Google’s latest wireless earbuds are here, the Pixel Buds Pro. Notably, it’s the first time Google has put active noise cancellation (ANC) into a pair of Buds. Are they any good, though?
For $200, they’re not quite going head-to-head with the AirPods Pro. They’re directly priced to match the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro, though, and similarly named.
So, how do they sound? And are they worth buying? Let’s see what the early reviews are saying.
Design and fit
The Pixel Buds Pro follows the same rounded, sleek lines as Google’s earlier wireless earbuds. They’re mostly matte black, with an accent plate in charcoal (black), fog (white), lemongrass (greeny-yellow), or coral (pink).
That’s housed in a flattened egg charging case that has wireless charging. That case gives the Pixel Buds Pro a total of 31-hour playtime, seven hours before charging with ANC enabled.
It’s a design that worked for all the existing Pixel Buds, so why change it? Did the design strike a chord with reviewers?
Let’s see what early critics are saying
The Pixel Buds are a bit larger and more bulbous than the AirPods Pro, but they seem to conform to the space in my outer ear nicely. They also have a balanced feel, which makes it easy to forget about them when you’re running or otherwise moving around. – Fast Company
Gizmodo loved the charging case, calling it a “highly pocketable egg-shaped charging case that might become your next fidget toy obsession.”
Those colored accent plates feature touch controls, which MobileSyrup called “accurate and easy to use.”
That said, there’s not much to say about the Google Pixel Buds Pro design that hasn’t been said about previous versions. Google hasn’t changed the design much since the original Pixel Buds. Why fix what isn’t broken, right?
Sound and noise cancellation
This time, Google created new drivers for the Pixel Buds Pro. They’ve also got a three-mic array for voice calls and the all-important active noise cancellation (ANC). How does that add up to overall sound quality?
9to5Google called the sound signature “perfectly balanced, as all things should be.” That sounds good, as a more reference sound that lets you tweak to your liking is preferable to heavy V-shaped sound signatures.
They also said it has more bass than previous Pixel Buds, partly due to no ‘vent’ in the hardware.
The Verge has a succinct view of the earbuds:
Pixel Buds Pro deliver the best audio experience of Google’s lineup thus far – The Verge
Okay, now what about the active noise cancellation? That’s essential for any $200 pair of earbuds.
Well, Ars Technica wasn’t a huge fan. They said the ANC was fine but suffered in “dynamic scenarios,” like jogging down the street. They also didn’t like the ‘transparency’ mode, calling it “unreliable.”
Did anyone like the ANC? CNBC found it “nearly as good as on the AirPods Pro.” Maybe it’s subjective and partly due to how good a seal you can get in your ears.
I couldn’t hear my editor when he was asking me a question while I was listening to music.
Mostly good stuff here, and shows that Google can make good hardware that isn’t centered around a smartphone camera.
So, what’s the verdict on the Pixel Buds Pro?
Google’s Pixel Buds Pro is “Google’s best buds yet,” according to MobileSyrup. That’s echoed by pretty much every other outlet. Reviews don’t happen in a vacuum, though, and the Pixel Buds Pro holds up well against the competition.
ZDNet called them “AirPods Pro, but for Android.” High praise indeed, when Apple’s earbuds are the benchmark everyone measures against.
TechCrunch called out their “deeper integration with Pixel devices,” which adds more weight to any AirPods comparisons.
The point is that Google is on par with the competition now. If you’re a Pixel phone owner, these are the buds you should check out.
The Google Pixel Buds Pro is available now for $199 and can be found on the Google Store, Best Buy, Amazon, Crutchfield, and various other retailers.
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