Pixel Buds Review

pixel buds review

Google Pixel Buds ASeries: You Agree To Keep Going

Smart devices require that you accept certain terms and condition before you can use them. This is a list no one ever reads. Unfortunately, we are not able to go through and review every agreement. However, when we reviewed these agreements we noticed that many people didn’t know how to agree to the use of devices.

Google’s Pixel Buds A-Series allows you to pair with and hear each other without having to accept anything. The Pixel Buds application requires you to agree to certain terms.

Google Privacy Policy Google Device Arbitration agreement

For US customers, Google Assistant collects information “such as the device contacts and activity on Google apps. This data is used to improve, more useful answers via 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.

I already mentioned the loss of wireless charging, but other sacrifices that Google made to hit the $99 price aren’t as obvious. There are no swipe forward/back gestures available to change the volume on Pixel Buds. Track controls can now be controlled by tapping. A-Series earbuds have also dropped the “experimental” attention alerts feature, which could be used to identify specific sounds, such as baby crying, barks, sirens, and dog barks. And the LED that was on the inside of the Pixel Buds case (to indicate charge status of the buds) is also history. Google made these decisions logically, while also preserving other crucial vitals such as IPX4 waterproof and sweat resistance. The A-Series Pixel Buds still have a strong presence for voice calls. They feature dual beamforming microphones which do an excellent job at picking out your voice from noisy surroundings and maintaining clarity while on phone calls or conference calls. Google Assistant also heard voice commands clearly.

The “adaptive sound” feature, which automatically adjusts volume based on your surroundings, is also carried over from the 2020 Pixel Buds. While it does work well, it only activates when you experience sustained noise fluctuations as your location changes. Personally, however I prefer to regulate volume by myself and not let the algorithms. The Pixel Buds A-Series still support Android’s Fast Pair feature for quick setup. On Pixel smartphones, the companion app is built in, but you can also grab it from the Play Store on other Android phones. 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. No such app exists for iOS, however.

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. However, the Pixel Buds A-Series didn’t completely eliminate the problem that had dragged down older models. Additionally, some will not like the noise level your music competes against. Even with the things Google didn’t mention, you get a superior product overall for less.

pixel buds review

Google Pixel Buds 2020: I Agree to Continue

All smart devices now require you to accept a set of terms before you are able to use them. Unfortunately, we are not able to go through and review every agreement. However, when we reviewed these agreements we counted how many times it took to “agree” to use them. These are agreements that few people understand or could negotiate.

Google Pixel Buds can be paired and listened to without you having to consent to any terms. There are a few mandatory terms and conditions to installing Pixel Buds.

Google Privacy Policy Google Device Arbitration agreement

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For US customers, Google Assistant collects information “such as the device contacts and activity on Google apps. This data is used to improve, more useful answers via 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.

The Pixel Buds suffer worse connection stability issues than many competing earbuds.

Photo by Becca Farsace/The Verge While the Pixel Buds cannot connect to multiple devices like Jabra’s 75t simultaneously, it is very fast when switching between those you have already paired. You can pause music by taking one of the earbuds off. I didn’t notice any problems with the voice sync while watching video on my smartphone. As for phone (or Zoom) calls, the Pixel Buds have beamforming mics and an accelerometer to detect jaw movement (and thus speech), and this does a good job of making you sound clear to people on the other end without letting in unrelated noise. 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. When you call “Hey Google”, Assistant will chime. You can request the weather or a playlist. Or you can tell Assistant how to control your smart-home gadgets. Having the ability to do this while your hands are occupied is a nice perk. Fast Pair on Android also supports the Pixel Buds. It mimics AirPod owner’s seamless setup on their iPhone. You hold the Pixel Buds near your phone, a screen pops up to pair with them (and link them to your Google account), and you’re done. If you open the case near your device, you can view the battery status for both the case and earbuds.

pixel buds review

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Beats Fit Pro review

The Beats Fit Pro is another headset in Beats’ stable of Android and iPhone-friendly earphones. The buds have quirky wing tips that can make it difficult to get them in the right place. But Beats prevents this by providing an easy eartip fit test. The earbuds have other top features such as active noise cancelling, onboard controls and automatic detection. This Beats earbuds have a unique shape that is sure to please.

Who is the Beats Fit Pro for?

Fit Pro is a compact option for iPhone users looking to wear earbuds while working out.

Android users who also want a pair of great workout earbuds will get nearly as much out of the Beats Fit Pro as iPhone owners.

pixel buds review

Audio Experience

… a couple of steps down but much the same

I’ll say without question that the audio experience after some extensive burn-in is fairly good but it’s not quite as full-bodied as the 2020 Pixel Buds. Our own Ben Schoon pointed out in his first review that there was something missing in the Pixel Buds A-Series sound quality.

That’s not an indictment of the sound quality per se as the A-Series offer solid audio given their proposed price point. Bass response is very good, and even with Bass Boost enabled the profile seems fairly neutral. Not having ANC is not too much of an issue in my experience as the shape and size mean a good seal blocks out tons of background noise. The passive isolation keeps out low rumbles but is very strong.

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It’s not known if other users have noticed a reduction in the sound and tone of the activation sounds and tones compared to the original Buds. Tapping to play, pause, or skip audio is easier and feels better than tapping directly into your ears when using the touchpad control and activating Google Assistant.

