Google has been in the audio game for quite some time, and the Pixel Buds Pro are the latest addition to the company’s portfolio. There have been Pixel Buds before.The company has launched the Buds-A series in the past as a complement to the Google Pixel 6a and others. Despite its efforts, the company is really just trying to catch up.
The Google Pixel Buds Pro have some great features, but there are some confusing omissions.With a comfortable in-ear design, excellent touch controls, decent active noise cancellation, multipoint support, and long battery life. I’m here. However, there are some things you may not notice, such as the lack of high-quality codecs like AAC and his EQ built-in (yet). The out-of-the-box tuning is terrible and you either don’t care or you need to know what needs to be changed.
In short, the Google Pixel Buds Pro do a great job as great earbuds, but they’re expensive and the company is just catching up rather than innovating the space. It just feels on par with its competitors, even if it was released years ago. They do everything else very well, and the sound quality is great (with a few tweaks), but it’s the out-of-the-box tuning that makes these earphones sound far worse than they should. If you’re not an audio snob, you probably won’t notice, but otherwise you’ll have to use an app like Wavelet.
The Google Pixel Buds Pro are Google’s flagship earbuds with tons of features, great fit and long battery life. Google Pixel Buds Pro: Specifications Specifications Google Pixel Buds Pro Build Plastic Dimensions & Weight Earbuds (each): 22.33 x 22.03 x 23.72 mm (with medium (default) eartips), 6.2 g (with medium eartips) ) Wireless charging case: 25 x 50 x 63.2 mm, 62.4 g (earbuds included) Speaker Driver Microphone Triple mic array per earbud Windproof mesh cover Connectivity Bluetooth 5.0 battery and charging Earbuds only: ANC On: Up to 7 hours ANC Off: Up to 11 hours Earbuds + Case: USB-C charging Wireless charging 5 minutes charging, 1 hour playback 15 minutes charging, 3 hours playback
About this review: On July 28, 2022, I received my Google Pixel Buds Pro for IrishTech review.
Google Pixel Buds Pro: Pricing and Availability
The Pixel Buds Pro come in four colorways: Charcoal, Fog, Coral, and Lemongrass, priced at $199/199/219. They are now available in Google’s own store and on Amazon in a wide range of territories, including the United States and throughout Europe.
Google Pixel Buds Pro: Design
The Google Pixel Buds Pro are pretty unique, especially the earbud design. Ignoring the fact that they launched funky colors like the lovely ‘Coral’ pair, these are designs you won’t find anywhere else. The orange top acts as a touch panel for input, but the earbuds themselves are long and designed to be twisted into the ear rather than tucked in.
Pixel Buds Pro’s touch controls are excellent
Touch controls are also excellent. This is due to the large and uniform surface area of the earbuds. It’s a simple flat circular surface and the gesture makes sense. Swipe up/down to volume, double tap to skip, single tap to pause/play, long press to toggle ANC or summon Google Assistant. All of these can be changed in the Pixel Buds app (or settings on your Google Pixel) to give you a little control over which controls are enabled.
Pixel Buds Pro are the most comfortable earbuds I’ve ever used
But the best thing about these earphones is the fit. These are the most comfortable pair of earbuds I’ve ever used, and I’ve left them in my ears until I die several times. It has tech that takes away the sensations, and with ANC enabled, it’s definitely noticeable. I’m not sure how the technology works, but it feels like magic. This is a big plus. You can yawn, eat in your ear and still be comfortable.
I didn’t have to size it down or up to fit the other tips in the box, but there are other sizes if you need them. Transparency mode is fine too, but I tend to find that feature subpar on almost every earbud I’ve used.
Google Pixel Buds Pro: Sound Quality
I used to have Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 before when I used these earbuds for the first time. It supports the LDAC codec, a high bitrate codec that supports audio up to 990Kbps. Maximum MP3 bitrate obtained is 320Kbps. This leaves a lot of overhead room, but ensures that you get the full quality of the audio sent to your ears. Before that, I was using Honor Earbuds 3 Pro which support AAC codec at 264 Kbps.
Having used both earbuds recently, I thought the Google Pixel Buds Pro sounded perfectly fine. When I first set it up, I thought it was set to SBC by default, because when I listen to music, it sounds as if I’m listening to a low bitrate MP3 file. It turned out not to be the case and I couldn’t understand why they sounded like they did.
We compared these earbuds against the Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2. I wore the FreeBuds Pro 2 in one ear and the Pixel Buds Pro in the other. I listened to Hand Crush on a 100 gecs mallet and it’s a song with great dynamic range. I noticed that the hi-hats, which were clearly audible on the FreeBuds Pro 2, were barely audible on the Pixel Buds Pro. I also noticed a much stronger baseline for the Pixel Buds Pro. This seems to drown out the kick drum. That’s when it clicked with me. These earphones have terrible tuning out of the box. The top frequencies drop badly, the mids are a little too high, and the bass overwhelms the mix.
