At a glance
- Google Assistant support
- Lots of smart features
- Good sound quality
- Limited battery life of the earbuds
- No ANC
- Controls cannot be customized
If you can do without things like wireless charging and noise-cancellation - and want to prioritize smart features - then you should buy the Pixel Buds A series.
While they haven't made it to Google I/O like some expected, the A-series Pixel Buds are now official and are the company's most affordable wireless earbuds yet.
The general idea here is to offer a cheaper version of the existing Pixel Buds 2 while retaining key features and quality. There are some downgrades to match the significantly lower price point, but they're fewer than you might expect - namely wireless charging and attention alerts.
Overall, Google has done a good job, even making small improvements here and there. The main selling point for thePixel Buds Aare all the smart features, as subpar battery life and no noise-cancelling might make you look elsewhere.
Design & Build
As you may have noticed, the Pixel Buds A look identical to thePixel Buds (2020). In fact, Google hasn't changed the design at all, so these are a budget version of the same headphones.
The only new element are two new color options: Dark Olive - which I was hoping for - and the Clearly White option, which was sent to me to test. It shares the same name as the Buds 2 but now has light gray areas on the earbuds and inside the case, rather than black.
If you've used the Pixel Buds 2 you can probably just skip to later sections of the review, but other than that these are well-designed and well-made earbuds.
They come in a small case that has a smooth matte finish. It looks and feels good, although it's oddly plain and there's not even a "G" logo in sight. All you get is a USB-C port on the bottom for charging and a hidden LED just below the lid that lights up when you open it.
The earbuds themselves are very small, and at just 5g each, they're one of the lightest pairs out there. They fit my ears well and stayed in place well. You can switch earbuds, and while there's a finned section to help with stability, it's a permanent attachment.
It's a shame because even though I use small tips, I found the fins didn't do much as they couldn't reach my larger ears. Still, I found them comfortable for a long time and, unlike some others, wasn't overly concerned about them falling out.
There is a "G" logo on the outer parts and this is where you'll find the touch controls. Here we also find the first downgrade compared to the Buds 2, since here there are no volume swipe gestures, only tapping (single, double and triple), but it works well and with good responsiveness.
Too bad you can'tto adjusttouch control, so that, for example, the left earbud can control the volume while the right takes over playback.
The last thing to mention about the design is the IPX4 water resistance, which is basic but better than nothing and should protect the Buds A from splashes or sweat.
sound quality and features
The Pixel Buds A house the same custom 12mm dynamic drivers as the Buds 2, and they use Bluetooth 5.0 for connectivity. Although there are newer versions like 5.2, I haven't had any of the drop out issues we found with the Buds 2.
At 12mm, the drivers are surprisingly large given their size, and the Buds A offer decent sound quality with clean and accurate audio in the mid and high frequency ranges.
As Lewis noted with the Buds 2, bass is absent by default, but you can toggle a bass boost option in the setting that solves this problem if you listen to a lot of bass-heavy music.
Unfortunately, they don't have active noise-cancellation (ANC), but neither do much more expensive pairs like thoseApple AirPods 2or similarly priced options like thatCambridge Audio Melomania 1andRHA TrueConnect 2.
Passive noise isolation is very good, but if ANC is a must and you can't justify the flagship prices, then check out the Huawei FreeBuds 4i or Anker Soundcore Life A2 NC.
However, the Pixel Buds A's USP is really the array of smart features that Google offers. You won't find most of these on competitors at this price point or higher.
Much of the appeal comes from the earbuds, which support Google Assistant, so it's like having tiny smart speakers in your ears. Before I get to your options: Clever technology becomes apparent as soon as you open the case.
Fast Pair means you'll receive a pop-up notification and after a few simple on-screen steps, the Buds A will connect to your phone. I expected that with minePixel 4a 5G, but Google says it will work with any Android phone running version 6.0 or later.
Note that you can also use them with iOS or other Bluetooth devices if you want, you just need the pairing button on the back of the case.
On my Pixel phone, the Pixel Buds app is system-level, so you can get the battery life for each earbud from the drop-down bar and quickly get into all settings by tapping -- or the cog in the Bluetooth devices menu.
As mentioned, the Buds A's touch controls don't support volume movements, but you can ask the Google Assistant to turn them up or down. It's a nice touch, although I can't imagine using it in public, even if you can touch and hold the earbud instead of saying "Hey, Google."
