Last night, I came across a nice surprise. Nintendo pushed out an update to Switch and Switch Lite owners that allowed them to do something they couldn’t since the launch of the console generation – connect Bluetooth earbuds! Yep – believe it or not, you’ve never been able to wirelessly connect anything to route audio to your ears, and that’s extremely disappointing. I actually recall having this though several times over the past few years. “Why can’t I connect my Google Pixel Buds to my Switch?” or “Connecting earbuds would allow me to play with sound without disturbing my son while he sleeps”.
Now, with update Ver. 13.0.0 (Distributed September 14, 2021), which should automatically download, gamers will be able to visit the Settings section of their handheld game console, and then scroll down to the Bluetooth Audio section to ‘Pair Device’. If you’re wanting to connect up your Pixel Buds, all you’ll need to do is leave them in their case with the lid open, press and hold the button on the back until the light in the case blinks indicating they are in discovery mode, and then select them from the Switch Bluetooth menu.
Mine failed to pair a few times, but you can get them set up properly by placing them into discovery mode at the same time as you click ‘Pair Device’ on your Switch to prevent any handshake issues. Once you’re finished, you can pop the Buds into your ears and enjoy! Well, sort of. What took me by surprise and what shouldn’t have is that Google’s earbuds have some pretty extreme delay here with the Nintendo Switch.
If you’ve been reading Chrome Unboxed for any length of time whatsoever, you’re probably already familiar with our Pixel Bud woes. Back in October, I wrote about how I had a handful of bad replacement buds and no matter what I did, I just couldn’t fall in love with them. Then, Robby ditched his pair for the Apple Airpods Pro with one of the main reasons being the insane amount of latency while gaming. We’ve actually complained about this issue time and time again, but even with the earbuds getting Pixel Feature drops, and even with the new A-series hardware hitting the market, the issue still persists.
At the end of the day, it was really cool to have my Pixel Buds in my ears and my Nintendo Switch in my hands, but even outside of gaming, the menu UI sounds lagged behind the actions themselves, and nothing I did seemed to synchronize. it’s just extremely disappointing that Google still can’t figure out this audio lag while gaming with the buds, and equally disappointing that Nintendo waited this many years to even add Bluetooth connections to a console it made bajillions of dollars selling.