Google has released significant updates to its Pixel Buds Pro 2023, featuring new functionalities like conversation detection and a stylish color matching to the Pixel 8 Pro. Despite the impressive features, these earbuds come at a hefty price of $200. In this Google Pixel Buds Pro (2023) review, i shared my experience after using the Pixel Buds Pro for over a week, aiming to determine whether they are a worthwhile investment in 2023.
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Table of Contents
Pixel Buds Pro 2023 Design and Comfort
The design of the Google Pixel Buds Pro (2023) remains unchanged from the previous pixel buds pro, maintaining a low profile and a soft-touch finish. Although lacking ear hooks, the fit is stable, with various silicon tip options catering to different ear shapes, I have no issues with movement, even during activities like jogging. Comfortable for prolonged wear, the Pixel Buds Pro 2023 prove fatigue-free after several hours of continuous use. Additionally, like most modern true wireless earbuds, they are IPX4 water and sweat resistant.
Pixel Buds Pro 2023 Setup and App Support
For users with Google smartphones like the Pixel 8 or Pixel 8 Pro, Pixel Buds Pro (2023) settings can be accessed within the Bluetooth settings. Alternatively, the Google Pixel Buds app from the Play Store provides all necessary controls, including features like Find My Buds and customizable touch controls. In additions for 2023 include the Health and Wellness section, allowing users to monitor audio volume and exposure over time.
The app also facilitates firmware updates, offers tips and tricks, and allows users to add a widget to their smartphone desktop for quick access to settings. Setting up the Pixel Buds Pro with an Android device is a straightforward process, involving a simple case flip to prompt connection. The Pixel Buds Pro 2023 earbuds can conveniently connect to two devices simultaneously, making it easy to switch between devices.
Google Pixel Buds Pro Controls and Google Assistance
The touch controls on the Pixel Buds Pro receive positive feedback, allowing users to easily resume or pause music with a quick tap. The auto-pause feature activates when either bud is removed, halting audio playback and enabling transparency mode.
Double-tapping a bud efficiently skips tracks, providing sound feedback for confirmation. Swipe gestures control volume adjustments, though occasional accidental volume changes may occur. Long-pressing a bud toggles between noise cancellation and transparency modes or activates Google Assistant. You can also use voice commands to control the device.
In the Pixel Buds Pro settings, touch controls can be deactivated, and some minor customization options are available, with touch and hold functionality customizable for noise cancellation or assistant activation.
In addition to summoning the Google Assistant through voice commands or a long press, the Pixel Buds Pro 2023 can also have the Assistant read out notifications from specific apps. This feature is beneficial for you on the move who might miss important notifications. However, it can be distracting if notifications are frequent, interrupting ongoing activities like listening to a podcast. Fortunately, you have the option to disable this feature if it becomes bothersome.
ANC and Conversation Detection
Regarding active noise cancellation (ANC), there’s a perceived improvement on the Google Pixel Buds Pro 2023 compared to the initial review last year. The ANC effectively reduces ambient noise, even in noisy environments like cafes or areas with loud children, they perform well with traffic and similar sounds. However, like other true wireless earbuds, the Pixel Buds Pro struggle with blocking out loud and high-pitched noises, such as the noise from a beeline, Wind interference is minimal, making them suitable for use on windy days.
A notable feature on the Pixel Buds Pro 2023 is the Conversation Detection feature. When engaged in a conversation, this feature automatically pauses whatever you’re listening to and activates transparency mode. It’s a useful automation, especially in unexpected chat situations. However, the feature can be triggered even by solo conversations or brief expressions.
While it may be frustrating for those who talk to themselves, Conversation Detection includes an Auto Resume feature. If it detects a pause in the conversation for about four or five seconds, it will automatically resume your music or podcast, eliminating any awkward pauses. However, in public settings with ongoing conversations, manual intervention is required to restart your tunes.
Google Pixel Buds Pro 2023: Sound Quality and Mic
Moving on to sound quality, the Google Pixel Buds Pro 2023 feature 11mm drivers and an equalizer in the Bluetooth settings for adjusting bass, trebles, and mids. While the bass is respectable for true wireless earbuds, the overall sound might not be as well-rounded or full-bodied as some other premium rivals in the same price range.
The absence of support for LDAC or aptX HD codecs contributes to this limitation. Despite this, music, audiobooks, and podcasts sound crisp and clear, with vocals shining through. The Pixel Buds Pro introduce spatial audio support with head tracking, functional in supported content such as YouTube. This feature, though niche, may be of interest to some users. The promise of enhanced audio during gaming on supported smartphones like the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro is delivered without complaints, with audio syncing well with visuals.
The Pixel Buds Pro for 2023 excel in handling phone calls, especially with Bluetooth super wideband support for Beamforming microphones. This feature is available for Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro users. The call quality is excellent, benefiting from AI noise cancellation and smart array technology. While effective in managing typical background noise like street sounds, the AI may muffle your voice in exceptionally loud environments, affecting clarity.
Google Pixel Buds Pro 2023 Battery life
Google promises seven hours of playback on the Pixel Buds Pro (2023) before needing a recharge. In practice the battery life is slightly better than advertised, even with active noise cancellation on. You can expect around 7.5 hours of continuous use, which is above average for modern true wireless earbuds, with ANC turned off, users can enjoy an extra couple of hours.
The charging case can fully recharge the buds a couple of times, providing a maximum of around 30 hours of playback with ANC off and approximately 23-24 hours with ANC on. The case supports both USB Type-C and wireless charging, making it convenient for on-the-go power-ups. The design of the case remains compact, rounded, and unchanged from the previous year pixel buds pro.
My Final Thought on Google Pixel Buds Pro 2023
To sum up, the Google Pixel Buds Pro have been improved and updated for 2023, it supports spatial audi, conversation detection, and good anc support, but in the competitive landscape of true wireless earbuds, especially given their $200 price tag, they offer value for users who appreciate Google Assistant features and own a Pixel device.
Fit and Comforts9
Setup and App Support8
Active Noise Cancellation8