Fri. Jan 21st, 2022

The Google Pixel Buds A-Series offers one of the best sound profiles we’ve seen in this price range.

product name

Galaxy Buttons 2

Pros

  • Balanced audio signature
  • Easy to use
  • Good battery life

cons

  • No support for iOS apps
  • Pricey

Specifications:

  • ANC

    Yes

  • smart assistant

    Bixby

  • sound profile

    Adaptive Sound

  • Wireless charging

    Yes

I’ve been an avid Google Pixel fan for a while now. The Google Pixel 3a and then the Pixel 4a were devices that had been my favorites for photos for a long time, until Apple did what it did with the iPhone 12 Pro and the iPhone 12 Pro Max. Google is known for its no-nonsense design language (which is finally getting a major upgrade with the Pixel 6 series) and great functionality – their devices get the job done and do it right. That’s about what we expected from the Google Pixel Buds A-series when they launched in India, and we weren’t disappointed.

Google didn’t launch the Pixel Buds in India and chose the cheaper Pixel Buds A-Series for this market, and that makes sense in a way. If you look straight away at the egg-shaped clear white matte case of the Pixel Buds A series, it looks rather basic, like the many other TWS offerings currently on the market. But then you remind yourself of the solid matte black you saw on the Pixel 4a and you think – “Okay, there’s more coming in here”, – it’s Google after all.


The Google Pixel Buds A Series looks pretty plain from the outside, but it's anything but.

The Google Pixel Buds A Series looks pretty plain from the outside, but it’s anything but. (Jhinuk Sen/HT Tech)

The Pixel Buds A-Series charging case has a discreet USB-C port on the bottom for charging, a single light on the front to indicate charging mode and pairing, and there’s also a Half Effect sensor that detects when you open and close the case. The Pixel Buds A-Series pairs via Bluetooth 5.0 and pairing the buds to the smartphone, both Android and iOS, was quite seamless.

There is the Pixel Buds app that you can download from the Play Store, unfortunately there is no such app for iOS. This Pixel Buds app allows you to adjust the sound settings on the buttons, but only to limited levels, such as turning Bass Boost and Adaptive Sound on or off. The touch controls on the Pixel Buds A-Series are not customizable, so unfortunately you’ll have to get used to what the buttons offer. But to be fair, they are not difficult to master. Since there is no Pixel Buds app for iOS, you cannot activate Bass Boost or Adaptive Sound on iPhone. I used the Pixel Buds A series with the iPhone and an Android device, performance was significantly better on the latter.

The buds themselves look quite unique. Luckily there’s no stem, but there’s a small stabilizer arch that helps you tuck the buds into your ear. Full marks to Google for this, the fit on the Pixel Buds A-Series is very comfortable, the soft-fit earbuds provide a snug snug fit and the earbuds fit perfectly (I usually struggle with most other earbuds when it comes to for this) and stayed put while I took a brisk walk and during a run on the treadmill. Not once did it feel like they slip out, something I’ve felt a lot on many other peaks.


The passive noise cancellation on the Pixel Buds A-Series helps because these buds don't have Active Noise Cancellation (ANC).

The passive noise cancellation on the Pixel Buds A-Series helps because these buds don’t have Active Noise Cancellation (ANC). (Jhinuk Sen/HT Tech)

The sound profile of the Pixel Buds A-Series is quite impressive. However, I found it a bit flawed when using it with the iPhone, but the performance was significantly better on Android. But calling it “wanting” on iPhones doesn’t mean it’s bad, it isn’t. It’s just better with Android. The Pixel Buds A-series uses dynamic drivers and delivers clear sound and good bass. There’s the bass boost option that you can enable from the Pixel Buds app, and I had it enabled during my use because I liked that sound profile better. This works better for music, for podcasts and conversations you can turn off bass boost. The sound is also quite loud on the knobs, and I hardly ever had to turn them all the way up, except at the gym.

The Pixel Buds A series supports passive noise cancellation, which is quite comfortable. The spatial ventilation on the earbuds helps to reduce in-ear pressure and spatial awareness. This also helps the earbuds detect when it is in the ear. Many TWS earbuds tend to get this wrong, leaving you with the feeling that your ears are clogged.

The passive noise cancellation on the Pixel Buds A-Series helps because these buds don’t have Active Noise Cancellation (ANC). However, they have something called Adaptive Sound. Adaptive Sound used AI to adjust the volume of the earbuds to suit your environment. So, if you’re in a loud, crowded room, the volume will be turned up and in quieter environments, turned down. This is a handy feature to have. Adaptive Sound on the Pixel Buds A-Series also adjusts for sustained sound, not a one-time change in ambient sound levels. On paper, not having ANC feels like a miss, but to be honest we really didn’t miss it in everyday use. Calls on the Pixel Buds A-series were clear and loud (thanks to dual beam-forming microphones) and Adaptive Sound fared well when it came to listening to music.


One of the benefits Google offers with the Pixel Buds A-Series is real-time translation.

One of the benefits Google offers with the Pixel Buds A-Series is real-time translation. (Jhinuk Sen/HT Tech)

The Pixel Buds A-Series battery has served us well. We’ve got just over four hours of listening time on a single charge, and the case can be charged for 24 hours, so you’re getting more out of this. The Pixel Buds A-series case also boots up quickly, hitting 100 in about an hour, but a quick 15-minute charge gave us about a few hours of listening time. One of the benefits Google offers with the Pixel Buds A-Series is real-time translation, but we really didn’t get to try this feature.

Should you buy it?

The Google Pixel Buds A-Series sound good. At first glance you wonder if that? The price of 10,000 is reasonable, but once you start using it, especially with an Android device, you’ll see it all makes sense. Now, as a The 9,999 price tag may make you a bit hesitant (we’ve been mulling it over for a while), wasn’t it a better move by Google not to introduce the more expensive Pixel Buds in India? Because as good as it fits and how good it sounds, the Pixel Buds A-Series are worth it.

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