- Source: Google
Google Pixel Buds ProOur top choice
Featuring ANC, excellent audio, and a fantastic transparency mode, the Google Pixel Buds Pro are great earbuds. If you're looking for buds with a comfortable fit and long battery life, these may be worth the higher price tag.Pros
- Excellent, dynamic sound profile
- Decent ANC
- Impressive battery life
- Weak transparency mode
- Mediocre microphone
- Source: Google
Google Pixel Buds A-SeriesUnbeatable value
The Pixel Buds A-Series are Google's midrange true wireless earbuds. They don't have high-end features like ANC or multipoint connectivity, but for $99, they offer good audio quality and a comfortable fit. They also have a unique vented design that mitigates in-ear pressure.Pros
- Great sound quality for the price
- Awesome gesture controls
- Comfortable and stylish
- Lacks ANC
- Mediocre transparency mode
- No wireless charging
The Pixel Buds Pro are Google's fourth pair of wireless earbuds. The Pro buds are being offered alongside, rather than in place of, Google's third-gen wireless earbuds, the Pixel Buds A-Series. Compared to the $200 Buds Pro, the A-Series are a solid, less-expensive earbud option at just $99. If you couldn't guess from that price gulf, they're very different products — both are great wireless earbuds, but not necessarily for the same people or purposes. Interested in grabbing a pair but stuck trying to decide between the two? We've got you covered.
Price, specs, and availability
If you're looking to pick up either pair, they are not hard to come by. The Pixel Buds Pro are available for $200 on Amazon, Best Buy, or through the Google Store directly. But you can often find them frequently on sale for less if you play your cards right. The Pixel Buds A-Series come in at a much lower price of $99 at the same retailers.
Google Pixel Buds Pro Google Pixel Buds A-Series Battery Life ANC on: 7 hours, ANC off: 11 hours 5 hours (24 with case) Noise Cancellation Yes No Mono Listening Yes Yes IP rating IPX4 (buds), IPX2 (case) IPX4 Supported codecs AAC, SBC AAC, SBC Dimensions (earbuds) 23.72 X 22.03 X 22.33 mm 20.7 x 29.3 x 17.5 mm Charging USB-C, wireless USB-C Driver size 11mm 12 mm Price $200 $99
Hardware and battery
The Pixel Buds Pro share an unmistakable resemblance to the Pixel Buds A-Series — they're both very Google, with no sharp angles and playful details like the debossed G logo on each earbud. But the Pixel Buds Pro are significantly larger than the lightweight A-Series. In our experience, the Pixel Buds Pro fit comfortably, but they will stick out of your ears a little farther than the A-Series.
While the Pixel Buds A-Series have what Google calls a spatial vent to help relieve in-ear pressure and let some external sound into your ears, the Pixel Buds Pro ditched that feature for a more closed design. Instead, the Buds Pro have a transparency mode that uses mics on the earbuds to pipe sound from your environment into your ears alongside your media. (Google also says that the Pixel Buds Pro monitors the pressure in your ears to keep them comfortable, but Google hasn't elaborated on how that process works.) The Pixel Buds Pro also ditched the stabilizing fin that the Pixel Buds A-Series have, so the Buds Pro might fit less securely in some ears.
As one of the more budget-friendly earbuds, the Pixel Buds A-Series come in just two colors: Dark Olive and Clearly White. The Pixel Buds Pro come in Charcoal, Fog, Lemongrass, and Coral.
Battery life on the Pixel Buds A-Series of a sore spot, quoted at just five hours of playback at a time — and remember, those earbuds don't have active noise cancellation. Pixel Buds Pro are an enormous improvement on that front, with a quoted battery life of seven hours on a single charge with ANC and up to 11 hours without ANC. In addition, both pairs of buds can get about two additional charges from their cases. Both cases charge with USB-C, but only the Pixel Buds Pro's case supports wireless charging.
Audio and features
At $99, the Pixel Buds A-Series punch above their weight in audio quality, with clear and full sound and more bass than you'd expect given their slim design. The $200 Pixel Buds Pro also sound very good, but the overall quality isn't much better than the Pixel Buds A-Series. Both pairs support the AAC and SBC codecs but not higher bitrate standards like aptX or LDAC. That shouldn't matter if you mostly stream audio through Spotify or YouTube Music, but if you're in the market for audiophile-grade sound, neither of these buds fit that bill.
There have been reports of shoddy Bluetooth connectivity in the Pixel Buds A-Series, including audio skips, static, and outright disconnects. We also experienced some of this with our review unit. Connectivity, in our experience, is generally okay, but it might get dicey if you're listening outside with your phone in a bag or back pocket. Google says not everyone will be able to hear the static, but if you can, it's not always easy to ignore. The Pixel Buds Pro don't have any of these issues.
Aside from improved fundamentals like battery life and connectivity, the Pixel Buds Pro's big draw is their feature set. Both the A-Series and the Pro support Fast Pair on Android, and both have optional always-on "Hey Google" listening for hands-free Assistant access. 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.
Which should you buy?
Pixel Buds A-Series cost $99, and the Pixel Buds Pro go for twice as much at $200. Audio quality alone doesn't justify the price jump; if you only need a pair of decent-sounding earbuds and don't care much about the bells and whistles, the A-Series might be right for you.
Google Pixel Buds Pro
A fantastic pair of true wireless earbuds
If you can afford them, the Pixel Buds Pro are the complete package. Featuring ANC, great audio, and a fantastic transparency mode, you can get them in a few fun colors. If you're willing to spend a bit more, they are a great option.
But the Pixel Buds A-Series, thanks to their unique vented hardware, are less universally useful than more conventional true wireless earbuds. The spatial vent design might be good for ear comfort and situational awareness, but it means you'll get external sound leaking in all the time, rather than just when you want it to. And since the A-Series don't have ANC, your only option to drown out more of your surroundings is to crank the volume.
If you want earbuds specifically to wear in noisy environments, consider the Pixel Buds Pro. Not only do they have ANC and an excellent transparency mode to flip between, but their markedly better battery life, premium features like Bluetooth multipoint, and more stable connectivity really help justify their price.
Google Pixel Buds A-Series
One of the best value 'buds you can buy
The Pixel Buds A-Series are a good mid-range option if you're not looking for all the bells and whistles. Lightweight, comfortable, and affordable, they are a good pick if you want to save a little.