilities, comparable to the Sony WH-1000XM3. Sound quality is improved over the QC 35 II headset. The new design is much sleeker than the Bose QC 35 II headphones, and this new model has a touch panel for gesture controls. Unfortunately, the Headphones 700 don’t have hinges, which affords less flexibility for packing. The integrated microphone sounds fine but makes low voices sound unnatural.
Bose is pushing its Bose AR platform. This is meant to bridge the digital and physical worlds by providing tailored audio content depending on your environment. The price may be hard to justify for many but these are a worthwhile upgrade from the QC 35 II.
3. Google Pixel Buds (2020)
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.
Microphone quality is very good and transmits clear audio quality. Listeners on the other end of a call will recognize that you’re speaking from a headset mic, but background noises are effectively ignored and speech intelligibility comes through clearly. Take a listen for yourself:
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.
4. Bang & Olufsen H9
Bang & Olufsen’s H9 over-ear cans are the most expensive headphones listed. These are ideal for fashion-foward audio enthusiasts who don’t want to sacrifice style for performance. Battery life allows for approximately 25 hours of playback, depending on how loud volume levels are and if ANC is on. These also have a Transparency Mode which allows you to hear external noise, something offered by the aforementioned products too. Build quality is noteworthy, as B&O uses lambskin and memory foam padding for the ear cups. This is complemented by the anodized aluminum accents and cowhide leather headband. Touch controls are intuitive and facilitate playback, call, and volume adjustments.
5. JBL Live 650BTNC
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 good 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.
What you should know about integrated Google Assistant headphones
- Google Assistant headphones with complete integration grant listeners more control of their phones. For instance, you can receive notifications via your voice without reaching for your phone.
- Wireless audio quality can’t compare to wired audio quality, which is all right for most consumers. After all, many of us can’t detect the difference in streaming quality between high-quality Bluetooth codecs.
- If you’re using an iPhone, go for options that support AAC, and if you’re an Android user, pickup something that’s aptX-compatible.
- Isolation is necessary for proper audio reproduction. If you’re using earbuds and things aren’t fitting well, look into third-party ear tips.
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.