The Google Pixel Buds Pro are the first true wireless earbuds from the tech giant to come with active noise cancellation (ANC). They certainly do a solid job of reducing ambient noise. The Pixel Buds Pro also come with handy features, from in-ear detection to Google Assistant integration to multi-point connectivity. But while I would have liked more bass from them, these earbuds sound good enough, are comfortable, and more importantly, offer a frictionless user experience, especially for Android and Pixel smartphone users.
- 11mm drivers
- ANC and transparency mode
- IPX4 (earbuds), IPX2 (case)
- 7 hours of playtime with ANC (20 hours with case), 11 hours without ANC (31 hours with case)
At 6.1g each, the Pixel Buds Pro are slightly heavier than the Pixel Buds A-Series. Coming from bulkier earbuds, I found the Pixel Buds Pro to be very comfortable. The eartip seal check feature in the companion Pixel Buds app (for non-Pixel Android phones) also helped me find the right size. It turns out that the default Medium size eartips were too small for my ears. The earbuds support the usual tap and swipe gestures, and come with useful smart features like in-ear detection. You can also locate any missing earbuds with a Find device feature that causes them to ring out.
The Pixel Buds Pro's ANC feature does a great job of reducing background noise, such as dampening the engine noise on the bus and the train. For once, I could actually hear my music on the Circle Line between the Botanic Gardens and Caldecott MRT stations, a stretch that's usually very noisy. I liked that there isn't much pressure in the ears with ANC enabled. The Pixel Buds Pro also have a Transparency mode that lets you hear your surroundings. It sounds more natural, and less processed than some earbuds, like the Creative Outlier Pro, for example. You can toggle between these modes with a long-press on the earbud. This setting can be customised in the Pixel Buds app.
My initial impression is that the Pixel Buds Pro sound softer than usual. I had to turn the volume up to 60% and more for my music, which almost never happens with other earbuds. Turning on the Volume EQ feature in the app, which boosts the bass and trebles at lower volumes, helps slightly. Strangely enough, this volume issue seemed to go away the more I used the earbuds. That aside, the Pixel Buds Pro offer a clean, balanced sound with good clarity. The bass is tight and distinct, but I would have liked more of it. The built-in microphones worked fine. My calls sounded clear, and even the noise from my ceiling fan wasn't discerned by the other party. Battery life is rated at around 7 hours with ANC, which seems about right.
At S$299, the Google Pixel Buds Pro cost twice as much as the budget Pixel Buds A-Series. But for the higher price, you get ANC, a wireless charging case, and slightly longer battery life. The Pixel Buds Pro are also more affordable than Apple's equivalent AirPods Pro (S$379). And later this year, they will even get an Apple-like spatial audio feature that works with TV shows and movies with a compatible Pixel phone. In short, the Pixel Buds Pro make sense if you like its smart features (in-ear detection, Find device, and Google Assistant integration), and need ANC. The audio quality isn't the best, though. The Pixel Buds Pro are available now from the Google Store, Shopee and Amazon SG.
Note: Review set provided by Google.
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