Google Pixel Buds A-Series review: Excellent value Android earbuds
Tv & Audio
These are Google's new pixel buds a series that A stands for affordability.
And like Google's a series pixel phones, they may be next gen but they're not exactly an upgrade but they only cost $99 which is a big price cut.
So let's jump right into the review and see whether they really are a bargain or not.
As I said, looks wise not much has changed.
They feature the same likable design as the pixel buds 2 with that integrated sport Vin and relatively discreet look.
They don't stick out of your ears as much as other ear buds do.
There are some small differences, however, For starters, they are a little bit lighter than the pixel buds to Google says about 20% lighter across the earbuds and the case.
I'm going along with clearly white they now come in this new dark Olive color and they incorporate slightly different materials and aren't to tone.
Inside the buds have a glossy as opposed to a matte finish.
And it's color matches the color of the outside of the buds, additionally inside of the case also has a glossy finish and it's color matches the color of the buds.
The other thing you'll notice is that the nozzle that you attach the ear tip to is now made of plastic instead of metal, which presumably is more durable.
The case is the same.
It's nice and compact, but unlike the pixel buds to the a series does not have wireless charging, just USB C charging.
These are also missing the swipe for volume control feature.
You can't run your finger across the bud to adjust font.
You have to use the volume controls on the device.
You're streaming with For access Google Assistant, Intel it to raise or lower the volume II a series doesn't have the attention alerts feature that detects certain ambient sounds like a baby crying dog barking or an emergency vehicle siren and alerts you to those sounds while you're wearing the buds The feeling that not too many people bothered with that experimental feature but a lot of people like to swipe to control volume feature.
Personally I can live without it for the price reduction.The last little design changes I should mention on that these have two charging pins as opposed to three on the pixel buds to There's also a sensor on the pixel buds to that isn't on these guys.
When I saw that a little bit worried about the ear detection feature where if you pull into here but out of your ear while you listen to music, it'll auto pause your music and then resume it when you put it back in.
Well, that feature is still here, I wanna ask Google about it?
They said They were able to optimize your detection with just one IR sensor.
And so little changes like that can help reduce the weight of the IR budget just a tad.
Like the pixel buds to these are equipped with Bluetooth 5.0 but they're powered by a new chipset.
When the pixel buds to first came out, there were widespread complaints.
The wireless connectivity wasn't rock solid, people were getting some dropouts.
And while subsequent firmware upgrades improved performance, who will appears to have addressed any connectivity issues with the a series, I had no dropouts during my three days of testing.
So in that sense, they are upgraded.
As far as I can tell, they sound the same as the pixel buds to or very similar anyway.
To get optimal sound, you do need a tight seal, but you should be able to get one with one of the three different sized ear tips.
These are relatively lightweight and comfortable to wear and they sit in my ears well in eipix for water resistance rating, which means they're splashproof and I had no issues running with them.
Are using them at the gym.
They sound quite good overall with ample bass that's not looser bloated and these have decent clarity.
Although there's just a touch of treble push that can lead to some edginess on less well recorded tracks.
They don't have the richer, more open and refined sound of higher end earbuds like Sennheiser Momentum true wireless 2 or Sony's WF-1000X series.
But their sound measures up well against other ear buds in this price range.
There is a bass boost mode that I did prefer along with an adaptive sound mode that automatically raises and lowers volume and coordinate the amount of ambient noise around you, but the EQ options are pretty limited.
This support streaming using the AAC codec with both apple and Android devices used for all audio streaming, but there's no app decks streaming for Android devices that support that audio codec.
And those of you looking for multipoint Bluetooth pairing, that's not here either That feature allows you to pair headphones with a PC and smartphone simultaneously for easy switching between the two.
That does come in handy say when you're working from home, but you can pair these with multiple devices, just not two at the same time.
They should work well for a variety of music genres, but I did notice they were a bit challenged.
When I hit them with some complicated Rock Tracks where a lot of instruments were playing at the same time, again, they weren't quite as natural sounding or as articulate as higher end earbuds.
But I think most people will be really happy with their sound.
I did think these were really good for making calls to test call quality.
I hit the streets of New York.
Made calls while traffic was passing by the bugs that have very good job reducing a lot of the background noise during calls.
And caller said they could hear my voice clearly.
For calling they measure the well against the AirPods Pro, so they seem top notch in the headset department.
The battery life remains slightly underwhelming for non noise cancelling earbuds.
They're rated at five hours of moderate volume levels, and you can get an extra 19 hours from the charging case.
As I said from the outset, this is a bit of an unusual product because it's next gen but not really an upgrade for owners of the previous bottle.
It's a smart move by Google as it tries to expand its audience for its true wireless buds.
This $100 price point is where it needs to play.
You've got Samsung's Galaxy buds plus selling for around $110.
And then there are the anchor Liberty Air 2 Pro earbuds and Amazon Echo buds at $130.
Both of those feature active noise cancelling, but they're already being discounted to $100.
Sometimes they are direct competitors.
I don't know if the pixel buds are necessarily any better than those guys.
It kinda depends on just how good they feel in your ears.
But when you factor in their strong design Good sound quality and excellent headset performance.
A series are a very good value at $99.
And a great choice for Android users.
Although they work with Apple iOS devices, there's no companion app for Apple users.
So you should probably steer clear unless you have an Android device for doing firmware upgrades.
But what do you guys think?
Are you okay with the corners Google cut to get the price down?
Who's disappointed Google didn't come out with true next gen pixel buds that add Active Noise Cancelling and improve sound.
I'll be it for probably double the price.
Let me know what you think in the comment section.
And if you found anything redeeming about this video, hit the like button, and subscribe if you haven't already.
I'm David Carter for CNET.
Thanks for watching.
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