It's just one of the many things the Google Assistant can do on the headphones, so it doesn't stop there.
One of the key features is translation, which can come in extremely handy when traveling abroad or just talking to neighbors who don't speak English. With the help of Google Translate app, it can translate 40 different languages in real time.
Without someone fluent in another language to test this, Google suggested watching a video on YouTube in another language. It translated my speech with ease but, as you can see above, struggled a bit to keep up with the fast-moving Spanish. I imagine talking to someone in real life when they know they're talking to an app will yield better results.
You can also have your notifications read out to you if you want (after choosing which apps you want this feature enabled for) and it can be really handy - e.g. B. when you go shopping and your partner wants to add something to the list - but you also get unhelpful things like "Jordan sent three photos".
Adaptive Sound isn't linked to Assistant, but aims to automatically adjust the volume based on where you go while wearing the Buds A. I didn't find it to do much, but then I didn't put the buds anywhere particularly challenging when testing.
I found the in-ear detection to be more useful and reliable than many others with the same feature. Thanks to IR sensors, it knows when you remove or replace the earbuds and quickly pauses or resumes your music.
There's more as you can also use your phone to locate the Pixel Buds A if you lose them. And the good news is that if you don't like any of these features, you can probably turn them off in settings so they don't bother you anymore.
As we found with the Pixel Buds 2, battery life remains a downside, with the Buds A able to last five hours of playback for the earbuds alone. I felt that was correct, while my colleague Lewis felt the Buds 2 ran for about three hours. But it's a long way from many competitors, with some being able to last twice as long - or even longer.
Add the charging case and you can get a total time of 24 hours, which isn't bad, but that five-hour figure won't be long enough for some users, especially if you want them to last a full long-haul flight or the like.
Fast charging helps the situation somewhat, as you can get three hours of playback from a 15-minute charge.
The case itself charges via USB-C and doesn't feature wireless charging like the Buds 2.
With the Pixel Buds 2 coming in at quite an expensive price tag of £179 / US$179, the Pixel Buds A seem very affordable indeed£99/US$99.
they wentcommercially in the USback in June and arenow available for pre-order in the UKwith the checkout page stating a delivery date of August 25th.
There are plenty of cheaper pairs of wireless earbuds out there, of course, but rarely from the big tech brands. The main contenders here that are slightly cheaper and have active noise cancellation are theHuawei FreeBuds 4iandAnker Soundcore Life A2 NC– both £79.
Check out our chartsbest wireless headphonesand thebest cheap wireless earbudsfor more options.
Google is finally getting there with its own-brand wireless earbuds, and I think it was a wise decision to take the flagship model and ditch some of the premium features for a much more attractive price point.
After all, it worked well with the Pixel 'a' phones.
Considering the difference in price compared to the Pixel Buds 2, it's perhaps surprising how little Google has downgraded here - namely on-case wireless charging and attention alerts.
Everything else remains the same and while there are cheaper active noise-cancelling competitors out there, the Pixel Buds A offer something different and that's plenty of smart features.
Basics like in-ear detection and decent touch controls are just the start, as the Buds A also offer Adaptive Sound, Fast Pair, and support for the Google Assistant, opening up a world of possibilities from simple replies or notifications to real-time translation.
Battery life isn't great for the earbuds themselves, but the case has plenty of extra juice and fast charging to quickly top up the buds when they run low.
If the cons aren't on your must-have list, the Pixel Buds A are recommended.
