Pixel Buds Pro Review: A great rival to AirPods Pro

Since Google launched the primary era of Pixel Buds in 2017, the Pixel line has acquired two iterations, together with the mid-range A-series launched final yr. In July 2022, Google launched Pixel Buds Professional as the most recent addition to the manufacturing line. For $299, I used to be intrigued by what it gives to the patron with this price ticket.

Now that the Pixel provides “Professional” to the title this time round, which naturally raises my expectations. Among the many in-ear gadgets I’ve used, Apple’s AirPods Professional is the one with a superb total efficiency at a barely larger value. Due to this fact, on this evaluate, I’ll use the AirPods Professional as a benchmark to check the points of comfortability, ANC efficiency, sound high quality, and so on. It’s price noting that the latter has a full $100 larger MSRP.

Let’s begin with the tech specs

Pixel Buds Professional has three colors accessible to select from – Fog, Charcoal and Lemongrass. Every earbud weighs 6.2 grams (with medium ear tip) and 50 grams for the charging case. The case will be charged by way of a USB-C port, and sure, Pixel Buds Professional helps Qi-certified wi-fi charging. A 5-minute fast cost delivers as much as an hour of listening time (with ANC on). Lively Noise Cancellation will be switched between ‘Noise Cancellation’ and ‘Transparency’. The previous is simply self-explanatory, and the latter would amplify the ambient noise so you’ll be able to hear the world round you. The earbuds can be utilized constantly for as much as 11 hours with out ANC or as much as 7 hours with ANC with a completely charged battery. These are IPX4-rated for resistance to water splashes from any course, and so they can pair with Android, iOS and any working system that has Bluetooth 4.0+ enabled.

Consolation and match

At first, I used to be just a little apprehensive about how effectively it would slot in the ear. I’ve tried many various in-ears prior to now, a lot of which undertake an analogous design to the Pixel Buds Professional. I’m reluctant to say this, nevertheless it’s laborious to search out any in-ears I’ve worn up to now that present the identical degree of consolation because the AirPods Professional.

To my shock, the most recent iteration of the Pixel Buds shatters my previous beliefs about this sort of design. Once I tried to put on it with an unsure mentality, this pair of earbuds went easily with out the sensation of falling out as in the event that they weren’t plugged in tightly. Perhaps it’s my luck that the factory-equipped ear suggestions match my ears excellent. In case you really feel uncomfortable sporting it for the primary time, strive altering eartips of various sizes for the very best match on your ears.

To search out out if extended put on would negatively have an effect on consolation, I used it continuous for over 7 hours on a leisurely weekend, and I hardly felt any discomfort from the earbuds. Normally, I’d begin to really feel a bit of wounding after sporting the earbuds for two hours on these in-ears with an analogous ‘bud-shaped’ design; nonetheless, I didn’t expertise this discomfort with Pixel Buds Professional.

Microphones

Google places a lot effort such because the adoption of beamforming, three microphones on every earbud, a voice accelerometer, and wind-blocking mesh, to deliver us an insane outcome for name high quality. Once I say ‘insane’, I imply it. To check the mics, I made a cellphone name to a pal who was 20 metres away from me; we each had been outdoor and it was very windy. I requested the mate to make use of the Pixel Buds Professional and I used to be on the cellphone’s built-in mic through the name. He may hear the sturdy wind within the background and needed to focus through the dialog, whereas I felt precisely the alternative – his voice was clear, and I solely heard just a little breeze. That is the very best outcome among the many Bluetooth earphones I’ve ever examined.

Sound high quality

They might not seem like an awesome choice for audiophiles, however the earbuds carry out rather well for on a regular basis music listening. Pixel Buds Professional delivers fairly a formidable bass and treble. Nonetheless, I didn’t discover the mid to be terrific. In fact, we’re speaking concerning the sound profile out-of-box. You’ll be able to at all times tweak the EQ and make it sound extra tailored to your style when listening to music. Sadly, these earbuds solely help SBC and AAC codecs. Though there isn’t a massive distinction between AAC and aptX by way of sound high quality, the efficiency of aptX in latency is often extra passable than that of AAC. For me, the variety of codecs supported isn’t going to be a deciding consider shopping for, however including help for aptX or aptX HD is just not an excessive amount of of a requirement for a pair of earbuds that prices $299, I suppose?

Lively noise cancellation

On public transport, after I activate lively noise cancellation and regulate the quantity to between 50-60%, I may barely hear the noise from the skin. In my view, this noise discount is great. For headphones, the largest benefit of noise cancellation is that with this characteristic, customers don’t want to show up the quantity when listening to music in a loud setting, which is taken into account to be good safety for ears. And on this regard, the Pixel Buds Professional has accomplished its job fairly effectively.

By way of ANC efficiency alone (no music enjoying), the Pixel Buds Professional and AirPods Professional carried out so intently that it was nearly unimaginable to inform which one is best. If I needed to quantify the distinction, I’d say 8 out of 10 for the AirPods Professional and seven.5 out of 10 for the Pixel Buds Professional. Each earphones discover an excellent steadiness between consolation and noise cancellation.

