With the Pixel 6A, Google has just launched the Pixel Buds Pro, the premium version of its earbuds. Fearless, we challenged our ears and here’s what we think.
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To put you in context, I have always had a reluctance towards earbuds. Long story short, I had a lot of ear infections when I was young, and inserting plugs in my ears always made me dizzy.
After trying several models, I realized that earbuds were not made for me. I still tried the experiment with the Pixel Buds Pro, and I was pleasantly surprised not to feel dizzy during my test, which still lasted a few hours.
The designs of the devices that Google has presented for a few years are physically beautiful. The Pixel Buds Pro are no exception and they are visually well designed.
Offered in three pretty color choices, the headphones aren’t ugly in the ears, and still unobtrusive, even in yellow.
Of course, it’s still two pieces of plastic that you stick in your ear canals. Users with small ears and a narrow canal will feel that the headphones pull on the cartilage a bit. Unfortunately, after long test sessions, my ears were a little sore.
I have to admit a personal problem I’ve always had with internal earbuds and headphones: I’ve always had trouble getting them to fit because I have oily ears. And I can’t be the only one!
Luckily, the Pixel Buds Pro come with three different sized tips: small, medium (installed on the headphones) and large. Despite the fact that they are a bit large, once in place, the headphones do not move. They were also put to the test during an active training session at the gym.
The Google Pixel Buds Pro meet the Ingress Protection (IP) X4 rating for water resistance. This means that even if you can’t swim in them, they can withstand a slight splash of water from all sides, like sweat. So they are great companions for the gym or hiking.
Orders touch a bit confusing
Like most wireless headphones, such as the Sony WH-1000XM4, the Pixel Buds Pro have the function of stopping what you’re listening to when removing an earbud from the ear. This feature comes in handy when someone tries to talk to us in the middle of a song.
It is possible to control the media or choose to answer the phone by touching the earbuds. However, the controls are very sensitive and it can happen that when trying to replace an earphone, we stop our song or inadvertently turn up the sound. Not being used to wearing this kind of headphones, I had to replace the headphones often.
However, there is no doubt that the controls respond well when activated and work on both earbuds. Google has therefore thought of its left-handed users!
Clear sound and active noise cancellation
Featuring Active Noise Cancellation technology, the Pixel Buds Pro do a great job of cutting out outside ambient sound. To give you an idea, I work in a room with a constantly running air conditioner next to me, and the Google headphones cut out nearly all of the window unit hum.
To test the sound clarity, I listened to songs drawn from several genres and I was frankly amazed by the sound precision. Although the bass is present, we still manage to hear the more discreet sounds in the background.
Equalizer just right
I’m a little surprised that Google only implemented a simple equalization (EQ) setting for the Pixel Buds Pro, activated with a single click. This one “enhances bass and treble frequencies at lower volume levels,” according to the description.
The electronic music “listener” in me is sadly disappointed that I cannot adjust the bass to an excessively exaggerated level. For a “pro” range, it’s a shame not to find more sound customization options.
Under ideal conditions, the microphones will transmit voice very well. However, the wind can affect the call, but this is also the case for several models of wireless headphones.
Are they worth their price?
The upgraded carrying case has a UBS-C socket and wireless charging, which is a more than welcome option. The headphones also offer above-average battery life compared to its competitors.
Obviously, for someone who works in such a noisy environment as a call center or an open office, they will benefit from active noise cancellation.
With the huge selection of headphones on the market, is it worth spending $260 on Pixel Buds Pro? If Google is implementing a way to personalize your sound experience with a decent equalizer, yes. Unfortunately, that’s the only thing that would stop me from buying them. Google has nevertheless confirmed to 9to5Google that a graphic equalizer (EQ) will be implemented in a future update.
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