Google Pixel Buds A-Series review summary:

Editor’s rating: 3.85/5

Design

Fit & Comfort

Setup & App

Sound & Call Quality

Battery

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Pros

  • Featherlight design
  • comfortable fit
  • Touch controls work great
  • IPX4 rating
  • Excellent call quality

Cons

  • Muted bass response
  • No wireless charging

Google’s Pixel Buds A series TWS are third Ear Buds by Mountain View giant. However, previous-generation TWS Ear Buds by Google never made it to India. The Pixel Buds A-Series is basically a mid-range version of the second-gen buds with almost the same features but a lower price than the 2020 buds at the time of their initial launch. 

What really sets these Google Pixel Buds A series apart from a bunch of other TWS in the market is handsfree Google Assistant integration. Yes, it has Google Assistant on board.

 While these are officially priced at Rs 9,999 you can easily pick them up around Rs. 7000 at the moment in India, but are they worth it? Let’s find out.

Pixel Buds A- Series Specs

  • Dimensions and weight: Buds: (20.7 x 29.3 x 17.5 mm), 5g (each); Charging case: (63 x 47 x 25 mm), 42g (without Buds)
  • Construction: Matte and glossy plastic, silicone stabilizers; silicone ear tips (3 sizes), IPx4 water and sweat resistance, passive noise reduction, Spatial vent,
  • Hardware: Custom 12mm sound driver; dual-beamforming microphones; proximity sensor (in-ear detection); touch controls; motion-detecting accelerometer; “Hall Effect” sensor for case close detection
  • Charging and battery: Rated 5 hours of listening time per charge, 24 total hours of playback with a fully charged case; Charges via USB-C port; 15-minute charge of Buds yields 3 hours listening time
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0; Google Assistant via touch-hold or “Hey Google” wake phrase; Notifications delivered via Assistant
  • Miscellaneous: In-call noise reduction; Automatic volume adjustment; Bass Boost; Android Fast Pair

GOOGLE PIXEL BUDS A-SERIES UNBOXING

The Pixel Buds A-Series was advertised by Google to be a perfect combination of looks, fit and audio quality along with the integration of Google Assistant. They come with 3 ear tip sizes to adjust according to your comfort along with a USB-A to USB C charging cable and a quick-start guide in the box.

GOOGLE PIXEL BUDS A-SERIES REVIEW: DESIGN AND BUILD

In looks, Pixel Buds A-Series resemble their second-gen counterpart. The 6-cm white egg-like case has a matte finish and could fit easily into my pocket, but there was always a danger of it popping out and getting lost, without my not even realizing it. This was because the charging case is feather-light, so you don’t even realize if something is kept in your pocket. The flip-up hinge is sturdy and it closes with a click, so you are sure of the case being locked.

The magnetic clasp held the case closed strongly, but don’t risk dropping it from a height as the buds can fall out of the case and get damaged. Mind you, Google charges a very high price for replacing a single bud in case it gets damaged or is lost.

The Buds are smaller and weigh a mere 5 grams each, which made me forget I was wearing them sometimes. Their maximum body is of plastic but the larger surface of the Bud is a soft matte finish, while the backside facing my ear was glossy in looks. Buds are rated IPX4 for water and sweat resistance, so I didn’t have to worry about a few drops of water falling on them or protect them in humid weather.

Each Bud has a primary microphone at the bottom and a noise reduction mic at the top that made my audio clearer during group calls. It has a wear sensor onboard which automatically paused my song if the bud was pulled out of my ear.

GOOGLE PIXEL BUDS A-SERIES REVIEW: DESIGN AND BUILD

For me, fit and comfort are as important as features audio quality of earbuds. If the device doesn’t fit in my ear, it’s inconvenient and doesn’t let me enjoy the music I am listening to. If we talk about the fit of the A-Series Buds with its stabilizer arc wings fits, fit my ears really well.

It comes with 3 sizes of ear tips that make them comfortable to use for most people, including me. I could easily use them for long durations without any discomfort. If the Stabilizer arc is not apt for your ear, then be careful while working out, as excessive sweat might cause them to slide out. The bottom line is that I found the Pixel Buds A Series comfortable to wear even for long hours.

GOOGLE PIXEL BUDS A-SERIES REVIEW: SETUP, APP & ASSISTANT

Setting up the Pixel Buds A-Series is easy for Android devices as they come with a Fast Pair feature. My Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra could detect them in a blink and run seamlessly in tandem with it. One minor issue is that the buds don’t support multi-point pairing, which means I had to manually pair it each time I wanted to switch from using my phone to using my laptop. Pixel Buds can be paired with IOS devices too, but Android devices and much easier and faster to connect. Some people might think that they would work best with Pixel phones, but that isn’t the case. For Non-Pixel Android phones, all the features and controls of the buds are accessible from Pixel Buds Application. Changing settings, finding a lost bud by ringing it, and downloading updates can easily be managed from the app. Managing the settings with an Android device is much more advisable.