For context, compressed MP3 files are compressed by removing frequencies above a certain frequency range. A 320Kbps MP3 will filter out frequencies above about 19.5kHz, but that’s not a big deal since human hearing generally only peaks at 25kHz. However, compressing the audio to 192Kbps he removes frequencies above 18KHz, and using 128Kbps removes frequencies above 16KHz. Both tend to stand out. The frequency range is subjective, but low end refers to low frequencies and high end refers to high frequencies. The treble is where cymbals, hi-hats, and other high-frequency instruments are best heard, but it may not be immediately apparent that some of the highest frequencies in the 10kHz to 20kHz range have been removed.
We found that we could use Wavelets to significantly boost the 19.2kHz frequency band, reduce the 9.6kHz band, and significantly reduce the low end. These earbuds have become much more acceptable. Just boosting 19.2kHz doesn’t do much audio-wise, but since it’s a frequency band that contains a wide range of frequencies above 9.6kHz, it also boosts the frequencies back there. When I was feeling like I was listening to the radio directly in my ears, they sound pretty much on par with the other earphones I use now.
It’s crazy how important tuning is when it comes to earbuds.It’s a shame that Google shipped these earbuds with this tuning.Google promised to add a full 5-band EQ to the Pixel Buds app, but Until then, you’ll have to rely on something like Wavelet to make these changes. In the past, bass would overwhelm the audio experience and the rest of the audio experience felt hollow.
But with the changes applied, these earbuds sound really, really good. They are loud, clear and comfortable. Perfect for listening to all kinds of music, great audio hardware combined with the right tuning make for great earbuds. Unfortunately there aren’t many codecs available out of the box, but AAC is a universal codec that works with almost all codecs.
The Google Pixel Buds Pro hardware is great, but tweaking it out of the box sucks
Nevertheless, much of this experience is still inexcusable. The hardware is great, but tuning requires some work.
On the bright side, the call quality is decent. Using these earbuds with my phone was absolutely perfectly understandable anywhere, and I had no trouble having a conversation while using them.
Google Pixel Buds Pro: software, settings, battery life
On the software side, the Google Pixel Buds Pro benefit from both simplicity and direct integration with Android. The setup process is easy thanks to Google’s Fast Pair (which by the way has a fast switching feature). The software controls for these earbuds will be built into your phone (if you have a Pixel anyway). If not, installing the Google Pixel Buds app from the Google Play Store will give you the same interface as your Pixel phone.
As you can see, there are so many features and controls to choose from. The biggest addition that other earbuds don’t have is the Google Assistant. Just say “Hey Google” to wake it up and ask the Google Assistant any question you would normally ask. It’s a great way to check things on the go if you want, and you can read notifications out loud when you need them. That way you don’t have to pull out your phone when you’re walking down a busy street or carrying something.
Another major addition is ‘Multipoint’, which utilizes Google’s Fast Pair quick switching technology. Essentially, you can connect to up to two devices at once and seamlessly transition between the two. If you’re playing media on one device, you can also stop playing media on that device and then switch to another device to start playing. However, if you’re watching a video on one device and a call comes in on another, the earbuds assume that you want to answer the call, so the device that’s receiving the call Intelligently decide to switch.
When it comes to battery life, these earbuds are excellent. I can keep them in my ears all day and they just go back and forth. The case honestly feels like it needs a slightly larger battery, but that’s probably because the earbuds last longer.
Should I buy Google Pixel Buds Pro?
The Google Pixel Buds Pro are in the same price range as the best wireless earbuds, and they’re great earbuds that cost a lot of money. At $199, it’s well above the OnePlus Buds Pro, on par with the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro (at launch), and slightly below the AirPods Pro. Google is making a statement by selling these earbuds at essentially the price of flagship earbuds.
For what it’s worth, I love the Google Pixel Buds Pro after making some equalization changes. The end result is what sounds like a low bitrate. There’s a 5-band EQ that’s said to be coming to Google Pixel Buds later this year, and those changes should be made after that.
The Google Pixel Buds Pro are Google’s flagship earbuds with tons of features, great fit and long battery life.
If you don’t consider yourself an audiophile, you’ll love the Google Pixel Buds Pro. I come from a musical background, so I’m a little picky when it comes to audio, but that also meant I knew what I could change to make these earbuds sound good. If you think you won’t, these are definitely the best earbuds to get.
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