Google Pixel Buds Pro review: a sound investment

The Pixel Buds Pro is a premium pair of TWS earphones from Google

Google has been kind to us this year. A bunch of its devices, launched previously in the US and other countries, are making their way to Indian shores. Within the past few months, we’ve seen devices like the Pixel 6a (review), Nest Cam with Battery (review), and more recently, Chromecast with Google TV (review). And now, the Google Pixel 7 series smartphones have landed too. Before we check those out in detail, it’s time to take a look at the Pixel Buds Pro, the premium TWS buds that bring along an interesting design and a bunch of features.


The Pro model of Google’s TWS offering follows the same design language seen previously on the Pixel Buds A-Series. The case is smooth, white, and pebble-like, and quite compact too. There’s a tiny LED that indicates battery status in the front, a Type-C port at the bottom, and a pairing button at the back. The spring-loaded lid closes with a satisfying click, and overall, the case exudes a solid fit and finish. In keeping with the Pro moniker, the buds come with a ton of features, including active noise cancellation and wireless charging. In fact, Google doesn’t even include a charging cable in the box. You do get differently-sized rubber tips to ensure optimum fit though. Worth mentioning that the buds are IPX4 rated, so sweat and little drizzles shouldn’t pose any problems.


Speaking of, the fit is great right out of the box, at least for me. You see, while the exterior of the buds looks very similar to the A-Series and can be had in a variety of colours, the Pixel Buds Pro feature an elongated, tube-like design and angled tips that fit very nicely into the ear canal, with more stability added by the rubber tips. Not just that, they’re extremely comfortable too and can be worn for long periods without any issues.


Thanks to support for Google Fast Pair, pairing these with your smartphone is a breeze. The Pixel Buds app, downloadable via the Play Store, gives you additional functionality. In case you’re the proud owner of a Pixel smartphone, you don’t need to download this app, as the capabilities it provides are already baked in. However, you’re out of luck if you’re an iPhone owner, since the Pixel Buds app isn’t available on iOS. While the buds pair just fine with an iPhone (using the pairing button on the back), I think the sound quality feels a little flat.

The sound quality otherwise is fantastic. But first, a look at some of the features. The Pixel Buds Pro support a bunch of touch controls, and some of them are actually quite intuitive to use. For example, you can swipe forward and backwards on the smooth exterior of the buds to control volume, which I think is much more intuitive than the fiddly controls I’ve experienced with many other TWS offerings. The downside to these swiping gestures is that you run the risk of dislodging the buds from your ears, so that’s something to keep in mind. With the app, you can customise some of these controls, update firmware, set up the Google Assistant, set the ANC modes and enable features like Volume EQ, audio switching and multipoint.

Volume EQ boosts the bass and treble on lower volumes, and based on my experience, works very well too…, especially for bass. Multipoint is super useful too, allowing you to connect the buds to two Bluetooth devices at the same time.

Moving on to ANC, the Pixel Buds Pro do a good job of drowning out ambient noise. The buds work especially well for low-pitched sounds, and while the noise cancellation doesn’t match the offerings from Sony or Bose, it’s still pretty good. The same is true for the audio quality. There’s an 11mm dynamic driver on board, along with Bluetooth 5.0 and support for SBS and AAC codecs. The bass response is tight without being too overpowering, and the Pixel Buds Pro work well for a variety of music genres. Instrument separation is great as well, and overall, they’re quite energetic to listen to. That said, the mids could be a tad better and audiophiles might find detail lacking a bit because of missing hi-res support. Also, while the microphone does a fair job for calls, it does feel it needs a bit of improvement in terms of clarity.


The Pixel Buds Pro are rated for up to 7 hours of listening time with ANC on, and based on my testing, they seemed to live up to that claim too. The case is supposed to add another 13 hours with ANC on, and last a whopping 31 hours in total if you keep ANC off. That’s pretty good if you ask me.

Verdict


The Google Pixel Buds Pro are priced at Rs 19,990, and that puts them in the premium league, right up against offerings from Apple, Samsung, and others. While Apple users would lean towards the new 2nd-gen AirPods Pro, Android users looking for a premium pair of comfortable, good-sounding TWS buds can consider the Google Pixel Buds Pro. All said and done, I certainly enjoyed my time with the Pixel Buds Pro and feel they’re worthy of close consideration.

Editor’s rating: 4 / 5

Pros:

  • Tight bass
  • Good sound quality and ANC
  • Intuitive controls
  • Feature-rich

Cons:

  • No hi-res support
  • No iOS app
  • Pricey