Google Pixel Buds A Series Specifications
- 12mm dynamic drivers
- Bluetooth 5.0
- Dual beamforming microphones and speech recognition accelerometer
- 5 hour battery life (24 hours with case)
- Google Assistant-Support
- touch control
- IR sensors for in-ear detection
- Google translator support
- IPX4 sweat and water resistance
- 20.7 x 29.3 x 17.5mm, 5.06g (earbud)
- 63 x 47 x 25mm, 42.8g (body)
- Definitely white and dark olive
Are the Pixel Buds a worth it? ›
The lightweight earphones are comfortable and work seamlessly with your Android device. Its IPX4 rating makes this a great option for those who live in humid climates or athletes, and the microphone quality is good for phone calls. Still, there are plenty of similarly priced options with fewer audio quirks.Are Google Pixel Buds as good as AirPods? ›
Both headsets offer reliable connection strength. The AirPods Pro is insanely easy to pair with nearby iOS devices. I've said it time and time again: true wireless earbuds are only as good as their connection stability, giving both the Google Pixel Buds and Apple AirPods Pro a leg up against the increasing competition.Which of these great features can be found on Pixel Buds A-Series? ›
With a flush-to-ear design, three eartip sizes and a stabiliser arc, your earbuds stay in place and create a gentle seal for amazing sound. Control with a tap. Touch controls let you answer calls, as well as play, pause and skip between tracks easily. Sweat- and water-resistant.Do Pixel Buds A-Series stay in ear? ›
Based on scans of thousands of ears, Pixel Buds A-Series give you a comfortable, stylish fit that can keep up with you during workouts. Snug and secure fit. With a flush-to-ear design, three eartip sizes, and a stabilizer arc, your earbuds stay in place and create a gentle seal for amazing sound.Why did Google get rid of Pixel Buds? ›
Unfortunately, they also presented with endemic hardware issues. Some users reported a cracking and hissing noise in the Buds, others reported audio cutouts and similar performance frustrations. While Google promised it would be fixing those with firmware updates, it never quite managed to quash the issue.Can you answer calls with Pixel Buds? ›
Answer a call
If you want to answer an incoming phone call, simply tap the right earbud.
The best AirPods Pro alternative we've tested in the upper mid-range price point are the JBL Live Pro+ TWS True Wireless. These lightweight in-ear headphones have the same 'stem and bud' design as the AirPods and are very comfortable and stable once you find a good fit with the included ear tips.How long do Pixel Buds a last? ›
Your Google Pixel Buds and Google Pixel Buds A-Series will last up to 5 hours of listening time and up to 2.5 hours of talk time before you have to place them in the Google Pixel Buds charging case to recharge.What is the difference between Google Pixel Buds and Google Pixel Buds? ›
In terms of weight and size, the Pixel Buds Pro are slightly heavier and weigh 6.2 grams in comparison to the Pixel Buds A-Series, which weigh 5.02 grams. The new earbuds are also slightly bigger (22.33 x 22.03 x 23.72mm) as opposed to the Pixel Buds A-Series (20.7 x 29.3 x 17.5 mm).Is pixel Bud waterproof? ›
Pixel Buds A-Series. Google Pixel Buds A-Series have a water protection rating of IPx4 under IEC standard 60529. Water resistance is not a permanent condition and may be compromised by normal wear and tear, repair, disassembly, or damage. The charging case is not water or sweat resistant.
Can you shower with Google Pixel Buds? ›
I can also confirm that the Pixel Buds are water-resistant. I'll spare you the photo of me in my bathroom, primarily because my shower curtain is heinous, but I wore them in the shower post HIIT-workout and I didn't notice anything unusual with the sound or connectivity.Do Pixel Buds have GPS tracking? ›
Check the last known location
Find My Device makes it easier to locate the earbuds when you've misplaced them. If you Fast Paired your Pixel Buds with a device running Android 6.0+ and that has Location and Location History enabled, it will remember the place it was last connected with your earbuds.
Does the Google Pixel Buds have a microphone? Yes, the Pixel Buds microphone sounds surprisingly good. They do a solid job of ensuring that all of the important frequencies in the voice are well-represented.Why are my pixel earbuds not loud? ›
If you experience low volume on both earbuds, adjusting these settings may solve it. under "Networking", turn "Disable absolute volume" off. Non-Pixel Androids: Try one of the fixes below. toggle "Media volume sync" on.Do Pixel Buds drain battery? ›
My right Pixel Bud has significant batter drain. From a full charge, it will completely die within an hour or so while the left one's battery is still ~70%. It's only for the right side. I've never dropped these or gotten them wet, and they're only about 20 months old, so outside of warranty.Will there be new Pixel Buds in 2022? ›
The forthcoming premium buds cost double the price of the A-Series but get you active noise cancelation and multi-device Bluetooth connectivity. Additionally, the Pixel Buds Pro feature a transparency mode, letting you hear ambient noise while using them. You can pick up a pair on July 21, 2022.Do Pixel Buds A have connection issues? ›
Why are my Google Pixel Buds cutting out? There's likely an issue with the Bluetooth connection. Toggle Bluetooth off and on again to reset the connection. If you still have problems, remove your Buds from the Bluetooth settings and re-pair them with your device.How do I claim my free Pixel Buds? ›
- Order a new Google Pixel 7 smartphone between 6th October 2022 (15:45 – BST) and 17th October 2022 (23:59 – BST) and claim Google Pixel Buds Pro (colour choice is subject to availability)
- To claim and for full T&Cs, head over to https://promo-rewards.com/2022launch/en-GB and enter the details requested.