This is where I start to have issues with touch controls and earbuds in particular. Tapping and interfacing with something directly in your ear can cause pain and discomfort. Each tap can even be almost deafening. The ace up the sleeve of the Pixel Buds A-series – as with last year’s Pixel Buds – is that direct and excellent integration with the Google Assistant.

It’s great not to have to tap on the volume knob or skip tracks. Having all the Assistant features added is the cherry on top. You probably knew that already, but it’s still a killer feature that elevates the Pixel Buds A-series above and beyond even some more expensive earbuds – so long as you like using voice commands and don’t necessarily prioritize the best sound profile. Maybe one day we’ll get both, but for now, the trade-off is fairly valid.

The volume swipe, contrary to what I think is true, is the most significant loss. It’s my favorite gesture interaction and is so easy to use on the Pixel Buds. If you’re using voice commands for this task, the time it takes can be 10-15 seconds. Other times it will take you several minutes to find your phone.

pixel buds review

Google Pixel Buds A series: Sound Quality & Features

Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central

Google made no compromises on quality even though the A-Series was $100 more expensive than the other models. Although the sounds signatures of the Pixel Buds cost more, I was able to confirm that the company uses the same 12-mm drivers. This is a great thing. Other reviewers also said it, but I won’t be so bold as to call the headphones “hollow”, like some other sources.

Pixel Buds A-Series feature a neutral sound signature. The A-Series doesn’t stress bass. This could be confusing or monotonous depending on source material. The A-Series’ default equalization doesn’t make them too fatigue-inducing. They also come with the “Bass Boost” feature, which eventually became available to all regular Pixel Buds. That little low-end bump does wonders for hip-hop and house music, though I wouldn’t necessarily recommend these if your primary concern is big, thumpy electronic tracks.

Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central

Google has removed one of its Pixel Buds sensors in order to save some money. There is also one less microphone. This means that you will lose the attention alerts. These are traditional transparent modes on the Pixel Buds. Attention Alerts were not very useful for me, but they do have a limited use to help with “baby crying”, dog barking and emergency vehicle siren,” as per 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.

Although the A-Series doesn’t lose any capabilities, it does remove the sensor. Auto-play/pause is still available when one Bud has been removed. And the always-on Google Assistant remains one of my favorite Buds features. It’s the only method to change volume and not use your phone. You can’t disable Google Assistant from receiving incoming notifications. However, you will be stuck with the volume being reduced slightly whenever a coworker message you via Slack. This is not optimal.

pixel buds review


Adaptive Sound: This is still a work in progress

Battery life

No audio customization

This new set of Pixel Buds has a first-of-its kind feature: it is wireless. While the earbuds still retain their original circular shape, they are now much smaller. Chris Velazco (our reviewer of the first model) pointed out that only half of the bud was visible in your ear. They are now smaller so the tip that enters your ear canal doesn’t reach as far. These are also more comfortable and provide better noise isolation.

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Google has replaced the original cord hoop that was on the top of its first Pixels Buds by a traditional fin. You’ll see it on most earbuds (wired and wireless). It’s made from rubber which is rigid and keeps the Pixel Buds in place. Even during my cardio work outs, I never felt like they would fall off. Since the new Pixel Buds are IPX4 rated, they’ll easily stand up to sweat if you want to take them on a run or some other physical activity.

The compact size of the Pixel Buds makes them comfy to wear for long periods of time. It is a great idea to have something in your ears. However, it’s important that the Pixel Buds are small and light. I was able to wear these for hours and I never felt like they were more taxing than they should be. They’re small and light, much like Jabra’s Elite 75t Samsung’s Galaxy Buds+ — two other sets of earbuds that are easier to wear for hours than a lot of the competition.

pixel buds review

This isn’t for everyone

No more than 150 dollars for an earbud pair

If you need active noise cancellation

If you need extra-long battery life from the earbuds

At the time of their launch in April, I gave them an excellent score. However, they have been greatly improved by a recent firmware update. I’m glad that the two main issues at launch have been addressed, because it lets me continue to recommend the Pixel Buds with one less caveat. These wireless earbuds are amazing.

The price of a pair true wireless earbuds at $180 is not an affordable deal, even though there are many great alternatives for much 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, and ears. You will find the small details like an auto-adjusting volume, excellent touch controls and clear spoken notifications very useful. This is a costly pair of headphones, but it’s well worth it.

Google Pixel Buds: Are they worth it?

The new Google Pixel Buds are a legit option for just about anyone, and if you use the Google Assistant or just want something that’s well-made (and not the AirPods) then these are a good choice. … There are many wireless headphones to pick from but Android users now have an alternative: the AirPods. July 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. It lacks active noise cancellation, so it is $50 less than the AirPods Pro. August 26, 2021

Is Pixel Buds A Comfortable Series?

Google Pixel Buds A-Series are lightweight and comfy, making them easy to wear over long periods of time. Sep 14, 2021

Does Running Cause Pixel Buds to Fall Out?

There’s also a unique audio feature called adaptive sound, which increases or decreases the volume based on your surroundings. You can also adjust your music volume to drown out the noise if your ears are adjusting to an environment such as a traffic jam. July 21, 2021

.Pixel Buds Review

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