True wireless earbuds are no longer hard to come by.
Companies like Samsung, Sony, and Jabra constantly release new pairs.
And even cheap earbuds may be extremely nice these days.
Google’s Pixel Buds A-Series cost $99, putting them in the middle of the price spectrum.
— They are reserved for the future Pixel Buds Pro
— But their good sound quality and unusual style make them worth a look the next time you need some new buds.
Google Pixel Buds A-Series: Holistic Review
The Pixel Buds A-Series are so similar to the Pixel Buds of 2020.
That they both fit comfortably in the other’s casing.
The cases do not operate interchangeably
– The charging pins are slightly different
— But the cases and buds are virtually identical.
I liked how the last buds turned out, so that’s a success in my book.
The A-Series is available in only two colours: white and green.
And the insides of their cases match.
A single charging indicator light is situated on the outside of the casing.
When the case is open, the light reflects the battery level of the buds; when closed.
It tells how much juice is remaining in the case.
When the battery is low, the light turns orange.
White indicates that it is nearly full.
The A-Series also foregoes wireless charging, instead of charging over USB-C.
This is one of the A-Series’ major flaws in my opinion, but it’s a minor one in practice.
I have USB-C chargers all over the place.
Sound quality, features, and battery life are all important considerations.
The Pixel Buds A-Series sound identical to the Pixel Buds 2020, with the same 12-millimetre drivers.
And “spatial vent” helps create the illusion of a larger soundstage and allows in some ambient sound.
That’s terrific news because last year’s earphones were fantastic.
The highs are clean, the mids are rich.
And the bass is as expected from high-end true wireless earbuds (read: pretty good).
Although EQ settings cannot be fine-tuned, the A-series does provide a bass boost option.
If aptX or LDAC support is important to you, you’ll be disappointed.
I’m conflicted about the vent.
Google Pixel Buds A-Series: More Features
Google claims it’s to avoid the plugged-ear sensation that might occur while wearing earphones.
But that’s never troubled me.
Still, these devices are pretty comfy (assuming the stabilising fin doesn’t jab you as it does for some people).
And being able to hear some of your surroundings is important whether you’re out in the open.
Or in a professional atmosphere where you need to stay alert.
But it also means you’ll have to turn up the level more than usual to drown out the noise of the coffee shop or gym.
Which can be taxing on your ears.
This vented design is not shared by the Pixel Buds Pro.
If you value noise cancellation, those are the Google buds for you
– They’re the company’s sole pair featuring ANC to far.
My main complaint with both the 2020 Pixel Buds.
And the Pixel Buds A-Series is a continual popping.
And hissing is heard in the right earbud when media is playing at low volumes.
However, it is noticeably quieter in the newer pair.
And Google promises that not everyone will be able to hear it.
I’m not sure if that’s true, but the problem is a lot simpler to deal with at $99 than it is at $179.
Still, it’s annoying that Google hasn’t been able to fix this with upgrades.
The 2020 Pixel Buds included sensors in each earbud.
It has Vibrations!
Detect speech through the vibrations of your jawbone,”
Ostensibly to assist block out background noise when on the phone.
The A-Series lacks certain sensors, although they are perfectly adequate for audio calls.
They’re my go-to earbuds for the many Google Meet calls.
We have them at AP because they’re low-profile and difficult to see on camera.
It’s also helpful to be able to hear my surroundings quite clearly.
You can still summon the Google Assistant with a hello Google or by pressing.
And holding on either earbud to speak, something.
I was concerned wouldn’t make the transition from premium to mid-range.
That’s nice, but I wish the volume controls had found their way to the A-Series as well.
You can’t adjust the volume on the earphones without taking out your phone.
Google Pixel Buds A-Series: Final Verdict!
(We’re thrilled to see gesture controls return with the Pixel Buds Pro.)
The A-Series supports Fast Pair, which is becoming more prevalent but still valued.
On Pixel phones, simply place the A-Series case near your phone and tap to connect
– Pixel Buds software integration is baked into Google’s phones.
Fast Pair works with non-Pixels as well.
But you’ll need to install the Pixel Buds app during setup to access the more complex settings of the Buds.