Google Pixel Buds A review
When Google revealed its Pixel Buds last year we were left hugely impressed. These wireless earbuds offer good sound, a wireless charging case with a great design, and plenty of unique features, including easy access to the chatty Google Assistant to send texts with a voice command. Now Google is back with another new pair of Pixels Buds and they have one big advantage over their sibling as they land in stores at a much more affordable price. In fact, you can plug them into your ears for just £99 making them one of the cheapest options on the market. So, the big question is, does that lower price tag mean you comprise on sound? Express.co.uk has been putting them to the test and here’s our full Pixel Buds A review.
Google Pixel Buds A review
If you head to your local tech store you’ll now be bombarded with wireless earbuds from every manufacturer under the sun. Of course, Apple AirPods are easily the most popular, but there are some brilliant options from the likes of Samsung, Beats, Jabra, Panasonic and even Amazon. Almost all good wireless headphones will set you back around £150, so you might be wondering if Google’s £99 effort is really worth the money?
Well, the very simple answer is “yes!” From the minute we unwrapped these wireless buds and popped them in our ears we’ve been blown away by just how good they really are.
If you own an Android phone, especially a Pixel, set up is seamless with the Buds instantly connecting the moment you open the charging case.
Even if you have an iPhone in your pocket, you’ll find the Pixel Buds A immediately appear in the Bluetooth menu with a quick tap linking these Google gadgets to an Apple smartphone or tablet.
A comfy fit means you can wear them for long periods
Once you’re all hooked up, the next thing that will strike you is how good they sound. We’ve been listening to endless playlists with everything sounding rich, clear and booming with bass.
They probably won’t be good enough for audiophiles who want the very best experience but we’ve honestly found them hugely enjoyable to use.
The incredibly comfortable fit means you can wear them for long periods without any issues. In fact, at times, we forget we even had them stuffed inside our head.
Like the original Pixel Buds, getting them perfectly positioned in your ears takes a bit of patience as there is a certain way to twist them into place. Once you’ve mastered it, the Pixel Buds feel incredibly secure.
The excellent fit has also allowed us to wear them in the gym without fear of them falling out during a gruellingly run on the treadmill.
The Pixel Buds A offer good sound and a premium design
Another nice feature is Adaptive Sound, which subtly and automatically optimises volume based on the noise level of your environment. So, if you walk into a library – your earbuds should realise you don’t need as much volume as the street outside and tweak the settings accordingly. It works well and means you shouldn’t have to keep reaching for the phone in your pocket or talk to the Google Assistant to adjust the audio.
Along with sounding great the pebble-shaped charging case and earbud build also feels pretty premium for the low price and you certainly don’t get the feeling you’ve purchased a substandard product.
Google has also made sure these earbuds come packed with features that include the all-important auto-pause function when you take them out of your ears. They are water-resistant so a sweaty workout or quick British downpour shouldn’t be a problem.
When making calls you’ll find two beam-forming microphones focus on your voice making sure you’re heard and, if you lose them you can ring the buds to help track them down.
Of course, these are made by Google and the Pixel Buds A are fully compatible with the clever assistant meaning you can simply shout “Hey Google” and ask pretty much anything that pops into your head.
The Pixel Buds A offer 5 hours of playback
So, that’s everything we love about the Pixel Buds A but are there any compromises?
Sadly, that low price has meant Google hasn’t been able to add some of the features found on pricier rivals, including active noise cancellation and a case that can be charged wirelessly.
The on-bud controls are also slightly annoying as, whilst you can skip tracks and pause songs, there’s no way to control volume without reaching for your phone.
Once charged you’ll get around 5 hours of playtime before they’ll need placing back in their case. That’s not bad, but certainly not market-leading with Samsung now offering around 8-hours of music before you need to remove your earbuds and pop them back into the case.
But if you’re not bothered by any of these missing features – and honestly, we soon forgot about all of them when listening to our favourite tracks on the Pixel Buds A – there’s very little wrong with these wireless earbuds, especially for that amazing £99 price tag.
Google Pixel Buds A review
Google Pixel Buds A review: Final Verdict
PROS • Great price • Good sound quality • Premium design • Comfy fit
CONS • No volume controls • Battery life could be better • Case can’t recharge without a wire
We really like the new Pixel Buds A. They sound great, have a premium build, and plenty of smart features …and all for under £100.
If you want some of the cutting-edge extras found on pricier rivals, such as noise cancellation and a carry case with wireless charging, you will need to look elsewhere. But be warned that you’ll also be paying more than the £99 price tag on the Pixel Buds A for these features too.
If you simply want a solid pair of affordable wireless earbuds you really can’t go wrong with the Pixel Buds A. The only problem might be getting a pair as Google is yet to reveal exactly when they will go on sale. As it stands, all you can do is register your interest at the firm’s store and, hopefully, they’ll begin shipping very soon.
If you can’t wait, Google’s previous earbuds, the Pixel Buds, are on-sale for a similar price to the Pixel Buds A from some retailers, so it might be worth shopping around to sniff out a bargain.