One of the main selling points for Pixel Buds is their integration with Google Assistant and rightfully so because its implementation with Android is amazing. It helped me listen to the notifications I got and allowed me to reply to important messages while I worked, both these without touching my phone. You can use your Google Assistant to set reminders, alarms, ask about the latest headlines, check weather updates, live-match updates, etc. Google Assistant integrated with Pixel Buds A-Series even allows you to dial a contact to chat over a voice call.

Just press and hold either Bud, wait for a beep sound, and then start speaking. As soon as you let the bud go, your query is submitted. They even listen to the wake phrase “Hey Google” like your smartphone, if you can’t use your hands at the moment. When you are done listening to what you asked for, tap the bud to resume playback.

The response time taken by Google is about 3 seconds or longer depending upon your internet connection. Also, there’s an advantage for those who travel a lot, if you are traveling to a place where language is a barrier, then these buds help you translate too. You can ask the Buds to ask Google “Help me speak (a supported language)”. I tested Russian translation as my mom knows the language and it worked well. The translation is quick and mostly accurate with one or two words going haywire sometimes.

The interface of the buds is kept very simple and there are practically no options to change the touch controls of the Pixel Buds. Some settings that can be toggled on/off are-

  •  In-ear detection- buds automatically play or pause playback when a bud is removed or inserted into the ear.
  • Adaptive sound– Buds can adjust volume based on the noise around them.
  • Bass Boost– It makes bass and sub-bass more pronounced.
  • Touch controls– you can enable or disable touch controls.
  • Play starts sound-The audio blip that plays when you say the wake phrase can be chosen.
  • Google Assistant– “Hey Google” enables the assistant to be woken up by a wake phrase.

Out of all these, Adaptive sound was the most useful feature for me. It gradually adjusts the volume depending upon the noise around you. In a noisy and crowded area, volume rose gently so that my music experience doesn’t get obstructed. It also adjusted back to normal level when I came back on the silent street near my house.

This feature can be disabled by you and itself remains temporarily disabled until the soundscape changes and needs adjustment. I also observed that bass boost and ambient noise shortens battery life.

GOOGLE PIXEL BUDS A-SERIES REVIEW: AUDIO & CALLING

Whenever one uses an audio device, the first thing anyone wants is good sound quality. In my case Pixel, Buds A-Series delivered balanced sounds with clear mids and highs. Lows and bass are not that impressive, but the bass boost option helped when I needed punchy lows. Trebles varied depending upon the type of music I heard (classical ragas sounded better), but the buds are excellent for listening to podcasts and dialogues.

If you consider the pricing, the Pixel Buds A-Series will impress most of the consumers with their good audio quality especially when the Bass boost is enabled. Otherwise, the sound is well balanced and both highs and lows sound good. The Buds operate on the AAC codec on both Android and IOS and each bud can be independently connected, so I didn’t have to use both together.

The noise reduction feature was very useful as I could make calls from busy streets too without having to worry about the noise in the background.

GOOGLE PIXEL BUDS A-SERIES REVIEW: BATTERY LIFE CONNECTIVITY

Now, let’s talk about another important feature which is battery life. It gets annoying for me if I have to charge my buds frequently and thankfully this was not the case with Pixel Buds A-Series. They are rated for 5 hours of playback on a single charge and a total of 24 hours with a charging case. In my experience, Pixel Buds A-Series lost their charging by around 16% for every hour of listening time while using both buds. For me, they lasted about 19 hours of playback time on a full charge. The case could be charged with a USB-C but wireless charging is not available.

Although this year’s Pixel Buds have updated radios for better audio stability, still I faced connection drop-offs leading to disconnection, which was followed by immediate reconnection while playing music that happened every time, I used Google Assistant. This could be a result of my unstable and weak internet connection too.

REVIEW VERDICT: SHOULD YOU BUY PIXEL BUDS A-SERIES?

Expert rating: 3.85/5

Before I can give my verdict, let me tell you about some of the competitors for Pixel Buds A-Series, Entry level AirPods by Apple work well with iPhones but are costlier while the Amazon Echo Buds offer a good sound quality, but are slightly costlier than Buds A-Series. Samsung’s Galaxy Buds+ is priced the same as Pixel Buds A-Series, and they offer some added features but the Pixel Buds app and package are more user-friendly. Then there is OnePlus Buds Pro, OPPO Enco X which deliver more vibrant sound just like Galaxy Buds+ but lacks assistant support.

I would give Pixel Buds A-Series a thumbs up for their good sound quality, excellent call quality, and great integration with the Google Assistant. Battery life is good enough and their seamless working with Android devices makes it a smart buy for me.

Reasons to buy

  • Featherlight design
  • comfortable fit
  • Touch controls work great
  • IPX4 rating
  • Excellent call quality

Reasons to not buy

  • Muted bass response
  • No wireless charging

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