Google Pixel Buds A-Series review: Affordable, secure, and optimized for Android Review

Maria J. Danford

They say that the third time is the charm, and when it will come to Google’s wi-fi headset components — they’re right. The to start with Pixel Buds in 2017 were being very disappointing, when the second generation in 2020 was a great deal far better, at to start with. Individuals 2020 Pixel Buds failed to stay up to the to start with month’s impressions, as additional use disclosed significant relationship and trustworthiness difficulties that also arrived with a large $a hundred and eighty start price tag.

As before long as the new Google Pixel Buds A-Series became out there online, I positioned my buy for a Dim Olive pair that proved to be a fantastic time to use my $30 in credit rating earned from earlier Pixel and Google A person buys. I’ve been making use of the new Pixel Buds A-Series for a pair of weeks when touring, performing out, mowing the garden, performing in the place of work, commuting, and far more. They have established to be far better than the 2020 Pixel Buds so much, and I hope they will not succumb to the very same difficulties observed on the a great deal far more highly-priced earbuds from final calendar year.

I’m blessed with the opportunity to check out a whole lot of cell equipment and it truly is crystal clear that the $280 Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds supply an amazing audio practical experience. Having said that, $280 is a whole lot of money for earbuds, so it truly is pleasant to see Google start an economical choice with the Google Pixel Buds A-Series. I individually uncover the in shape to be far more protected with the Pixel Buds A-Series and I adore the sleek matte complete case.

Also: Google Pixel 4a 5G overview: Affordable 5G telephone with beautiful digicam efficiency

The new Google Pixel Buds A-Series earbuds are out there for $99 in Plainly White and Dim Olive. I obtained the Dim Olive model, due to the fact I already have a non-performing pair of white Pixel Buds I bought in 2020.

Technical specs

  • Microphones: Dual beamforming mics in every single earbud
  • Speakers: 12mm dynamic driver with passive sounds reduction
  • Sweat and h2o resistance: IPX4 rating
  • Sensors: Capacitive contact on every single earbud, accelerometer, gyroscope, twin IR proximity in-ear detection
  • Battery existence: Up to 5 hours of play with charging case offering one more 19 hours of songs playback. 15 minutes of charging presents up to 3 hours of listening time. Communicate time is 50 percent of audio listening time.
  • Wireless connectivity: Bluetooth 5.
  • Earbud body weight: 5.1 grams every single
  • Charging case proportions: sixty three X forty seven X 25mm and forty two.5 grams (with out earbuds)

Components

The retail package contains the two wi-fi Pixel Buds A-Series, a charging case with integrated battery, small and huge silicone eartips, and a USB-A to USB-C cable. The medium size silicone eartips are hooked up to the Google Pixel Buds.

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The charging case has a comfortable matte complete and looks a little bit like a flat egg. There is a USB-C port on the bottom, an LED indicator light on the front, and a small pairing button on the decrease again. In contrast to the 2020 Pixel Buds charging case, this 1 does not assist wi-fi charging, which is 1 of the trade-offs built this calendar year to lessen the price tag. Supplied the velocity of wi-fi charging and the good battery existence, this looks to be a affordable trade to save money.

The lid of the carrying case has a constructive spring, so when you elevate it about 45 levels it flips all the way open to the ninety-diploma placement. Every Pixel Bud is secured in area with magnets, but is also uncomplicated to remove from the case when you grab them.

The colored part of the Pixel Buds, assuming you obtain Dim Olive like I did, is the whole earbud and the internals of the charging case. Very last calendar year we only observed coloration highlights on some portions of the earbuds. Contact controls involve:

  • Solitary faucet to play or pause when listening to songs or to answer a simply call
  • Double faucet to skip to the following track or to conclude/reject a simply call
  • Triple faucet to play the former track or to repeat a track
  • Press and hold to start Google Assistant or listen to your notifications

There is a rubber piece embedded in the Pixel Bud that is curved and serves as a fin piece (called a “stabilizer arc”) that allows continue to keep the Pixel Bud securely embedded in your ear. There are two gold contacts to assist charging the Pixel Bud. Earlier mentioned these contacts is 1 opening for the IR proximity sensor. An additional IR sensor opening is down on the small arm in direction of the conclude of the earbud (the area identified as the “retention curve”). The spatial vent for in-ear stress reduction is also located down on the retention curve. The two mic openings are positioned on possibly side of the touchpad.

Also: Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds overview: Superb sounds cancellation, crystal clear calls, and lengthy battery existence

The Pixel Buds A-Series have a shiny complete with plastic elements, when the outside touchpad has a matte complete. The silicone guidelines in shape above this plastic conclude to support the Pixel Buds in shape comfortably in your ear.

