Monday, June 27, 2022

Google Pixel Buds A Series vs. Pro: Specs Comparison

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At its annual developer conference, Google I/O, Google announced a new pair of true wireless earbuds, the Pixel Buds Pro, which available for pre-order from July 21 and in stores on July 28. The new Buds Pro offers more features than last year’s Pixel Buds A-series, but at $199 they’re also twice as expensive. So are they worth the extra cost or should you stick with the entry-level $99 Pixel Buds A Series?

To help you answer that question, we’ve compared the features and specs of both models so you can find the right fit for you. Note that while we’ve tested the Pixel Buds A-Series, we haven’t tested the Pixel Buds Pro yet. Hopefully we can get some hands-on time with the earbuds ahead of their launch this summer.

The Pixel Buds Pro come in more colors than the Pixel Buds A-Series.
Image: Google

Audio and Voice

Price aside, the fact that the Pixel Buds Pro offer active noise cancellation, while the Pixel Buds A series does not, is arguably the most significant difference between the two sets of earbuds. As a result, you can cut out background noise with the Buds Pro – a feature that can help improve focus while working from home or drown out ambient noise while commuting. That could be a welcome change for some, as we found that the Pixel Buds A-series doesn’t offer much in the way of passive noise isolation.

The Pixel Buds Pro also has an optional transparency mode for when you want to hear what’s going on around you or chat with someone, which is a feature the Pixel Buds A-Series lacks. In addition, Google says the Pixel Buds Pro will support spatial audio head tracking later this year. The upcoming update will make listening to selected content feel more immersive, as the feature creates an experience similar to a surround-sound setup without the need for multiple speakers. There are also some audio features that both earbuds share, such as Volume EQ, which automatically adjusts the volume based on your environment.

On paper – and according to Google – the Pixel Buds Pro should perform well on calls. Google says your voice should be clear no matter where you are, thanks to noise cancellation from background distractions like traffic and features like wind-blocking mesh covers. The Pixel Buds Pro also comes with three microphones in each earbud. The Pixel Buds A Series only offers dual beamforming mics in each, but we found that they still perform well during conversations, even in noisy environments.

The Pixel Buds A-Series can also connect to Android phones with Fast Pair.
Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge

Connectivity

Multipoint Bluetooth connectivity is also a feature only the Pixel Buds Pro offers. That means the earbuds can automatically switch between your last two connected devices, including laptops, TVs, tablets, and Android and iOS phones. Whichever you buy, both share the Fast Pair feature, so you can easily pair your Bluetooth devices with supported Android products. For the unfamiliar, Fast Pair makes it possible to turn on and pair the earbuds near the device by simply tapping a notification that pops up. While both earbuds also work with iOS, they are best used with Android devices, which can take advantage of their many features. That’s partly because there’s no Pixel Buds app for iOS that lets Apple users adjust settings like EQ, no matter which pair you buy.

Battery

Battery life is another area where the Pixel Buds Pro outperforms Google’s Pixel Buds A series, at least on paper. Google claims that the Pixel Buds Pro charges wirelessly via the included charging case and offers up to 11 hours of continuous listening with active noise canceling turned off or 31 hours with the charging case. However, if ANC is enabled, you can still get seven hours. The included case for the Pixel Buds A-series, on the other hand, doesn’t have the wireless charging capability and relies on USB-C instead. The latter earbuds also only offer up to five hours of listening time and only up to 24 hours with the case.

The Pixel Buds Pro offer IPX4 water and sweat resistance.
Image: Google

Design and fit

No matter which one you buy, you have a choice of three sizes of earbuds – small, medium and large – which come in the box for a better fit. However, it seems that on paper the Pixel Buds Pro offers a few more features to improve comfort. Google says it has added new sensors to measure and relieve pressure in your ear canal to increase comfort, a claim we have yet to test. The earbuds also sit deeper in your ear canal than the Pixel Buds A-Series.

In terms of weight and size, the Pixel Buds Pro are slightly heavier, weighing 6.2 grams compared to the Pixel Buds A-Series, which weigh 5.02 grams. The new earbuds are also slightly larger (22.33 x 22.03 x 23.72 mm) as opposed to the Pixel Buds A series (20.7 x 29.3 x 17.5 mm).

If color is important to you, the Pixel Buds Pro offer more variety, including black, blue, green and red colorways. The Pixel Buds A-Series, on the other hand, is only available in white or green. While they look similar, the Pixel Buds Pro also seem to offer more mic inputs on the outside. However, neither offers forward/backward swipes to control the volume, meaning you have to tap to do this, something we weren’t fans of while reviewing the A Series.

In terms of durability, the Pixel Buds Pro and Pixel Buds A-Series both offer IPX4 water and sweat resistance, which is useful if you train often. Both also enable hands-free “Hey Google” voice commands, so you can get directions, set reminders, or access music and messages without even touching the phone through Google Assistant.

Google Pixel Buds Pro vs Google Pixel Buds A Series

Of course, this comparison is just an overview of some of the key differences between the two pairs of true wireless earbuds. If you’re curious about the raw specs and want to dig deeper, you can check out some of the finer details in the table below.

Google Pixel Buds lineup

Specification Pixel Buds Pro Pixel Buds A Series
Specification Pixel Buds Pro Pixel Buds A Series
Price $199 $99
colors Black, blue, green or red white, green
Active Noise Canceling Yes New
Transparency mode Yes New
Spatial audio with head tracking Later in 2022 New
Battery Up to 11 hours of listening time, up to 7 hours with active noise cancellation on, 31 hours with case without ANC Up to 5 hours of listening time or up to 2.5 hours of talk time with just earbuds. Up to 24 hours of listening time with charging case, or up to 12 hours of talk time
Google Assistant support Yes Yes
Connectivity Bluetooth 5.0 Bluetooth 5.0

Multipoint connectivity Yes New
Water Resistance Certification (Earplugs) IPX4 water resistance IPX4 water resistance
Water Resistance Certification (Charging Case) IPX2 water resistance No
microphones Three microphones in each earbud Dual beamforming microphones in each earbud
speakers Custom designed 11mm dynamic speaker driver 12mm dynamic driver with passive noise reduction
Earplugs size 22.33 x 22.03 x 23.72mm 20.7 x 29.3 x 17.5mm
Housing size 25 x 50 x 63.2mm 63 x 47 x 25mm
Weight of earplugs 6.2g 5.06g
Case weight 62.4g with earbuds

52.9 g with earbuds

Wireless charging Yes New
Including charging cord Yes, USB-C Yes, USB-C to USB-A
Earbuds with three size options included in the box Yes Yes
Custom chip Custom 6-core audio chip To be determined
availabilty July 28 In stock

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