Following the announcement at the Pixel 8 and Watch 2 event last week, the Pixel Buds Pro 5.9 update is now seeing wide availability.
The big new addition is Conversation Detection to recognize when you’re talking. This will cause any audio to pause as Transparency Mode activates. When “both you and your conversation partners stop speaking,” Active Noise Cancellation and music will resume. The intention is to leverage AI to cut down on manual tasks. Conversation Detection can be enabled/disabled from the Sound settings page.
The main menu is also home to “Hearing Wellness.” The Current Level notes the decibel level of what you’re listening to in real-time. Exposure “measures your listening volume over time” and counts towards a maximum recommended amount over the last 24 hours and 7 days. You can also receive volume level notifications if that limit is exceeded. It does not appear to be integrated with Android’s broader Digital Wellbeing functionality.
The other features are exclusive to the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro, starting with Bluetooth Super Wideband support that doubles the available voice bandwidth for your voice. This is paired with Clear Calling to reduce background noise “around the person on the other side of the call” and enhance their voice. Google touts updated models that “better distinguish voices from background noise,” with this enabled on the headphones if (system Settings > Sound & vibration >) Clear Calling is activated on your Pixel 7 or newer.
Another feature for the Pixel 8 cuts latency in half when gaming in compatible titles.
Go to the Pixel Buds Pro preferences page/app > More settings > Firmware update to see if you have version 5.9 (from 4.30) available for install. You’ll also get a Feature Drop page announcing the new features.
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