In the Pixel Buds A-Series, I have finally found buds that do not break the bank, that come in with high-quality audio, great battery life, long wearability, and most important — a connection to Google Assistant.
- Fantastic audio quality
- Comfortable fit
- Great battery life
- Google Assistant integrated
As an avid Pixel phone user, I was excited that Google developed its own earbuds. I sat out on their first iteration of the true wireless version but jumped in with the Google Pixel Buds A-Series. The idea of wireless buds designed to work with my phone is an exciting idea for a non-iPhone user. The last week, both my son and I have put them through their paces.
Pixel Buds A-Series is the new version of wireless buds from Google, but they are not meant to be viewed as an upgrade to the Pixel Buds, more as a less expensive version (by $80!) of the 2nd generation wireless Pixel Buds that came out last year. Similar to the way Pixel releases its flagship phones in the fall and then in the next year releases their “a” series smartphones minus a few of the flagship features but at a more budget-friendly price.
These $99 buds are designed to bring great sound and Google Assistant integration for a more affordable price. Some features were left out from the Pixel Buds 2 to achieve this price, but are they enough to avoid this version? You decide, as the two main features left out are wireless charging and swipe controls on the buds.
At first glance, the Pixel BudsA-Series looks super similar to its more expensive, older sibling. There are some slight coloring differences, but the size and look are essentially the same. The A-Series do come in a bit lighter, and the fit is actually improved with a more pliable piece that helps it stay in your ears. The battery case is the same size, but it has some small differences, obviously since there is no wireless charging feature.
The Pixel Buds A-Series may be less expensive than last year’s Pixel Buds, but they have a premium feel, fit, and finish. I was surprised by how small the buds are, which is a great discovery, and they are super light. The medium size earpiece fit me fine, while my 14-year-old son found the small earpiece fits him better. There should be plenty of size options to make sure the buds fit comfortably and correctly. I have worn these for hours, and they are super comfortable. No ear fatigue has been experienced, and I can barely tell they are in my ears.
If used with Android, the Pixel Buds A-Series are always connected to Google Assistant. Just say “Ok Google” and control the volume or any other task used with the assistant. I’ve had no issues changing the volume with my phone.
When alerts come in, the assistant will let you know and give options to reply. This feature can be adjusted in settings, but I love the option. Updates can also be checked with a tap and hold of the bud until you hear a tone. The Assistant will then give the time and read any new notifications. Tap controls do work to change tracks. One tap= play/pause; two taps move the track forward; three taps move the track back.
The charging case is the same size as the Pixel Buds 2. I find the size and shape to be fantastic. It easily fits in a pocket and feels comfortable in hand. Of course, the lid still has a nice open and close fidget feel, and the matte finish feels great.
My Pixel Bud A-Series is among my all-the-time pocket items with my wallet and pocket knife. While there is no wireless charging, the Pixel Bids A-Series are charged with USB-C, which I prefer for all devices. The case gives the buds 24 hours of playtime between chargings.
All of these features are fine and dandy, but how do they sound? I am happy to say the Pixel Buds A-Series sound amazing. Great bass response mixed with clean mids and crisp highs. The sound quality actually surprised me, and I went in with high hopes. After listening to many genres of music, watching videos, and several calls, I can say the sound quality is amazing across the board. Even though there is no active noise canceling, I found the seal of the buds blocked out ambient sound just fine.
I anxiously awaited the Pixel Buds A-Series with high hopes. As a value-minded tech user, the idea of affordable buds with premium sound and features is exciting. We have two pairs in our house, and neither my son nor I have experienced any connection issues or problems.
The Pixel Buds A-Series are light, comfortable, and the long battery life has got me through several yard mowings and some ranch work without issue. My son has used his to watch videos and games and raves about their quality and comfort.
In the Pixel Buds A-Series, I have finally found buds that do not break the bank, that come in with high-quality audio, great battery life, long wearability, and most important — a connection to Google Assistant. I always joke with my wife that if I have pants on, I have my pocket knife, and now I can add that I also have my Pixel Buds A-Series. Bottom line, I love the Pixel Buds A-Series and highly recommend them.
The Google Pixel Buds A-Series sells for $99; they are available directly from the manufacturer.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample plus a personally purchased pair
What I Like: Affordable; Fantastic audio quality; Comfortable fit; Great battery life; Google Assistant integrated
What Needs Improvement: Nothing so far!