Pixel Buds Review

Pixel Buds Review

pixel buds review

You agree to continue: Google Pixel Buds A Series

Each smart device requires that you agree to certain terms and conditions in order to use the device. These are often contracts that nobody actually understands. Unfortunately, we are not able to go through and review every agreement. But we started counting exactly how many times you have to hit “agree” to use devices when we review them since these are agreements most people don’t read and definitely can’t negotiate.

Without requiring you to sign anything, you can pair up and listen to Google’s Pixel Buds A-Series. Installing the Pixel Buds App comes with several mandatory agreements.

Google Privacy Policy Google Device Arbitration agreement

(for US customers) Google Assistant also collects data “such as your device contacts or activity on Google sites and apps, to provide better, more helpful answers through the Google Assistant. Google can also share data from third-party apps, as per their privacy policies.

I already mentioned the loss of wireless charging, but other sacrifices that Google made to hit the $99 price aren’t as obvious. It’s no more possible to use swipe forward/back gestures on Pixel Buds to adjust the volume. Now you can only tap tracks for control. A-Series headphones also eliminate the experimental attention alerts function that used to detect certain sounds such as sirens or dog barks. It is now history that the tiny LED found inside the Google Pixel Buds’ case to indicate charging status has been removed. Google made these decisions logically, while also preserving other crucial vitals such as IPX4 waterproof and sweat resistance. Voice calls also remain a Pixel Buds strength on the A-Series, with dual beamforming mics that do a good job of plucking your voice out of noisy environments and maintaining clarity during phone chats or work conference calls. Google Assistant was also able to recognize voice commands loudly and clearly.

Also, the 2020 Pixel Buds have an “adaptive audio” feature that automatically adjusts volume according to your surroundings. This works quite well. The only problem is that it activates when the ambient noise levels change as you move from one location to another. But I’m an old-school guy and would rather control volume than let algorithms. The Pixel Buds A-Series still support Android’s Fast Pair feature for quick setup. While the companion app on Pixel smartphones is already built-in, you can still download it from Google Play Store for any Android phone. It allows you to locate and toggle settings such as bass boost or in-ear detection. You can also check the battery level for your case and earbuds. For iOS, this app does not exist.

Google came up with a pair of $99 headphones by retaining a large portion of what was best about the 2020 Pixel Buds. This includes sound quality and hands free voice controls. Although the Pixel Buds A-Series aren’t perfect, they have addressed the major issue that made them more expensive than their predecessors. Some people will be turned off by the amount of outside noise the tunes make. Google may have left some details out but you still get a better overall product and a lower price.

pixel buds review

Google Pixel Buds (2020).

All smart devices now require you to accept a set of terms before you are able to use them. It’s impossible for us to read and analyze every single one of these agreements. Because these are agreements few people read or can negotiate, we decided to start counting the number of times that we have to press “agree” for devices to be used.

Google Pixel Buds can be paired and listened to without you having to consent to any terms. Installation of the Pixel Buds application comes with certain mandatory terms:

Google Privacy Policy Google Device Arbitration Agreement

Google Assistant (for US customers), also gathers data, “such your device contacts, activity on Google websites and apps, in order to deliver better, more relevant answers through the Google Assistant. If you use third-party services such as Google Assistant, they may share your information with Google according to their privacy policies.

Pixel Buds have worse connectivity stability problems than other earbuds.

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Photo taken by Becca Farsace/TheVerge. While Pixel Buds aren’t able to connect simultaneously with Jabra’s 75t, they can switch between devices that have been paired. Your music will be paused if you take one of your earbuds out. My phone couldn’t detect any issues with voice sync when I was watching videos. For phone calls (or Zoom), the Pixel Buds feature beamforming microphones and an accelerometer that can detect jaw movement and speech. They also make it clear and unobtrusive. Although they’re not the greatest, you can still hear your voice clearly.

Pixel Buds have the same useful feature of placing Google Assistant right into your ear. This allows you to keep track of all your notifications. Now Assistant can be spoken to hands-free, which makes it even more convenient. You’ll hear a chime after you say “Hey Google,” and you can then ask for the weather, request a certain playlist, tell Assistant to control your smart home gadgets, or bark commands for whatever else you’d normally do. This is an excellent perk. Fast Pairing on Android is also available with the Pixel Buds. This mimics how AirPod users set up their iPhones. The screen will appear when you hold your Pixel Buds close to your smartphone. Once they are paired, link your Google account to them. You can see the battery status of both the case as well as the earbuds by opening the case close to your phone.

pixel buds review

Is a Software Update able to break my Pixel Buds connection?