Controls and Software program

In comparison with the AirPods Professional, the Pixel Buds Professional gives extra choices by way of management, reminiscent of quantity adjustment with out going by way of your cellphone or voice assistant. That is really one among my favorite options on the Buds Professional, and the quantity adjustment is so responsive that I barely discover any lag. When you might want to enhance quantity, simply swipe your finger from again to entrance on the Buds Professional, and do the identical in the wrong way to decrease the quantity. This may be achieved with both left or proper earbud, whichever you want.

To get essentially the most out of Pixel Buds Professional, you will have an Android cell to make use of the companion app named ‘Pixel Buds’, which will be downloaded from the Google Play Retailer. That is the one strategy to customise the contact & maintain behaviour primarily based in your preferences. The Pixel Buds app supplies a spread of capabilities to make sure an entire consumer expertise for the product. As an example, the earbuds’ firmware will get up to date by way of the app; you may also use the app to test the eartip seal and discover the very best match on your ears. There’s a perform known as ‘Quantity EQ’, however don’t get confused with the equaliser that we use to alter sound profiles.

As an alternative, what it does is improve the efficiency of bass and treble at low quantity ranges. It does make a noticeable distinction when turned on, however I saved it off more often than not because it doesn’t match my listening behavior and consumes extra energy.

Multipoint

Pixel Buds Professional helps multipoint and auto switching. Multipoint lets the earbuds hold related to 2 audio sources on the identical time, whereas audio switching works with supported sources which are related to the identical Google account. Though it’s not obligatory, turning on each capabilities would make switching barely sooner in line with Google. You will have to manually pause no matter is enjoying on one machine earlier than it switches over to a different except it’s an incoming cellphone name that has the best precedence within the system. Nonetheless, if the switch-over is triggered by chance and also you need it to attach again to the earlier machine, on Android there shall be a notification banner that provides you the choice to take action. The usefulness of multipoint varies on the kind of machine it connects to. I tried to share Pixel Buds Professional between OPPO Discover X2 Professional (smartphone with Android 12) and Nintendo Swap (non-smartphone). The earbuds didn’t connect with the Nintendo Swap routinely after pausing the music on my smartphone, and I needed to manually join the Pixel Buds Professional within the settings on this handheld gaming console. Switching from the gaming console to the smartphone is comparatively simpler. Turning off the gaming console’s display screen units the earbuds to an idle state and is immediately picked up by the smartphone.

Battery life and charging

The Pixel Buds Professional has an incredible efficiency on battery life. Google advertises 11 hours of enjoying time with out ANC and seven hours of enjoying time with ANC. I saved the lively noise cancellation on on a regular basis through the use, and the batteries depleted after 6 hours and 37mins of steady listening time after a full cost. Compared, I used to be by no means in a position to get it previous 4 hours when utilizing the AirPods Professional with ANC on. In my testing, the case battery dropped from 100% to 41% after totally charging the earbuds. I’m not too certain how the measuring situation was arrange within the lab, nevertheless it doesn’t appear to have the ability to last as long as 20 hours of complete listening time with the charging case in my use case state of affairs. Nonetheless, this doesn’t actually trouble me in any respect. It’s going to be very uncommon for me to make use of up all of the batteries within the charging case if it’s not for evaluate functions.

Must you purchase the Pixel Buds Professional?

Among the many earbuds that I’ve used up to now, Pixel Buds Professional is likely one of the few that does effectively in nearly all points, together with sound high quality, mic efficiency, lively noise cancelling and battery life. Most often, you will get a superb ANC from one pair of earbuds and completely different earbuds for respectable battery life, or clear communication, it’s at all times one or one other. From this angle, this newest addition from Google covers them very effectively, I’ll name it an all-rounder.

It could not at all times be true however “You get what you pay for” really does apply to Pixel Buds Professional. $299 is just not an affordable value for a pair of earphones, however what I’ve skilled with the Buds Professional makes me assume it’s well worth the cash.

In case you use an Android cellphone and care concerning the name high quality, ANC, and battery lifetime of earphones, congratulations, the Pixel Buds Professional is just about only for you. After two weeks of expertise, I’m impressed by the superb high quality of voice calls and the prolonged battery life. By using the Pixel Buds app, it is possible for you to to discover the whole lot Google has put into the product. Nonetheless, for iPhone customers, staying in Apple’s ecosystem could also be a greater thought for the reason that Buds Professional doesn’t routinely change between iOS gadgets as AirPods would do. As well as, you will have an Android cellphone to make use of the app for firmware updates and customisation when you resolve to strive the Pixel Buds Professional as an iOS consumer.

Execs

  • Snug to put on
  • Multipoint and auto switching
  • Glorious microphones
  • Beautiful battery life

 

Cons

  • SBC and AAC codecs solely, no aptX
  • Water-proof solely IPX2 for the case
  • App solely accessible on Android telephones
  • Lacking characteristic ‘Consideration Alerts’

Disclosure Assertion

Resulting from hygiene, the unit is just not being requested for return.

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