Google Pixel Buds Pro Review : How Google Is Declaring War On Its Competitors
Google is declaring war on its competitors: the tech giant’s new wireless in-ear headphones have a steep price, but Google promises good functionality and sound quality in return. In the test, the Google Pixel Buds Pro were convincing, despite a few blemishes.
Wireless earplugs are now a dime a dozen. To find the right pair, consumers should ask themselves two main questions before making a purchase decision:
What should the headphones be able to do – and how much can they cost? Anyone who answers both questions with “a lot” should usually look around at Apple, Samsung or even Sony.
But now, the search engine giant Google is also involved in the race for the throne in the in-ear headphone market.
Its new Google Pixel Buds Pro are not a particularly cheap variant for a reasonable 220 euros – but has Google managed to stand up to the Apple Airpods and Co. in terms of quality?
Chic look, easy setup of Google Pixel Buds Pro
This question can at least be answered with a yes in terms of optics. The Pixel Buds Pro look good in the ear, and the charging case is also impressive due to its elegant round shape.
The colour selection of the headphones is also very appealing: with coral, grey-blue, black and yellow-green, there is an exciting and beautiful selection that most people will probably find what they are looking for.
It’s just a shame that the charging case isn’t also available in more than one colour option. The white is lovely but always has the disadvantage that it quickly gets visible scratches and stains in the (trouser) pocket.
The Buds Pro only have comparatively few features: Only three rubber attachments in different sizes and a small manual are included in the packaging. The manual is probably also so short because the setup is so easy.
In most common Android systems, the headphones are recognized immediately when you open the charging case; you only have to press a button to connect the cell phone to them.
The “Pixel Buds” app also helps with setup and operation: It can be used to track down lost Pixel Buds and check the fit of the headphones. However, only Android users can currently get a taste of the functions in the app because it is not yet available for iPhones.
Sound and fit are also convincing – despite small disruptive factors.
Thanks to their low weight of six grams, Google’s headphones are very comfortable and fit well in the ear – even if the latter strangely doesn’t feel like it at first.
Especially when jogging, the headphones felt in the test as if they would fall out of the ear every second. Luckily, that wasn’t the case: even with intense exercise, the Buds Pro remained stable. However, the feeling in the ear does take some getting used to.
An essential quality feature of good headphones is good sound quality. And Google has largely achieved this goal: The sound, the treble and the bass are immaculate and balanced.
However, compared to the headphone flagships from Apple or Sony, it lacks a bit of power overall, especially with very bass-heavy or techno music.
The differences are minimal, however, and the Google Pixel Buds Pro’s detailed sound is convincing across different music genres.
Responsive headphones with effective noise cancellation
The functionality of the Pixel Buds Pro is what sets them apart: swipe forward on the headphones, and the audio will increase, double-tap to answer a call – and hold to give voice commands to the Google Assistant.
All these functions run smoothly because the headphones respond to the commands immediately. It is also practical that the app for the Pixel Buds allows users to customize the functions.
For example, you can turn on the Google Assistant on the left headphone and activate noise cancellation on the right headphone by pressing and holding the headphone surface.
Speaking of noise cancellation: With “Active Noise Cancellation” (ANC), users can decide for themselves when they would rather hide background noise and when not.
In noisy environments such as buses and trains, the function reliably provided the desired quiet for the most part in the test.
Only the rushing of the wind could often be heard, which was particularly annoying at first. The ANC also has the advantage that you can turn down the volume and thus not put so much strain on the ears.
If you have to switch the function off again to be on the safe side – for example, as a pedestrian in traffic – it can be easily switched off again.
The excellent battery life of the Pixel Buds Pro is also pleasing: In the test, the Pixel Buds lasted during the day with frequent use and were then recharged very quickly using the battery in the charging case.
The case itself only had to be plugged in after it had been charged almost twice.
Conclusion: Google Pixel Buds Pro convinced in the test
In the battle of in-ear headphones, Google’s Pixel Buds Pro can get involved at the very top: Operation is very smooth, and the headphones respond quickly to commands and convince with good sound quality.
Thanks to their excellent fit and practical functions, such as active noise cancellation, Google’s headphones are also loyal companions in noisy public transport or jogging.
The high price is fair because the performance, even if a few small things, such as the feeling in the ear that takes getting used to or the wind noise when the noise suppression is activated, were annoying in the test.
Overall, the Pixel Buds Pro are an excellent alternative to Apple’s Airpods and other top devices – especially for Android users.