To hear the full message, touch and hold your earbud until you hear a chime, then let go. If you don't take action on a notification, your Assistant will play a chime for subsequent messages from the same sender, but it won't read the summaries.How do you control volume on Pixel Buds? ›
- Tap to answer calls, play/pause media.
- Double tap to skip track.
- Triple tap to go to previous track.
- Swipe forward to increase volume.
- Swipe backward to decrease volume.
How do you get Pixel Buds to stay in your ear? ›
Get the right fit
Gently insert your earbud with the stabilizer arc tucking into the ear. After inserting each earbud, slightly rotate it back and forth until it comfortably stays in place when you move your head or tap either earbud.
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- Apple AirPods Pro 2. Even better Apple noise-canceling wireless earbuds. ...
- Beats Fit Pro. ...
- Earfun Air S.
- Best Overall. Beats by Dr. ...
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- Best Budget Earbuds. Soundcore Life P3 Wireless Earbuds. ...
- Best Sound Quality. Sony WF-1000XM4 Wireless Earbuds. ...
- Best Noise Cancellation. ...
- Best for Exercising. ...
- Best for Samsung Galaxy.
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- Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2. Best noise canceling with top-notch sound. ...
- Earfun Air S. Best-sounding budget noise-canceling earbuds. ...
- Apple AirPods Pro 2. ...
- Beyerdynamic Free Byrd.
But don't worry—if a part of your Pixel Buds get lost or damaged, you can get a replacement for your earbuds or eartips.Can you use one pixel bud a at a time? ›
Please try again later. Yes. You can pair both the Pixel Buds Pro, and then use it as a single earbud and enjoy listening to your favorite audio and video files. Just leave the other earbud in the case when not in use.Can I connect my Pixel Buds to my TV? ›
Get your Pixel Buds into pairing mode (Pop open the case, leave the earbuds in the case. Press & Hold the round button on the back of the case until the LED indicator on the case starts flashing WHITE.) 2. Go into your TV's Bluetooth menu, search & select Google Pixel Buds to connect.Is buds or pro better? ›
Our Verdict. The Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Truly Wireless are slightly better in-ears than the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro Truly Wireless. The Buds2 have a more neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer, their noise isolation performance is better, and their mic has a better recording quality.Do Pixel Buds have good bass? ›
Both the Pixel Buds (2020) and A-Series lacked sufficient low-end. The latter had a bass boost option to help matters, but it was an all or nothing setting and it still wasn't great. Neither set of earbuds had presets or a manual EQ either.
Everything you listen to sounds amazing. Active Noise Cancellation adapts to your ear. Active Noise Cancellation adapts to your ear. Small buds built for big music.
Are Pixel Buds comfy? ›
The Google Pixel Buds Pro are decently comfortable. They're lightweight and sit well inside of small ears. However, they have a deep in-ear fit, and you can accidentally trigger controls when placing them in your ears.What can my Pixel Buds do? ›
- Take a call. With Pixel Buds, you can quickly and easily answer and end phone calls while on the go.
- Talk to your Assistant. Call on your Assistant for things like directions, news updates, or food recommendations without missing a step.
- Translate a language. ...
- Listen to media.
All Google Pixel Buds earbuds and some Pixel Buds cases are sweat and water resistant1, helping to protect them from inclement weather and intense workouts. Don't submerge your Pixel Buds or its case in any liquid or hold them under running water, as doing so may damage your device(s).Do the white Pixel Buds a get dirty? ›
The Pixel Buds Pro come in a pebble-like white case, with a lovely alabaster texture. It feels really good to hold in the hand and resists fingerprints well, although they do get dirty pretty quickly.What is the difference between Pixel Buds A-Series and Pixel Buds? ›
But the Buds Pro have more desirable features than the A-Series, including active noise cancellation and Bluetooth multipoint, which lets you connect them to two audio sources at a time (a phone and a laptop, for example). The Buds Pro's case can also charge wirelessly, whereas the A-Series's is USB-C only.