Google Pixel Buds Professional overview: AirPods Professional, however for Android

Professional

  • Nice sound
  • Lengthy battery life
  • Deep Android integration
  • Comfy
  • ANC

Google’s first try at really wi-fi earbuds, the Pixel Buds, have been good however not nice. They lacked high-end options such because the lively noise cancellation and transparency mode present in Samsung’s Galaxy Buds and Apple’s AirPods Professional. And Google’s Pixel Buds A-Sequence, whereas extra inexpensive, did not provide any of the premium options some customers have come to count on.

With the $199 Pixel Buds Professional, delivery as of at present, Google is placing all of its {hardware} and software program smarts right into a tiny package deal. Whereas I examined the Buds Professional over the previous few days, one query saved coming to thoughts: Are these ok to be the AirPods Professional for Android followers?

Spoiler alert: I feel so.

Specs
MicrophonesThree in every earbud
SpeakerCustomized 11mm dynamic speaker driver
Connectivity:Bluetooth 5.0
Battery life w/ANC:7 hours listening, 20 hours complete with case
Battery life w/ANC off:11 hours listening, 31 hours complete with case
Options:Lively noise cancellation, transparency mode, Google Assistant
Colours:Charcoal, fog, coral and lemongrass
Water and sweat resistance:Earbuds IPX4, Case IPX2
Value:$199

Design

pixel-buds-pro-1

Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

For those who have been to make assumptions in regards to the design of the Pixel Buds Professional primarily based on the design of the charging case, you’d assume the Buds Professional seems to be like the usual Pixel Buds or Buds A-Sequence. That’s to say — the charging case for the Pixel Buds and Pixel Buds Professional seems to be nearly similar in measurement and colour.

Nonetheless, the case is wider and shorter than the outdated Pixel Buds case. There’s an indicator mild on the entrance of the case that allows you to know the charging standing or see when the Buds Professional enters pairing mode. On the underside of the case is a USB-C port for charging the case and Buds Professional. On the again of the case is a pairing button that you just maintain in for just a few seconds when it is time to pair the earbuds with a non-Android system. Additionally current, however not seen, on the again of the case is a wi-fi charging coil that means that you can place the charging case on a Qi-compatible wi-fi charging pad to high off the case and/or BudS Professional. (Talking of the case, Nomad Items already has a leather-based case for the Pixel Buds Professional case — I have been utilizing the black case for just a few days. It is nice.)

Additionally: 7 Pixel Buds Professional suggestions and methods to get probably the most out of Google’s wi-fi earbuds

The outdated Pixel Buds design contains a stabilizer arc that wraps into your ear to carry the earbuds in place, with a flat touchpad and the Google brand.

The Pixel Buds Professional, nevertheless, has ditched the stabilizer and has a wider physique that goes into your ear, with a gentle ear tip on the tip. A medium-size tip comes preinstalled on the Buds Professional, with massive and small suggestions included within the field.

When carrying the Buds Professional, the touchpad is seen, together with the Google brand and two mesh screens. The touchpad is used to work together with the earbuds and no matter you are listening to or to summon the Google Assistant.

pixel-buds-pro-screenshots-2

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

The preliminary setup and pairing of the Buds Professional will fluctuate, primarily based on the kind of system you are connecting them to. For those who’re connecting the Buds Professional to a Pixel or any Android system operating Android 6.0 or newer, all that you must do is place the charging case subsequent to your cellphone with the earbuds inside it and open the case.

Together with your cellphone unlocked and the display on, you may see an alert after a second or two asking if you wish to pair the Pixel Buds Professional to your system. After you pair the Buds Professional to at least one Android system, your Google account electronic mail tackle robotically might be linked to the Buds Professional.

Meaning you are capable of open the Buds Professional case subsequent to certainly one of your different Android gadgets and it is best to see an alert asking if you wish to use your earbuds with that system, permitting you to keep away from going by way of the setup course of once more.

On a non-Pixel cellphone, you may be prompted to put in the Pixel Buds app from the Play retailer. You utilize the Pixel Buds app to handle and management the whole lot in regards to the earbuds, together with firmware updates, altering gesture behaviors, enabling apps Google Assistant, and selecting which the Assistant will learn notifications from.

