Brand new Pixel 2 customers eager to try out the new Daydream View are going to find themselves in an interesting situation when it comes to the headphone jack. There's no headphone jack, there are no USB-C headphones in the box, and alongside the Pixel 2 Google announced a clever set of wireless earbuds with Google Assistant baked right in.
As fun as the Pixel Buds are, not to mention styled to match the other hardware you're using, it's not going to give you the best Daydream VR experience. Here's why!
The worst L word
It doesn't matter what kind of wireless headphones you use, including Apple's AirPods or some LG neckbuds with Apt-X HD enabled, there will always be some small delay between what the phone is playing and what you are hearing. This isn't a huge problem when listening to music or catching a YouTube video on your phone, but in VR audio accuracy can be a big deal. This issue is called latency, and it's not something you can avoid so much as just accept this is a thing that is happening.
When asking Google how well Pixel Buds would work with Daydream, the answer was somewhat varied. Members of the Daydream team have used Pixel Buds when playing games and not noticed any problems, but pointed out how VR video didn't always line up with the audio. You'll notice some small delays, and it will be enough to make most VR videos feel less immersive. Where gaming won't be a huge problem, there are many VR games with audio cues for action, which means you're operating at a slight disadvantage while using wireless headphones like these Pixel Buds.
How do I fix this?
There is no way to "fix" latency with Pixel Buds, but if your goal is latency-free audio in Daydream with your Pixel 2 the answer is to go wired. This is accomplished one of two ways when using a Pixel 2.
Use the included adapter: Your Pixel 2 doesn't come with headphones, but it does come with a USB-C to 3.5mm jack adapter. This means you can use whatever headphones you want, but you have to be careful not to lose that adapter. Otherwise, you'll be hunting for one on Amazon.
Pick up some USB-C headphones: You won't be able to use these headphones with anything but a phone or laptop with a USB-C port, but if you only listen to things with your Pixel 2 that may not be a downside. This options start at about $20, so if you're not sure this is the best option for you there's not a lot of investment required.
Skip the headphones entirely: The Pixel 2 is the first Daydream headset with stereo front-facing speakers, which means spatial audio is built right in to the phone! This won't work well when you're away from home, but if you're not interested in dongles or new headphones you really don't lose much by going without when you've got a Pixel 2.
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