Review Google Pixel Buds Pro: Better Fit, Better Sound
The company’s other earbuds quietly blend into the supporting cast while bright stars from Sony, Bose, Sennheiser, and Cambridge Audio steal the show in our best wireless earbuds and best noise-cancelling earbuds roundups, putting Google’s Pixel Buds Pro at risk of being unnoticed. With Google’s first Pro-suffixed proposal, is that about to change?
ANC, wearer detection, a dedicated app, multipoint technology with automatic audio switching (so the Pixel Buds Pro can stay connected to two different devices simultaneously and switch easily between them), a 31-hour battery life when listening without ANC activated and when combined with the charging case (which can be charged wirelessly), Google Assistant support, and customizability are all features that can’t be faulted for the Google Pixel Buds Pro. These appear to be strong competitors for Android users to the Apple AirPods Pro.
The good news of our Google Pixels Buds Pro review is that we believe they’re worth the price for the noise reduction and transparency profiles. The majority of our testing was conducted using a Google Pixel 6 Pro smartphone; iPhone users should be aware that there is no iOS app. The on-device touch controls are effective, and the in-app user experience is also excellent.
Review of Google Pixel Buds Pro’s features and design.
The Google Pixel Buds Pro’s pebble-like casing feels solid and chilly in our hands, and the brushed plastic never accumulates fingerprint smudges. Although it’s crucial to note that you do not receive a charging cord in the box, which doesn’t exactly seem luxury, it charges either wirelessly or by USB-C.
Even with the three included downsized eartips, we had trouble getting the Google Pixel Buds Pro to stay put in our ears. The design is somewhat reminiscent of a miniature flip-top bag or rucksack, and while the neck of the earbuds is beautifully angled to go into your ear canals, it doesn’t seem especially well-weighted or ergonomic.
Despite our greatest efforts, we are unable to experience the “oh, now they’re secure” moment. Without a doubt, we wouldn’t want to begin dancing or enroll in a trapeze class… The Google Pixel Buds Pro won’t be included in our list of the best exercise headphones based only on fit, but going to the gym isn’t what they’re made for.
The Pixel Buds app on our Google Pixel 6 Pro first performs a 20-second fit test, informing us we passed with flying colors and our “earbuds sound amazing!” as if to contradict our concerns about the design. We’re not certain.
Leaving this problem aside, you receive a lot of benefits for your money. The on-ear volume control by swiping forward or back works extremely well, and the touch controls are excellent (Apple aficionados won’t find this feature on the AirPods Pro). Also, you can configure them such that the right earbud cycles through noise reduction settings while a long push on the left earbud activates Google Assistant.
The three microphones per earpiece, which Google refers to as a “voice accelerometer,” and “wind-blocking mesh coverings,” according to people on the other end of the line, contribute to our speech sounding clear when we’re on a conversation.
Cancelling Active Noise? Absolutely, both it and transparency are excellent. You are only able to adjust the levels of each to “on” or “off,” but considering how effective each is, this is acceptable in this situation.
The Pixel Buds Pro also come with a ton of user-friendly features from Google, such as lightning-quick pairing, where the buds just appear on your home screen and ask to be friends, “find me” features, a dedicated app, and multipoint technology with automatic audio switching so the Pixel Buds Pro can remain connected to two different devices and switch between them with ease. It works well with the Google Pixel 6 Pro, Samsung Galaxy S21, and even an iPhone 8 when multipoint is enabled in the Buds’ settings (it is off by default, but turning it on just takes a few seconds).
Also, the battery life is excellent. You may use the earbuds for up to 11 hours of listening time with ANC turned off, and the charging case can be used for up to 31 hours of listening time in total. You can listen to the headphones for up to seven hours with active noise cancellation on and for up to 20 hours overall with the charging case. This is significantly longer than the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro or the Apple AirPods Pro’s seven-hour battery life when using just the headphones alone. However, it is still shorter than the AirPods Pro’s twenty-hour battery life.
Also, a five-minute charge of the earbuds in the charging case provides up to an hour of listening time with Active Noise Cancellation turned on, and a fifteen-minute charge provides up to three hours of listening time with Active Noise Cancellation turned on.
Sound quality of Google Pixel Buds Pro review
The more economical Google Pixel Buds A-Series were introduced after the initial Pixel Buds by Google in 2020. The headline also states that compared to Google’s earlier attempts, the sound quality when listening to music has improved even after just a few hours of listening. But the compliments stop there.
The comparatively massive 11mm dynamic driver found within each Google Pixel Buds Pro earphone should provide for a great performance. But as soon as we begin testing them (after properly running them in, understandably), we notice a number of sound performance issues.
We don’t get the feeling of the song’s rising dramatic build in the beginning when listening to a remastered Tidal version of This is the Sea by The Waterboy. The Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus clearly outperforms the Google product despite being much cheaper, celebrating shakers and inflections in Mike Scott’s vocal in a way that the Pixel Buds Pro cannot. This song is supposed to build from barely audible key progressions, as if starting in the distance.
The Pixel Buds Pro make reference to violins, keys, and alternative vocal harmonies in the song “The Pan Within” from the album This is the Sea, but they are unable to fully stand out in the overall rather compressed-sounding mix. We also become aware that the tune is not as forceful, gripping, or hefty down the bass registers as it should be as an electric guitar holds down a low riff.
We use “HD audio” throughout our testing (defined as AAC audio codec, better than MP3 but still lossy, and it’s the best you’ll get here), but throughout our listening, the clarity across the leading edges of notes isn’t as good as we’d want it to be at this level.
While wearing the Honor Earbuds 3 Pro, you can hear three-dimensional and impulsive saxophone detail in Sam Fender’s “Get You Down,” but in this case, the treble is underplayed to the point where the overall profile sound sounds a little muddy and fuzzy, even into the midrange. We wish there was just a bit more room surrounding each melodic phrase.
VALUE OF GOOGLE PIXEL BUDS PRO
The Google Pixel Buds Pro are stylish and offer a lot of features for the price. The ANC is trustworthy, and if you possess a Pixel phone, their user-friendly features and app compatibility make them an attractive option. Oh, and for the level, the battery life is superb.
Nevertheless, if sound-per-pound value in true wireless earbuds is your top priority, you should consider even more affordable choices like the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus or, if they’re available in your area, the Honor Earbuds 3 Pro.
Should you get Google Pixel Buds Pro?
GET THEM IF…
You want to ask your earphones to “Hey Google”
These headphones may be for you if you have a Google Pixel phone and the Google Assistant is the only artificial voice you trust.
You give active noise cancellation more weight than fine-grained sound.
The ANC on the Google Pixel Buds Pro is strong, letting in very little unwanted noise, and the transparency profile is equally fantastic for listening in on talks.