In recent years, more headphones are relying upon software updates to improve their features and solve problems. However, this can often lead to additional issues. It is what Pixel Buds 2 users have reported as a result of one the latest software updates. According to them, the recent software update had caused problems with the connection. Users are experiencing frequent audio cutting outs when their phone is in their pocket while they exercise. While I didn’t have any issues with my review unit we figured this was worth mentioning anyway as it’s clearly not an isolated incident. This should be resolved by a new software update, but as always we will keep the review up-to-date with any developments.

What’s the battery life like on the new Google Pixel Buds?

Google claims a battery life of five hours of constant playback but in our testing I found that it actually did better than that. My battery lasted 6 hours, 8 minutes at 75 dB. It is quite an average performance compared to other models. However, the battery should be sufficient to get you through your commute and workouts at the gym. These can then be returned to the bag, Google stating that it should allow you 24 hours more listening.

You can charge the case via USB C, or any Qi wireless charging device.

The charging case also fast charges the ‘buds giving you another two hours of playback after just 10 minutes in the case. Android users can access a menu with a small dropdown that displays the battery time of each earbud. Unfortunately, they appear to have different discharge rates so it may not be accurate. My testing revealed that the two earbuds ended up dying at a much faster rate than what the percentage would indicate.

pixel buds review

Audio Experience

… Just a few steps further, but almost the same

Although the overall audio quality is quite satisfactory after a lot of burn-in, the experience doesn’t feel as robust as those from 2020 Pixel Buds. In our initial review, Ben Schoon found that the Pixel Buds A-Series has a sound profile that is not quite right.

It’s not meant to be a negative assessment of sound quality. The A-Series provide solid audio for their price. The bass response is excellent and the profile remains neutral, even when Bass Boost is enabled. I find that not having ANC isn’t a problem as the profile and size of this unit block out a lot background noise. The passive isolation keeps out low rumbles but is very strong.

Although I don’t know if there have been any reviews that noted that activation tones and sound effects have been muted compared with the original Buds, it is something I noticed. Tapping to pause and play audio feels softer. I think it would have been more pleasant to feel the tap directly in your ear canal, when you access the touchpad controls or activate the Google Assistant.

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Here’s my beef with earbuds, and all touch controls. Tapping and interacting with an earbud can lead to discomfort and pain. Like last year’s Pixel Buds, the Pixel Buds Aseries has a direct and great integration with Google Assistant.

This is an excellent feature, and having access to all other Assistant features makes it even better. This is a feature you may already be aware of, however it still elevates the Pixel Buds A–series above other expensive earbuds. Provided that voice commands can be used and that the priority for sound profiles doesn’t change, this feature will not affect your purchase. We may one day get them both. But for the moment, this tradeoff seems to be quite valid.

The volume swipe, contrary to what I think is true, is the most significant loss. This is the only interaction I use and works so well that it can be used on Pixel Buds. The A-series’ inability to allow you adjust volume without reaching for your phone, or activating Assistant makes this tedious. If you’re using voice commands for this task, the time it takes can take up to 10-15 seconds. Other times, it will require you to fiddle with your phone.

pixel buds review

Google Pixel Buds ASeries Sound Quality & Features

Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central

Google did not compromise the quality of the A-Series despite its $100 price tag. The company confirmed my question, though the sound signatures weren’t the same as those of their more expensive Pixel Buds. This is a great thing. Other reviewers also said it, but I won’t be so bold as to call the headphones “hollow” as some other sources have suggested.

Pixel Buds A-Series’ sound signature is neutral and doesn’t accent bass. This can make the A-Series seem boring or too loud depending on your source material. The default equalization means that they aren’t too heavy and ship with the same “Bass Boost”, feature as the regular Pixel Buds. These little drops do wonders in hip-hop and house music. But I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone who is primarily concerned with thumping electronic beats.

Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central

Google decided to remove one of their Pixel Buds’ sensor when it was designing the A-Series. In addition, the A-Series has one less microphone. Google has removed the Pixel Buds’ sensors, and one microphone was left. This results in you losing the so-called Attention Alerts. The Pixel Buds can also be substituted for traditional transparency modes. I never really found Attention Alerts all that useful, though, limited as they are to “baby crying, dog barking, and emergency vehicle siren,” according to the August 2020 documentation.

These are as plug-and-play as it gets on an Android phone, and the sound quality is just as accessible, though it won’t blow you away.

