On Month later review on Pixel Buds A-Series
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The On Month later review on Pixel Buds A-Series
this month, Google is releasing its third pair of wireless Pixel Buds. They’ve been a pretty badly kept secret. After all the leaks (some from the company itself), you might already know what to expect here: 2020’s Pixel Buds with some features removed and a new, lower price tag.
And these new earbuds are just that. Like the Pixel a phones that inspired their name, the Pixel Buds A-Series take what works from Google’s flagship earbuds, strip some pricier features, and costs much less. If I were to buy a pair of Google earbuds today, they’d be these — and it’s not just because they’re $80 cheaper than last year’s.
The good sound Identical to last year’s. Very good. Comfort Again, same as the 2020 Pixel Buds. Super comfortable. Price: These cost $99 and do almost everything the $179 Pixel Buds from last year do. The Not So Good Static Decreased from last year’s model, but still detectable (at least for some people). No wireless charging I’ve used under $50 earbuds with wireless charging. Design, hardware, what’s in the box
The Pixel Buds A-Series are so physically similar to last year’s Pixel Buds that they each fit comfortably into each other’s cases. The cases don’t really work interchangeably – the charging pins are slightly different – but both the cases and the buttons are almost identical. I loved the way last year’s tops looked, so that’s a win in my book.
The main aesthetic difference is the color: the A-series comes in just two colors, white or green, and the insides of their cases match (unlike the 2020 ones, which came in four colors that all share the same black and white). shared housing).
There are also some less visible differences in hardware. The A Series has only one charging indicator light on the outside of the case. When the case is open, the light reflects the battery level of the earbuds; When closed, it indicates how much juice is left in the case. When the battery level is lower, the light is orange. White means it is almost full. The A series also stops wireless charging, topping up only via USB-C. This is in my opinion the biggest downgrade the A-series has undergone, and in practice it turned out to be a pretty minor one. I have USB-C chargers everywhere.
Overall, the A Series has the same charming, eminently Googly look and feel as last year’s earbuds. They even keep features like in-ear detection, single earbud playback and IPX4 water resistance, which should be enough to prevent sweat from damaging them. By keeping the two pairs side by side, there’s really no way of knowing which one is more expensive — except that the 2020 model is ever that slightly heavier.
In the small box of the A-series you will find the earplugs and the case, the replacement ear tips in a matching color, a USB-A to USB-C cable and the normal literature. sound quality, features, battery life
The Pixel Buds A-Series sound just like the Pixel Buds 2020: they use the same 12-millimeter drivers and have the same “spatial vent” that helps to sell the feeling of a wider soundstage and let in some ambient noise. That’s good news, because last year’s earbuds sound great. Highs are clear, mids are full, and bass is typical of high-end true wireless earbuds (read: pretty good). You still can’t fine-tune the EQ settings, but the A Series benefits from a bass boost option at launch – something the 2020 model had to wait a few months for. There’s still no aptX support, though, if that’s a priority for you.
I’m still bummed about the ventilation. Google says it’s to avoid the stuffy ear feeling that can come with wearing earplugs, but that’s not something that ever bothered me. Still, these things are very comfortable (provided the stabilizing fin doesn’t sting you like some people do), and being able to hear some of your surroundings is useful outdoors or in a work environment where you need to stay informed. But it also means turning up the volume higher than you would otherwise to block out the noise from the coffee shop or gym, which can be annoying to your ears.
The stability of the connection is significantly improved.
My biggest complaint about the 2020 Pixel Buds is a persistent popping and hissing audible in the right earbuds when media is played at low volume, and unfortunately it’s here too. But it’s definitely quieter, and Google insists not everyone can hear it. I don’t know if that’s really true, but either way, the problem is a lot easier to live with at $99 than at $179. Connection stability has also improved significantly: my 2020 Pixel Buds can go outside a bit getting flaky but the A series is fine even with my phone in my back pocket.
Last year’s model has sensors in each button “that can detect speech through the vibrations of your jawbone,” ostensibly helping to cut out background noise when you’re on a call. The A Series doesn’t have those sensors, but they’re still fine for voice calls. People on the other hand — including my AP colleagues who typically have no qualms to be honest — have had no complaints, apart from one caller who said I sounded a little further away than usual.
The A Series supports Fast Pair, which is becoming more common but still appreciated. On Pixel phones, all you have to do is open up the A-series store near you phone, tap to connect and you’re done – Pixel Buds software integration is baked into Google’s phones. Fast Pair also works with non-pixels, but you’ll need to install the Pixel Buds app during setup to adjust the Buds’ more advanced settings.
You can still call up the Google Assistant with a hey Google or by pressing and holding one of the earbuds to speak, a feature I was worried I wouldn’t make the jump from premium to mid-range. That’s undeniably cool, but I wish the volume controls had reached the A-series as well. As it is, you cannot adjust the volume of the earbuds without your zonder phone from.
Battery life is also the same: about five hours of listening on the buttons, plus three or so full charges in the case. That’s certainly competitive with Apple’s AirPods, but there are tons of options around this price point from brands like Samsung and Sony that last longer. Still, it’s hard not to see the absence of a downgrade as a positive in a device that costs just over half of what its predecessor did. Should you buy them? Pixel Buds A-Series 7.5/10 If you want a pair of earbuds from Google, yes. Last year’s Pixel Buds have a few tricks not the A-series, but they aren’t worth paying nearly double for it. These sound just as good, last just as long and cost a lot less. Even if the older Pixel Buds weren’t more expensive (and yes, they aren’t always anymore), I’d still choose the A-Series for its reduced static and improved connection strength.
But unlike Pixel a phones, which can easily be recommended to almost anyone, the Pixel Buds A-Series will never be my go-to recommendation for a less tech friend or family member. They’re good earbuds — I’d even call them Google’s best — but other $100 earbuds have better battery life and block more ambient noise. If those are things you really don’t care about (or if you’re as enamored with Google’s hardware design as I am), go ahead and grab this one. Buy them if:
It’s positive to hear the world around you through your earbuds. Wireless charging and volume control are not worth an extra 80 euros.
Do not buy them if:
You want thorough sound insulation. Vague hiss would still drive you crazy in $99 earbuds.
Wrap up On Month later review on Pixel Buds A-Series
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