Google has achieved the form and function of its new Pixel Buds at an affordable price.
The new A-series headphones are just $ 159, much cheaper than Apple’s basic AirPods ($ 249) or Samsung’s Galaxy Buds ($ 219), and yet they might be the most comfortable.
Like all in-ear headphones, you should spend a few minutes trying out the different sized rubber tips to find your best fit. Mine is usually the smallest size and once I installed them, the Pixel Buds A-Series fit so well that it was easy to forget I had them.
Helping this is a permanent “arm” that helps stabilize the buds within the ridges of the ear.
Sure, this damages buds aesthetically, but the added safety means you never have to worry about dropping a bud in the middle of an intense workout. Note that if you are using a tip that is too large for your ear, this arm may be uncomfortable.
Function is where the Pixel Buds A-Series really shine.
You can tap, double tap, or triple tap the headset to play and pause, skip tracks, or answer calls; all of which are customizable.
However, things take another level by unlocking the Google Assistant.
With a simple “Hello Google,” you can ask the buttons to turn the volume up and down, read specific notifications, and make calls as you would expect in 2021.
What I didn’t expect to deliver was the promise of real-time translation. How wrong I was.
My fiance and I are desperately trying to learn to speak Italian. Now, we can put the A-series Pixel Buds in and say “Ok Google, help me speak Italian.” From that moment on, everything we say in English is spoken back to our ears in Italian and vice versa.
Take this to another level and share the sprouts with someone who doesn’t speak English and you can imagine the possibilities. It’s really remarkable, but it requires a newer Android phone and an internet connection to work.
Artificial intelligence is the cornerstone of Google’s range of smartphones and the same applies to the A-series of Pixel Buds.
Adaptive sound raises or lowers the volume based on your surroundings, while a pair of “beam-forming” microphones reduce noise to focus your voice for clearer calls, but how do they stack up from a hardware standpoint? ?
For those planning to run in the rain, the A-Series Pixel Buds are resistant to water and sweat, but don’t submerge them in a pool.
As for how they sound, the Pixel Buds A-Series sound incredibly similar to Samsung’s more expensive Galaxy Buds. To my ears, the bass sounds a bit more powerful on the Pixel Buds, but in terms of clarity, they are on par.
Of course, like all headphones, they lack the same color and power as the larger headphones, but you bring it back with infinitely more practical portability.
What the Pixel Buds A-series lacks compared to Samsung’s Galaxy Buds is wireless charging. You will need a USB-C cable to charge the case, and in turn, the Pixel Buds themselves. It’s not a deal breaker, but it’s inconvenient for those who have a charging pad configured to specifically avoid cables.
In better news, you won’t have to charge the new Pixel Buds very often. The A-series buttons can play five hours of music on a single charge and last up to 24 hours when recharged in the case. They recharge from 0 to 100 in about an hour and being plugged in for 15 minutes gives you enough for three hours of listening time according to Google.
At $ 159, the Pixel Buds A-Series are very easy to recommend.