While the A-Series isn’t affected by the sensor removal, there are still some features that I like. For example, auto-play/pause still works when one Bud is taken out. Also, Google Assistant is an essential feature of Buds. This is because you cannot adjust volume with your phone without it. The only way to stop Google Assistant being enabled is from reading the notifications. But you cannot disable your source to lower volume temporarily when your coworker messages. It isn’t ideal.

pixel buds review


The Adaptive Sound project is still in progress

Battery Life

No audio customization

One key difference is the fact that Pixel Buds 2 is truly wireless. Even though the earbuds have retained the round shape of the originals’, the new model is smaller. Chris Velazco, Chris’s colleague in the review of the original version noted that the two-part design of the bud meant half the bud was visible above your ears. These new bud don’t stick as far out of your ears. The tip that is inserted into the ear canal has been reduced to a smaller size. This also means they fit more snugly, and the improved seal does a better job of blocking out ambient noise.

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Google’s first Pixels Buds had a cord hoop at the top. Now it has a traditional fin. It is a common part on all earbuds wired and wireless. The fin is rigid rubber, so it actually helps keep the Pixel Buds nestled in place. Even during my cardio work outs, I never felt like they would fall off. These new Pixel Buds can be taken on runs or other activities with ease, as they are IPX4 certified.

These Pixel Buds are compact and easy to use for extended periods. Having something inserted into your ear holes will only ever be so comfortable, but keeping the size and weight down goes a long way. These earbuds were comfortable to wear for many hours without feeling strained. These earbuds are small and lightweight, similar to Jabra’s Elite75t Samsung’s Galaxy Buds+. They can be worn for many hours without any hassle than most of their competition.

pixel buds review

The Best Places to Buy

Walmart B&H Best BuyGoogle One month later, I have continued to use the Pixel Buds A-Series. Their unique design makes them my favorite for one specific purpose: listening out-and-about.

As with last year’s Pixel Buds you can hear and listen to your surroundings while the A-Series has quiet media. These things can be a nuisance in a cafe or gym, but I don’t think it should matter to me. If you do need to use earbuds while running, jogging, or other activities such as checking traffic and interacting with cashiers, it’s a great idea to have one set. It’s great to have the Google Assistant within your ears for quick queries (but don’t ask it about people).

Image Gallery (One Images) Other than this specific purpose, my opinion isn’t much different. The A-Series sound very nice, their design is excellent, and they’re way more reasonably priced than last year’s Pixel Buds. A-Series Pixel Buds A-Series are my preferred choice for Google earbuds unless they’re on sale at a significant discount. Be sure to compare similar-priced options by Samsung Sony before making the purchase.

Google Play is testing removing the “last updated” section of app listings. What’s Google doing lately with hiding valuable data?

Tweet Share Email Reviews Google Audio Reviews Pixel Buds True Wireless Earbuds Pixel Buds A Series

pixel buds review

Who is it not for?

You can spend less than $150 on a pair if earbuds

For active noise cancellation

Extra-long battery life is available with the earbuds

I gave the Pixel Buds an incredibly strong score when I first reviewed them in April, and since then they have only improved with a bug-busting firmware update. The two major issues that were present at launch are now fixed. This allows me to continue to endorse the Pixel Buds. These truly wireless headphones are great.

True wireless earbuds are expensive at $180. This is especially true when so many other great choices can be found for far less. However, I believe the Pixel Buds can be used every day and feel greater than the sum. Simple and efficient design are great for eyes, hands, ears. The little niceties of auto-adjusting volume, great touch controls, top-notch mics and good spoken notifications are useful every single day. This is a costly pair of headphones, but it’s well worth it.

Google Pixel Buds – Worth the Cost?

Google Pixel Buds have been redesigned and are now a viable option. … While there are many great true wireless earbuds to choose from, Android users finally have their AirPods competitor.Jul 12, 2021

Are Pixel Buds A Noise Cancelling?

Google Pixel Buds uses hardware and software to adjust to your environment. However, this is more useful for volume adjustments. The Pixel Buds does not have active noise cancelling. That’s why it’s $50 lower than the AirPods Pro.

Are Pixel Buds A Series Comfortable?

Google Pixel Buds A-Series’ lightweight design makes it comfortable to wear, even for extended periods. September 14, 2021

Are Pixel Buds A Series Good For Running?

These shoes are also waterproof and sweat-resistant, making them ideal for intense workouts. The IPX4 rating means they are water-resistant, and you don’t need to be concerned about them falling off during intense sweat sessions.

.Pixel Buds Review

Ethan L is a 32-year-old man with a passion for science and technology. He grew up in a small town in the Midwest and always had a fascination with how things worked. He excelled in math and science in high school and went on to earn a degree in computer…

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