The moment you insert the Pixel Buds A-Series into your ear, simply rotate every single 1 into placement right until you are at ease with it. It felt a little bit like screwing the Pixel Bud further into my ear canal, but the end result is 1 of the most protected earbuds I have at any time tested. Audio all-around you is undoubtedly blocked out by the deep mounting of the earbud, but following hours of put on I never felt any discomfort.

Distinctions in between 2020 Pixel Buds and Pixel Buds A-Series

If you glance through all of the details in my two opinions, you could place a handful of variations. To make it uncomplicated for readers who want to make a selection in between the two earbuds, listed here is where they are distinct:

  • Selling price: The 2020 Pixel Buds are $179 and the A-Series are priced at $99
  • Wireless charging case: Only the 2020 Pixel Buds case supports wi-fi charging
  • Contact controls: The 2020 Pixel Buds assist swipes for quantity regulate
  • H2o resistance: The 2020 Pixel Buds case is also h2o resistant
  • Wind reduction: The 2020 Pixel Buds assist this function
  • Sensors: A person sensor was removed from every single A-Series earbud so the never-employed Interest Alerts only performs on the 2020 Pixel Buds

If you are eager to make a handful of compromises, you can save $80 and obtain the new Pixel Buds A-Series. The compromises are not vital for my every day utilization, and the far more responsible efficiency outweighs these compromises when also coming in at a a great deal far more economical price tag.

Smartphone software

iOS end users will only see the Pixel Buds A-Series surface in Bluetooth settings and have no advanced regulate or possibilities out there. But you can nevertheless use the Pixel Buds as a fundamental Bluetooth headset and even start Google Assistant — if you have the Google Assistant app mounted on your iOS system and it is operating.

The authentic magic listed here is current with Android phones. I attempted the Pixel Buds on numerous Android phones to check out the experiences. The Pixel Buds app is embedded into Google Pixel phones, but other Android products get practically the very same practical experience by simply downloading and installing the Pixel Buds app from the Enjoy Retailer.

The Pixel Buds app contains battery position indicators for every single earbud and the charging case, as well as the means to uncover every single earbud, watch a visual list of the gesture contact controls, toggle the bass increase choice, toggle adaptive seem, toggle in-ear detection, take care of firmware updates, and watch other settings of the Pixel Buds.

If you join the Pixel Buds to a Pixel telephone, then you will see more toggles for High definition audio, telephone calls, media audio, and get hold of sharing.

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Adaptive seem automatically optimizes the quantity of the Pixel Buds A-Series based mostly on your environment. I realize the improvements are refined and nothing at all like energetic sounds cancellation. When you manually modify the quantity, adaptive seem is temporarily disabled. When you enter an setting with vastly distinct seem ranges than where you departed, adaptive seem will kick in once more.

Day by day utilization experiences and conclusion

We see battery existence in large-conclude wi-fi earbuds from 8 to twelve hours, so the 5 hours provided listed here in the Pixel Buds A-Series is not exceptional in 2021. That explained, you can use every single earbud individually for 5 hours, so in a one earbud swapping plan you could get through a total working day and far more just before owning to join a USB-C cable to demand up the earbuds.

The $99 price tag position is affordable for headphones with all of these attributes and an optimized Google Assistant practical experience. If you are an Iphone user, then the practical experience is minimal — I do not advocate the Pixel Buds A-Series for Iphone end users. An Android telephone is essential to fully entry the attributes of the Pixel Buds and is also needed to update the earbuds. Updating them is vital, due to the fact Google tweaks and enhances the practical experience above time.

The Pixel Buds A-Series earbuds and charging case each have the very same structure as the 2020 Pixel Buds, and that is a terrific thing. The earbuds have 1 of the most protected matches of any earbuds I have tested, and operating with them has been a wonderful practical experience. The Pixel Buds A-Series handed my lawnmower check and when they will not have ANC, I was nevertheless in a position to appreciate songs flawlessly with a loud lawnmower and fuel blower in my palms. It was also terrific to listen to podcasts with 1 earbud in when driving 5 hours in the southern section of the US.

Supplied that I had some Google credit rating to use, it truly is uncomplicated to justify the Pixel Buds A-Series at $70. Supplied the weak efficiency from the 2020 Pixel Buds, I would never advocate them above these far more economical earbuds. At $99 the Pixel Buds A-Series are a persuasive choice for Android smartphone end users. If you are an Iphone user, then glance to earbuds from Apple, Jabra, or others.

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