Google Pixel Buds A-Series Review
However, Apple Airpods are the best-selling wireless headphones of all time because they're convenient. They get easily paired iPhone, iPad, or MacBook, and sound fine for most purposes. It's why people still buy them in droves, even if the acoustics, fit, and battery life have been dwarfed by similarly priced competitors. Well, Android owners, you finally have an option that matches Apple's convenience: Google's new Pixel Buds A-Series.
When Google launched its second-gen Pixel Buds in 2020, it created something of a conundrum for buyers of true wireless earbuds. On the one hand, their tiny size, wireless charging, comfortable fit, and excellent integration with Android and Google Assistant made them an attractive choice. But on the other hand, for the price ($179), it felt like Google had left out some important features, like active noise cancellation (ANC), transparency (ambient sound), and the ability to use their standout skills with Apple’s iOS devices. However Google hasn't revealed the Prices of Pixel Buds A-Series. Clearly, Google has some work to do if it wants the Pixel Buds to remain competitive. But in the meantime, the search juggernaut has a new strategy: If you can’t beat ’em, drop your price.
Portable and Small shape
In many ways, Google still sells the A-Series because they are identical to the higher-tier Pixel Buds from 2020. Like the company's Pixel smartphones, the A indicates this model is the affordable option with pared-down features.
They still come in an oval-shaped with matte-white case which feels like standard issue for Storm troopers. Flick open the top hatch and familiar round earbuds come into view, this time in either white or a classy olive green. A tiny G on each earbud lets you know who made them.
It is made in shape of Elephant trunk–like ear fins pop out of the top of each bud to keep them secure in your ears, and as seen some reviewers complaint that they're not easily removable. The earbuds are so small they’re essentially one-size-fits-all, and the ear fins are flexible enough for a uniform fit in any ear.
Technically, the buds are smaller and lighter than the Pixel Buds that came before but only by a few milligrams. They’re lightweight enough to stay comfortable during rigorous movement. In fact, they're some of the most comfortable and stable earbuds have been tested in awhile, easily holding up to long runs, drumming sessions, and various play sessions with my dogs.
Open the case, pull a bud out, and phones running Android version 6.0 and up will recognize the earbuds, instantly download the Pixel Buds app, and pair with them. It’s worth noting that this quick pairing Bluetooth feature for Android has been available on many recent buds from Samsung, among others, and it's always a joy to see it work.
Many owners complained of Bluetooth connectivity issues with the audio cutting out on the previous Pixel Buds, which sometimes occurs due to interference or weak signal, so you'll be happy to hear It didn’t run this problem with the A-Series. You would be able to walk 20 to 30 feet away from your phone.
Touch controls on the outside of each bud work well and do exactly what you expect. Tap for play or pause, double-tap to change songs, tap and hold to activate Google Assistant, and so on. Unfortunately, there's no way to adjust volume without pulling out your phone. Touch buttons usually bugs during workouts because it often triggers to switch songs or pause music mid-run, but that didn't happen anywhere near as often on these IPX4-rated buds. They only accidentally paused my tunes once or twice.
Secure and Comfortable
The Pixel Buds A-Series sit deeply in your ear and stay put thanks to the little rubber stabilizer arcs that were preserved from the original design. The buds would be almost as secure without them, but it sure doesn’t hurt to have them.
The earbuds use a spatial vent to alleviate inner-ear pressure, helping with overall comfort as well as letting some outside sounds get in. For those who jog, bike, or simply walk places where hazards like traffic could pose a danger, it’s a very good thing.
Acoustically, the new A-Series is very similar to its pricier sibling. The 12-mm dynamic drivers inside do well to provide plenty of bass but never feel mushy or fuzzy down low. The sound signature feels very natural. It reminds me of the many great pairs of wired in-ears from Sony, Shure, and others.
They’re relatively flat, with a slight dip in the mids, and aren’t super hyped down low or up high. They’re shockingly detailed for the price. That's a fun experience on any headphones, let alone ones that cost $99. Needless to say, if you’re coming from a crappy pair of wired in-ears, these will almost certainly be a musical upgrade.
Everyone's favorite feature of the A-Series is their hands-free access to Google Assistant. Being able to say “Hey Google,” followed by any number of helpful commands, is fun and really convenient, especially when your hands are occupied.
The least favorite part is that Google still doesn’t support this (or any of the A-Series’ advanced features) on non-Android devices, even if you have the Google Assistant app installed. This carryover from the standard Pixel Buds will adjust your music's volume to match your surroundings.
It’s an even more baffling situation given that the Amazon Echo Buds give you wake-word access to Alexa on both Android and iOS.
Battery life is the only spot that feels like a real letdown. But neither will you find yourself desperately wishing it were better than it is. With five hours per charge in the earbuds and a total of 24 hours when you include the case, It's the same battery life as the AirPods, and Google, that's not the cue you want to follow. The case has enough juice for an additional 19 hours of listening time.
Google claims the A-Series’ beam forming mics deliver clear calls, However, this wasn’t always true. Once again, a quiet environment is your best bet. The moment traffic sounds started to compete with your voice, clarity sometimes ended up being completely obliterated for callers.