I used to be very impressed with the Pixel Buds (2020) — Google’s second wi-fi earbud effort — after they launched final 12 months.
At the time, they had been essentially the most comfy earbuds I’d ever used, which I at all times worth over sound high quality in the case of wi-fi earbuds (I now discover the Galaxy Buds Live to be essentially the most comfy wi-fi buds). While the Pixel Buds (2020) additionally function nice sound, they lack bass, even with ‘Bass Boost’ turned on.
Thankfully, I didn’t encounter the rampant disconnection points many individuals report experiencing with the Pixel Buds (2020), regardless of utilizing them with a Pixel 4, Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and a MacE-book Pro. Still, a fast Google search reveals this stays an enormous downside for lots of people.
This is the place Google’s often-rumoured Pixel Buds A-Series earbuds are available in. A mid-cycle do-over of kinds, the Pixel Buds A-Series are positioned by Google as a lower-cost different to the Pixel Buds (2020) much like its Pixel A smartphones, coming in at simply $139. This undercuts practically each different pair of notable wi-fi earbuds on the market, together with Apple’s AirPods ($219) and Samsung’s Galaxy Buds+ ($169).
The principal query surrounding the Pixel Buds A-Series is what the wi-fi earbuds sacrifice so as to hit that cheaper price level. The reply is, surprisingly, not loads.
To begin, the Pixel Buds A-Series are simply as comfy as their dearer counterpart. They include three different-sized earbud suggestions — ‘small,’ ‘medium,’ and ‘large’ — and the identical stabilizer arc that tucks beneath your ear to maintain the buds in place. They even function the equalizing spatial vents that assist mitigate the plugged-ear, underwater feeling some in-ear earbuds endure from.
The buds themselves look similar to their dearer counterpart save for the truth that they function shiny plastic as a substitute of a brushed look, and solely are available in ‘Clearly White’ and a brand new inexperienced ‘Dark Olive.’ The case options USB-C charging and lacks Qi wi-fi charging just like the Pixel Buds (2020), and this time, additionally consists of shiny plastic on the within. It’s probably the case’s shiny inside plastic might be simpler to scratch, however given these are wi-fi earbuds, that’s not likely a big concern.
Both the Pixel Buds Series-A and their case solely function two magnetic charging attachments as a substitute of three like with the Pixel Buds (2020), however I didn’t discover they had been any much less safe of their case. Further, there’s just one standing indicator mild on the skin of the Pixel Buds A-Series.
They additionally nonetheless function ‘Adaptive Sound,’ which routinely adjusts the earbuds’ quantity based mostly on the noise degree of your surroundings. This isn’t a substitution for actual lively noise-cancelling (ANC), nevertheless it undoubtedly helps block undesirable noise. Hopefully, Google finally releases a pair of ‘Pixel Buds 3’ wi-fi earbuds that add actual ANC.
“Despite featuring the same 12mm speaker drivers as the Pixel Buds (2020) on paper, their sound quality doesn’t quite match last year’s Pixel Buds”
The Pixel Buds Series-A even nonetheless function a number of gestures regardless of rumours indicating Google deliberate to ditch this management technique totally to maintain the price down. A easy faucet pauses and performs music, a double-tap skips tracks and a triple faucet goes to the earlier tune. However, swipe gesture controls for quantity have been eliminated. In-ear detection returns as properly so long as you’re utilizing the buds with an Android 6 and above gadget.
As a results of this shortcoming, whereas the Buds A-Series are nice for many Android gadgets, you could be higher off with one other pair of earbuds when you plan to make use of them with an iPhone, Mac or PC. This additionally extends to the Buds A’s Fast Pair options which might be solely obtainable on Android 6 and above gadgets. Still, connecting them to a non-Android gadget isn’t a chore and solely requires you to carry down the button on the skin of the case for just a few seconds.
Call high quality sounds comparatively on par with the Pixel Buds (2020) and although it’s satisfactory, audio can nonetheless get muffled at occasions, particularly when you’re outdoors and it’s windy.
Finally, they nonetheless function IPX4 water and sweat resistance, embody Bluetooth 5.0, function Google Assistant voice command compatibility, and measure in with roughly 5 hours of battery life, similar to the Pixel Buds (2020).
What about sound high quality?
With all that in thoughts, the one notable distinction with the Pixel Buds A-Series is the standard of their sound.
The Pixel Buds A-Series sound higher than I anticipated, providing a comparatively broad sound stage. That mentioned, they function practically no bass and decrease sounds are likely to get muffled collectively, leading to very hole audio. This is improved by turning on Bass enhance, however the distinction isn’t dramatic. In phrases of high quality, I’d evaluate them to the usual, low-end earbuds that include most smartphones, and even Apple’s lacklustre AirPods.
This implies that regardless of that includes the identical 12mm speaker drivers because the Pixel Buds (2020) on paper, their sound high quality doesn’t fairly match final 12 months’s Pixel Buds, Samsung’s Galaxy Buds+ and even Apple’s AirPods. It’s unclear what the reason for the sound high quality downgrade is, however I instantly famous that the audio simply isn’t fairly as full.
Still, given their $139 price ticket, that is to be anticipated. In reality, you could possibly make the argument that almost all wi-fi earbuds don’t actually sound that nice to start with given their inherent, in-ear design. If you actually care about audio high quality, over-ear headphones are what you’re after. With the Pixel Buds Series-A, Google has launched a stable, cost-effective different to most wi-fi earbuds at present on the market.
The Pixel Buds A-Series are set to launch on June seventeenth for $139. However, when you’re itching to get some Pixel Bud motion earlier than then, Best Buy Canada has the Pixel Buds (2020) on sale for $169.99 till June seventeenth.