During its annual developer conference, Google I/O, Google announced a new pair of true wireless earbuds, the Pixel Buds Pro, that will be available for pre-order in stores starting July 21 and in stores on July 28. The new Buds Pro offer more features than last year’s Pixel Buds A-series, though, at $199, they’re also twice the price. 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 specifications of both models so you can find the right fit for you. Note that while we’ve reviewed the Pixel Buds A-series, we haven’t tested the Pixel Buds Pro yet. Hopefully, we’ll be able to do some hands-on work sometime before the launch of the earbuds this summer.
The Pixel Buds Pro comes in more colors than the Pixel Buds A-series.
audio and voice
Aside from the price, the fact that the Pixel Buds Pro offer active noise cancellation while the Pixel Buds A-series is probably the most significant difference between the two sets of earbuds. As a result, you can reduce background noise with the Buds Pro – a feature that can help improve focus when working from home or block out ambient noise while you commute. can. This may be a welcome change for some, considering that the Pixel Buds A-Series don’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 happening around you or chat with someone, which the Pixel Buds A-Series lack. 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 recreates the same experience as a surround-sound setup without the need for multiple speakers. There are also some audio features the two earbuds share, such as Volume EQ, where the volume is automatically adjusted based on your surroundings.
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 features like noise suppression of background distractions like traffic, and wind-blocking mesh covers. Pixel Buds Pro also comes with three microphones in each earbud. The Pixel Buds A-series only offer dual beam-forming mics in each, however, we found that they performed well on calls, even in noisy environments.
The Pixel Buds A-Series can also connect to Android phones with Fast Pair.
Photo by Chris Welch/The Verge
Multipoint Bluetooth connectivity is also a feature only the Pixel Buds Pro offer. This means the earbuds can automatically switch between your last two connected devices, including laptops, TVs, tablets, and Android and iOS phones. However, no matter what you buy, both share the Fast Pairing feature, so you can easily pair your Bluetooth devices with supported Android products. For those unfamiliar, Fast Pair makes it possible to turn on the buds near the device and pair them by tapping the 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 allows Apple users to adjust settings like EQ, no matter which pair you buy.
Battery life is another area where the Pixel Buds Pro outperform Google’s Pixel Buds A-series, at least on paper. Google claims the Pixel Buds Pro charges wirelessly via the included charging case and provides 11 hours of continuous listening with active noise cancellation disabled or up to 31 hours with the charging case. However, when ANC is enabled, you will still be able to get seven hours. In contrast, the included case for the Pixel Buds A-series lacks the ability to charge wirelessly and, instead, relies on USB-C. The latter earbuds also offer just up to five hours of listening time and only up to 24 hours with the case on.
Pixel Buds Pro get IPX4 water and sweat resistance.
design and fit
No matter which one you buy, you’ll have a choice of three sizes of ear tips — small, medium and large — that come in a box for a better fit. However, it seems, 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, which is a claim we haven’t tested yet. The buds also sit deeper in your ear canal than the Pixel Buds A-Series.
In terms of weight and size, the Pixel Buds Pro is a bit heavy and weighs 6.2 grams in comparison to the Pixel Buds A-Series, which weigh 5.02 grams. The new earbuds are slightly larger (22.33 x 22.03 x 23.72mm) as opposed to the Pixel Buds A-Series (20.7 x 29.3 x 17.5mm).
If color matters to you, the Pixel Buds Pro offers more variety, including black, blue, green, and red. In contrast, the Pixel Buds A-Series is only available in white or green. While they look similar, the Pixel Buds Pro offer more microphone inlets on the outside as well. However, neither offers a swipe forward/back gesture to control volume, which means you have to tap to do so, which we weren’t a fan of when reviewing the A-series.
On the durability front, both the Pixel Buds Pro and Pixel Buds A-Series offer IPX4 water and sweat resistance, which comes in handy when working out often. Both also allow for hands-free “Hey Google” voice commands, so you can get directions, set reminders, or access music and messages through Google Assistant without touching the phone.
Google Pixel Buds Pro vs. Google Pixel Buds A-Series
Of course, this comparison is just an overview of some of the major differences between the two pairs of true wireless earbuds. If you are curious about the raw specifications 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|
|colour’s||black, blue, green or red||white, green|
|active noise cancellation||Yes||No|
|Spatial Audio with Head Tracking||later 2022||No|
|battery||Up to 11 hours of listening time, up to 7 hours with active noise cancellation, up to 31 hours without ANC||Up to 5 hours of listening time or up to 2.5 hours of talk time with the earbuds alone. Up to 24 hours of listening time, or up to 12 hours of talk time with the charging case|
|google assistant support||Yes||Yes|
|connectivity||bluetooth 5.0||bluetooth 5.0|
|Water Resistance Certification (Earbuds)||IPX4 Water Resistance||IPX4 Water Resistance|
|Water Resistance Certification (Charging Case)||IPX2 Water Resistance||Nobody|
|microphone||Three microphones in each earbud||Dual beamforming mic in each earbud|
|speakers||Custom-Designed 11mm Dynamic Speaker Driver||12mm dynamic driver with passive noise reduction|
|earbud size||22.33 x 22.03 x 23.72 mm||20.7 x 29.3 x 17.5 mm|
|utensil size||25 x 50 x 63.2 mm||63 x 47 x 25 mm|
|case weight||62.4g with earbuds||
52.9g with earbuds
|charging cord included||Yes, USB-C||Yes, USB-C to USB-A|
|Eartips included in the box with three size options||Yes||Yes|
|custom chip||Custom 6-Core Audio Chip||TBD|
|availability||28 July||in stock|