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Google Pixel Buds Pro

Pros

  • Great sound and good ANC
  • IPX4 certified
  • Solid battery life

Cons

  • Only Bluetooth 5.0
  • High price

The Pixel Buds Pro promise great sound and good ANC. We test whether the Bluetooth headphones from Google are worth their high price.

Google wants to supply its customers entirely from one source. They should be able to make phone calls with a Google Pixel 6, work on a Chromebook and stream music via Youtube. The only thing missing is really good earphones – and the Google Pixel Buds Pro is supposed to step into this breach. Unlike the Pixel Buds A, which comes free with many Google smartphones, the Buds Pro rely on active noise cancellation.

However, this also increases the price – Google is entering the realms of audio brands like Sennheiser or Sony and, of course, Apple’s competitors. Therefore, the Google Pixel Buds Pro must show in the test whether they are worth the high price or you would instead reach for others.

Design

The Pixel Buds Pro are compact earbuds and come not only in crisp colours but also with a surprisingly large carrying case. This consists mainly of a rechargeable battery so that the earbuds always have enough juice if possible. The headphones themselves are pleasantly small and fit well in the ear.

Technical data

Google relies on Bluetooth 5.0 for the Pixel Buds Pro. Although the standard is no longer up to date (currently 5.2, cutting edge is 5.3), it is still helpful for everyday use. It is a pity. However, that sound only comes in High-Res via AAC; LDAC support would have been nice here. Why Google uses the favourite codec of its competitor Apple and not, for example, aptX, LDAC or LHC is questionable. A more modern Bluetooth stack would also have been worthwhile here; from version 5.2, you can use the codec LC3. Too bad. More about the codecs in the ANC, Codecs & Bluetooth guide: What a good headphone must be able to do.

The rest of the data is solid. Active noise cancellation is on board, distinguishing Pixel Buds Pro from the Pixel Buds A. Google Fastpair and a multi-point function can also be switched on or off in the app. The headphones are IPX4 protected against water. The case can be charged via USB-C or wirelessly via Qi. We show suitable charging stations in the Top 10: Wireless Qi chargers from 10 euros.

Setup

Thanks to Fastpair, the headphones connect directly to an Android smartphone if they have not yet established pairing. This also works wonderfully; you can also have the associated app installed during the setup.

It’s nice that you can check the fit of the headphones within the app. This helps when choosing the right headphone attachments. We also like that you can search for the headphones via Android’s “Find my Phone” app. However, the devices do not radio themselves but show the location where they were last connected in each case. If the headphones are outside the charging cradle, you can also make them ring.

Operation & App

The Pixel Buds Pro rely entirely on touch operation but fortunately sticks to simple standards. One tap stops or starts playback, and two taps skip forward one track, and three taps skip back one track. In addition, you can swipe forwards or backwards to adjust the volume. This works comfortably and is easy to remember.

The functions can all be adjusted and optimised via the Pixel Buds app. You can also switch Multipoint on or off or determine what should happen when you press the touch surface for a long time. We also recommend the installation to check the earbuds’ fit or update the firmware.

Similar to the Amazon Echo Buds (review), the Google Pixel Buds Pro is optimised for use with the virtual assistant, but in this case, the Google Assistant is used. The communication via the wake-up word “OK, Google” works well, so you can have the title of the currently playing song announced. So if you use the virtual assistant, you can let off steam here.

Sound & ANC

The Google Pixel Buds Pro play in the upper class regarding sound. It is simply fun to listen to your playlist with them. This is especially true if you have a high-quality playback service or High-Res audio files. Even without codecs like LDAC, the details come through beautifully. The bass is present but does not cover the mids and highs. Even without a dedicated equaliser, they offer a balanced sound across all music genres.

Text, for example, in audiobooks or podcasts, is audible. This also applies to videos, which arrive in the ear without delay, even without aptX.

The active noise cancellation works well, especially in the office or on the underground. You are nicely isolated from your surroundings (or noisy colleagues) and can concentrate on your work. However, you will quickly notice a clear wind noise if you are out and about with them. Unlike the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 or the Edifier Neobuds Pro S, there is no anti-wind mode. In this price range, that’s a shame. ANC can be switched on or off by a long press on the left or right bud, but we would have preferred an announcement like “ANC On” instead of a generic sound.

Battery life

Depending on the volume, the headphones with ANC last between six and seven hours at a stretch, plus two charges from the case. That’s a good value.

Conclusion

The Google Pixel Buds Pro are good in-ear headphones, no question. However, the high price of over 200 euros RRP sends them into competition with other high-end devices, first and foremost the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 (review). And here, it is unfortunately noticeable that Google has saved on many little things. This starts with the lack of alternatives to AAC (why no LDAC or LHC?), continues with ANC (in this price range, there are now anti-wind functions) and ends with the Bluetooth used.

Google could have dared to do more, for example, to position the Pixel Buds Pro as showcase headphones for Bluetooth 5.3 and the new audio codec LC3. This could also be done with Bluetooth 5.2 – which is also integrated into the new Pixel 6 smartphones. Google could have played out its technical gadgets here and offered customers real high-tech.

★★★★★

Google Pixel Buds Pro – Wireless Earbuds – Bluetooth Headphones – Charcoal

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Price History

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Current Price -
Highest Price £199.00 November 30, 2023
Lowest Price £109.99 February 7, 2024
Since April 11, 2023

Last price changes

£109.99 February 7, 2024
£135.44 February 2, 2024
£173.09 February 1, 2024
£148.58 January 2, 2024
£137.56 December 31, 2023
5/5 (1 Review)

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Richard Garrett

Richard Garrett

As an expert on the latest techy stuff, the primary focus is PCs and laptops. Much of his time is split between smartphones, tablets and audio, focusing on the latest devices.
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