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Pixel Buds A vs. Pixel Buds 2: Every spec compared

We compare Google's Pixel Buds wireless headphones to see how they stack up.

Alison DeNisco Rayome Managing Editor
Managing Editor Alison DeNisco Rayome joined CNET in 2019, and is a member of the Home team. She is a co-lead of the CNET Tips and We Do the Math series, and manages the Home Tips series, testing out new hacks for cooking, cleaning and tinkering with all of the gadgets and appliances in your house. Alison was previously an editor at TechRepublic.
Expertise Home Tips, including cooking, cleaning and appliances hacks Credentials
  • National Silver Azbee Award for Impact/Investigative Journalism; National Gold Azbee Award for Online Single Topic Coverage by a Team; National Bronze Azbee Award for Web Feature Series
Alison DeNisco Rayome

The Pixel Buds 2 (left) have a metal nozzle, an extra sensor and three charging pins instead of two, compared to Pixel Buds A (right). 

David Carnoy/CNET

It's a battle of the buds: Google's new Pixel Buds A are now available for preorder at just $99, offering a more affordable wireless headphone option for Android users compared to last year's Pixel Buds 2. But the lower price point comes at a cost: The Pixel Buds A lose features that some users may not be happy about. 

Pixel Buds 2, which originally sold for $179 but are now available for less, feature wireless charging and the ability to swipe on the earbud for volume control. The Pixel Buds A, meanwhile, only offer USB-C charging and lack the volume swipe controls -- instead, you need to use adjust volume on the device you're streaming from or ask Google Assistant to do it for you. The A-Series also doesn't include the Buds 2's Attention Alerts feature, which can detect ambient sounds like a baby crying or a dog barking and alert you while you're wearing the buds. 

In our testing, the sound quality appeared to be the same across both sets. The Buds A are also about 20% lighter than the Buds 2 across the earbuds and the carrying case. 

Here's how the Pixel Buds A compare to the Pixel Buds 2 in terms of specs. 

Pixel Buds A-Series vs. Pixel Buds 2

Pixel Buds A-SeriesPixel Buds 2
Price $99$179
Colors clearly white, dark oliveclearly white, almost black, quite mint, oh so orange
Weight 0.18 ounces0.19 ounces
Connectivity Bluetooth 5.0Bluetooth 5.0
Charging USB-CUSB-C, wireless charging
Battery life (between in-case charges) up to five hoursup to five hours
Active noise cancellation nono
Passive noise reduction yesyes
Wind reduction noyes
Adaptive sound yesyes
Attention alerts noyes
Sweat and water resistant yesyes
Swipe for volume control noyes
In-ear detection yesyes
Google Assistant yesyes
Watch this: Google Pixel Buds A-Series review: Excellent value Android earbuds