On a Pixel cellphone, the Pixel Buds app is constructed into the working system and is discovered within the Bluetooth connection settings. After utilizing the Buds Professional with a Galaxy Z Fold 3 and a Pixel 6 ProfessionalI want having a standalone app over having to dig by way of the Settings app to make minor changes.

To be truthful, there’s a widget that acts as a shortcut to view your Pixel Buds’ settings, however I nonetheless want the app itself.

Efficiency and battery life

Pixel Buds Pro

Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

The place the Pixel Buds Professional excel is with efficiency. The sound high quality on the Buds Professional is on par, to my ears at the very least, with the AirPods Professional. Properly, with one exception — the Buds Professional at the moment do not help spatial audio, a function that adjustments the route of sounds and music as you progress your head. The equalizer function within the Pixel Buds app auto-adjusts sound throughout use, making certain the whole lot sounds pretty much as good as doable in real-time.

Lively noise cancellation (ANC) is powerful sufficient to dam out the air conditioner in my workplace and my mechanical keyboard’s clickity clack whereas typing. If somebody comes into the room and talks loudly sufficient, I can hear, however it seems that the particular person is throughout the room speaking in a whisper.

Switching between ANC and transparency mode is completed by long-pressing on both earbuds’ touchpad for a second. Transparency mode allows a few of the ambient sounds round you, which is useful should you’re strolling alongside a busy highway or ready to listen to an announcement on the airport however nonetheless wish to watch a present or take heed to music.

pixel-buds-pro-screenshots-1

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Good sound high quality, robust lively noise cancellation, and a few type of transparency mode are, nevertheless, desk scraps for high-end wi-fi earbuds in 2022.

The place I discovered the Pixel Buds Professional to be most spectacular is with audio switching and multipoint connections. These two options are very related, but completely different.

Audio switching is used to change the audio supply between a number of Android gadgets that use the identical Google account. As an example, I used to be simply listening to music on my Galaxy Z Fold 3 by way of the Pixel Buds Professional, however after I acquired a name on my Pixel 6 Professional, the music on the Z Fold 3 robotically paused and I may hear the 6 Professional ringing in my ear.

An alert confirmed up on each gadgets letting me know the audio switched and that I may faucet the notification to change again to the Z Fold 3. The alert, nevertheless, did not keep obtainable for very lengthy. Possibly 10 seconds? I may swap audio again to the unique system by beginning some form of exercise that requires audio, be it watching a video or tapping play within the Apple Music app.

Multipoint connections work in an analogous approach, however as a substitute of being meant for Android-to-Android audio switching, it permits the earbuds to remain linked to 2 gadgets on the identical time and swap between them when wanted. As I write this very overview I’ve the Pixel Buds Professional linked to Apple’s new MacBook Air and the Pixel 6 Professional. I am streaming music from the MacBook Air, but when at any level I get a name, the audio supply switches to the 6 Professional. If I wish to begin streaming music on my cellphone and never the Mac, I’ve to pause the music on the MacBook Air first, then press play on the 6 Professional.

Regardless that it is an additional step to change music playback for a multipoint connection, it is a a lot sooner course of than having to dive into the Bluetooth menu and choose a tool to connect with.

There is a little bit of magic to the earbuds, as properly. The vary permits me to stroll all through my whole 3,300-square-foot home with none interference whereas my cellphone is on the centrally positioned kitchen desk. Battery life has been good, too. However the earbuds additionally robotically play or pause your music after they’re put in or eliminated out of your ears — even when linked to a Mac, which was one thing I did not count on to work in any respect.

Backside line

At $199, the Pixel Buds Professional is priced between the $249 Apple AirPods Professionaland the $149 Samsung Galaxy Buds 2. And regardless of their title implying the earbuds are just for Pixel telephones, that is not the case in any respect. I’ve linked the Buds Professional to a number of Android telephones with out a lot fanfare after which was capable of swap between gadgets with none effort on my half.

With multipoint connectivity being an choice, you’ll be able to even use the Buds Professional with a non-Android system, be it a PC, a Mac or an iPhone and keep linked to your Android cellphone of alternative.

Based mostly on sound high quality, aggressive ANC, and tight integration with Android as a complete, I feel the Galaxy Buds Professional are the wi-fi earbuds to get for Android customers.