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-Series||Pixel Buds 2|
|Colors||clearly white, dark olive||clearly white, almost black, quite mint, oh so orange|
|Weight||0.18 ounces||0.19 ounces|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 5.0||Bluetooth 5.0|
|Charging||USB-C||USB-C, wireless charging|
|Battery life (between in-case charges)||up to five hours||up to five hours|
|Active noise cancellation||no||no|
|Passive noise reduction||yes||yes|
|Sweat and water resistant||yes||yes|
|Swipe for volume control||no||yes|