In this article, we are review Google Pixel Buds Pro. The fantastic Pixel Buds A-Series, which were released more than a year ago, were Google’s last genuine wireless earbuds before the new Google Buds Pro. With a slightly eye-watering price of $141, The Google Buds Pro cost $70 more than the A-Series earbuds. But for that extra scratch, you get active noise cancellation, longer battery life, wireless charging, and a few extra tasty bonuses.
Read More: Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro Review
Like the Pixel Buds Air-Series, the case of the Pixel Buds Pro is smooth and round, resembling a pebble. It effortlessly slips into any pocket or bag without causing any awkward bulges. The actual Buds Pro themselves also have a smooth and rounded design, which is pleasantly compact. Unlike some of Google’s previous efforts, they don’t protrude conspicuously from your ears, giving a more subtle look. The matte surface of the buds doesn’t get smudgy or greasy either.
The Pixel Buds Pro are available in four different colors: charcoal, fog, lemongrass, and coral. They don’t feature any ear hooks to keep them stable inside your ears, which initially raised concerns about constant slipping and the need for readjustment. However, even when walking at a brisk pace or engaging in light jogging, they stay securely in place. I even put them to the test during a light jog, and they didn’t go flying off into the nearest drain. The key is to ensure you have the right size of silicone tip installed, and with three different sizes included in the bundle, finding the perfect fit shouldn’t be a problem. The Pixel Buds app also offers a fit test to help you confirm the ideal fit.
To further enhance comfort, Google has integrated sensors into the Pixel Buds Pro that can monitor the pressure levels inside your ears. This ensures a comfortable fit for extended periods. Whatever magical technology they’ve employed seems to work well because I can wear these buds for hours without any discomfort. Their secure fit also means I’m not constantly fidgeting with them, contributing to a hassle-free experience. Additionally, these buds are IPX4 water and sweat-resistant, making them suitable for jogging or workouts at the gym. So, no worries there either.
Now, when you first hook up your Pixel Buds Pro to your device, I certainly had no issues with the pairing on any of my Android smartphones that I tried them with. However, I did have some problems with the Pixel Buds Pro app, which prompted me to download it for additional features, settings, and toggles. But that was only for the first 24 hours, and then it magically started working absolutely fine. These were just some early hiccups during the pre-release phase.
The range of extra controls that the app offers, which are pretty standard for true wireless earbuds. You have the ability to customize the controls, tweak the ANC level, and perform the ear tip seal check that I mentioned before. Additionally, there’s a “Find My Device” feature in case you misplace your Pixel Buds Pro. You can easily switch between two different devices by attaching your headphones to them, if you want to keep connected both your laptop and smartphone.
I have to say, the touch controls on these true wireless earbuds are absolutely excellent. A single tap on either bud will pause your music, and another tap will resume it. The Double-tap skip forward and triple-tap for skip back. While multiple taps can sometimes be a bit finicky on other earbuds, the touch controls on the Pixel Buds Pro work flawlessly every single time.
Even better, you can directly change the volume on these earbuds by swiping forward to increase volume and backward to decrease level. It’s slightly different from most true wireless earbuds where you typically swipe up and down.
Additionally, a long press on either bud allows you to switch between the ANC (Active Noise Cancellation) mode and the Transparency mode, which is essentially the opposite of ANC. Transparency mode lets in external sounds like conversations and announcements, allowing you to be aware of your surroundings. The default setup cycles between ANC on, ANC off, and Transparency.
If you want to have a chat with the Google Assistant, there’s no need to poke or press any buttons on the Pixel Buds Pro. Just use the usual voice activation phrase, which I won’t say right now to avoid triggering your smart home gear. Speaking of the Assistant, it can pop up in your ears at any time and alert you to newly arrived notifications on your smartphone, as long as it’s not in hibernation mode. However, this constant interruption might not be ideal when you’re enjoying a podcast, audiobook, or focused on work while on the go. But no worries, if that doesn’t sound appealing to you and you’d rather be left undisturbed, you can easily disable it in the Pixel Buds Pro settings.
