The Pixel Buds Pro sit at the top of Google’s line of earbuds while the Pixel Buds A-series are the cheapest, but which of these two earbuds are worth buying? The launch of the Pixel Buds Pro marks Google’s latest attempt at making premium truly wireless earbuds, and it did get a lot of things right this time around.
The Pixel Buds A-series were announced in 2021 as a cheaper version of the second-generation Pixel Buds. Despite being cheaper than their $159 sibling, they are considered the better pair of earbuds as they don’t suffer from the issues that plagued the Pixel Buds 2. In fact, Google discontinued the Buds 2 following the launch of the Pixel Buds A-series.
In terms of design, the Pixel Buds Pro and Pixel Buds A-Series have some similarities. To start with, they are both closed-fit earbuds with interchangeable silicon tips and IPX4 water-resistance rating. Plus, both come in a white oval carrying case. However, the Pixel Buds Pro are heavier at 6.2 grams per bud and don’t have stabilizer arcs like the Pixel Buds A-series. They are also available in four colors – Charcoal, Fog, Lemongrass, and Coral. In contrast, the Pixel Buds A-Series weigh 5.1 grams per bud and are sold only in two colors – Clearly White and Dark Olive.
The Pixel Buds Pro have custom-designed 11mm dynamic drivers whereas those inside the Pixel Buds A-Series are bigger at 12mm. While the cheaper Pixel Buds A-Series only have passive noise reduction, the more expensive Pixel Buds Pro have active noise cancellation (ANC) and a transparency mode. They also have sensors for active in-ear pressure detection. On the other hand, the Pixel Buds A-Series have a spatial vent for reducing in-ear pressure. Both earbuds have capacitive touch sensors for playback, calls, and assistant controls. In addition, there are IR sensors on both models for in-ear detection. However, only the Pixel Buds Pro have a gyroscope which will come in handy when Google rolls out the promised update to bring spatial audio.
Other features common to both earbuds are hands-free access to the Google Assistant for directions, live translations, and a handful of other voice-based commands. Both earbuds have impressive battery life but the Pixel Buds Pro once again win this round. They have a listening time of up to 11 hours on a single charge, which goes up to a total of 31 hours with the carrying case. However, when ANC is turned on, they offer seven hours of listening time and a total of 20 hours with the charging case. In contrast, the Pixel Buds A-Series will provide five hours of use on a single charge and last up to 24 hours with the charging case.
While both cases have a USB-C port for charging and support fast charging — a 15-minute charge will provide up to three hours of listening time — only the Pixel Buds Pro support Qi wireless charging. Google doesn’t ship the earbuds with a charger in the box but the Pixel Buds A-Series are bundled with a USB-C to USB-A charging cable. The two pairs of earbuds have Bluetooth 5.0, Fast Pair, Find My Device support, and are compatible with Android, iOS, and Windows devices. There is also a companion app for Android and iOS users. However, the Pixel Buds Pro are the only model in the Pixel Buds series with support for Bluetooth Multipoint.
The Pixel Buds Pro have a $199 price tag which is double the $99 selling price of the Pixel Buds A-series. Google tries to justify the $100 difference with features such as ANC, spatial audio (coming soon), Bluetooth Multipoint, longer battery life, and wireless charging. While these features may be important for a lot of people, not everyone considers their absence a dealbreaker, which is where the cheaper Pixel Buds A-Series come into the equation. For those who can afford the extra $100 though, the Pixel Buds Pro are the clearly better option.