Moreover, you have the flexibility to customize the Assistant’s behavior. You can select to just receive alerts for your high-priority notifications, turn it off for other apps, or turn it on for only certain of them. This level of customization allows you to tailor the Assistant’s presence and notifications according to your preferences.
Active Noise Canceling
Now, one of the significant upgrades in the Google Pixel Buds Pro compared to the older A-Series is the inclusion of active noise cancellation (ANC). It is supposedly controlled by a custom Google processor. However, it’s worth noting that it’s not adaptive ANC, meaning it doesn’t dynamically adjust based on your surroundings. At this price point, it’s not give the most effective noise cancelling I’ve encountered in a pair of true wireless earbuds. There is still some leakage of external sounds, albeit in a dampened state. if you’re a traveller, it may not be as ideal as some of the top contenders like Bose.
That being said, the Google Pixel Buds Pro do offer enough noise cancellation to allow you to comfortably listen to an audiobook or podcast while walking down a bustling and noisy high street without needing to crank the volume all the way up. Additionally, there is no noticeable interference from wind, which is a relief. Although it may not be the absolute best in its class, the ANC capabilities of the Pixel Buds Pro do the job adequately for everyday use.
Pixel Buds Pro Audio Quality
So let’s shift our focus to the sound quality of the Google Pixel Buds Pro. They deliver pretty respectable audio performance, pumping sound into your ears. It’s worth noting that the codec support is rather limited. Throughout my testing, I primarily relied on SBC, and while it’s possible that they also support AAC, there’s no LDAC or aptX HD support, which is a bit disappointing considering the price tag of these buds. The bass output was also a little too muted for my tastes, and I didn’t detect any change in its strength or impact as I turned down the level as it was meant to. I did love using the Pixel Buds Pro to listen podcasts, audiobooks, and music. The entire audio range comes through nicely and clearly, without any noticeable issues. The vocals, in particular, are strong, which is excellent news for podcast enthusiasts.
Now, if you’re someone who actually takes calls with their earbuds, you’ll be pleased to know that the beamforming microphones on the Pixel Buds Pro do an excellent job of picking up your voice while effectively reducing background noise. This is especially beneficial when you’re making calls while walking down a busy high street or any noisy environment.
Now, I’ll provide a recording of myself speaking using the Google Pixel Bud microphones. I’m currently in a relatively quiet studio environment, so it should be a breeze for the microphones to capture my voice clearly. However, let’s put them to the test with some simulated high street noises, such as loud and obnoxious traffic sounds, right next to my head. These sounds mimic the bustling atmosphere of a busy street or a dual carriageway. Even in the midst of loud noises, the microphones are still doing a pretty impressive job of picking up my voice.
Pixel Buds Pro Battery life
And finally, let’s talk about the battery life in this Google Pixel Buds Pro review. Google claims that you can get up to seven hours of usage on a single charge before the buds completely deplete. In my testing, I managed to get just under the advertised amount, around six and a half hours, with active noise cancellation turned on. If you disable ANC, you can squeeze out a few extra hours on top of that seven-hour estimate, which is truly impressive. It’s well above average for a pair of true wireless earbuds, even in 2022, and perfect for long journeys, except for those transatlantic extravaganzas.
As for the charging case, it may not have the largest battery capacity, but it can fully recharge the Pixel Buds Pro close to two times before needing to be recharged itself. The good news is that it supports both Type-C charging and wireless charging, which is expected at this premium price point.
That’s my full review of Google Pixel Buds Pro. After using a few days as my true wireless earbuds, I have to say that I truly enjoy them. While the ANC may not be as strong as some rivals, the customization options are great, the touch controls are fantastic, and having dedicated Google Assistant support is a bonus. If you an Android smartphone, and are a fan of Google, I would suggest go for it without hesitation. The battery life is great, and the design is cosy. However, if you’re on a tighter budget and not too concerned about ANC, and battery life isn’t a top priority, you can consider the more affordable Pixel Buds A-Series as well.
It's compact, feels great in the hand and pocket, and I especially love the way it flips open like a lighter. Additionally, the case itself has an IPX2 water resistance rating, which means it can handle a bit of moisture, although not as much as the earbuds.
Active Noise Canceling8