The segment of wireless headphones is one of the fiercest in technology today. It seems that the semiconductor crisis has not hit this market so hard and every few months we see the renewal of some families.
However, there are brands that are gradually (some annually and others even for longer periods) renewing their high-end families and others that are exploring segments, such as Google.
And it is that, after some Pixel Buds that had a very good integration, especially with their mobiles, and some Pixel Buds A that were somewhat more affordable, Google launches some Pixel Buds Pro that have active noise cancellation and are expensive – 219 euros – but also one of the best headphones for Android.
Sections of the analysis of the Pixel Buds Pro:
Premium on all four sides and extreme comfort
As always, we are going to start talking about the design because yes, it is important in any type of device, but in wireless headphones, I think it becomes a crucial aspect.
Here, more than the headphones themselves, the important thing is the box and Google has repeated design with a charging box that looks like an egg.
The quality of the plastic seems excellent to me, the touch is good, it has a status LED that shows you when it is charging and the best thing is that not only does it have strong magnets on the lid, but the material allows the case to slide smoothly in the pants pocket.
It is comfortable to open it with one hand and pick up the headphones. This may seem silly, but there are models that are somewhat difficult to get out (Huawei, I’m looking at you with your Freebuds).
What will cost you more at first is to leave them correctly when you want to put them in the box, since the design is identical in both and the first few times you will get confused, but hey, the magnets guide you quite comfortably.
And the headphones themselves… well, here it depends on each user, but they fit me well and don’t fall off with the larger pads (you have two other pairs in the box).
As I say, this depends a lot on each ear and my partner, for example, falls off with the three pairs of ear tips, so… well, it’s something you have to take into account (it’s true that she is very particular about headphones and other larger ones like the SoundCore Liberty 3 Pro fit like a glove).
The design of the headphones is very similar to the previous two from Google, in four colors (white, black, lime and salmon) and without the bump that the previous models had. In my opinion, it is a success.
And the truth is that they do not have much mystery. They are tiny, more similar to Samsung Buds Pro, they have three microphones, the proximity sensor to stop the content if we remove a headset and They have IPX4 protectionso you will be able to take them to the gym perfectly.
The box, by the way, has IPX2 protection. Splashes and little else, wow, but hey, at least it has some degree of protection.
Control and connectivity: perfect touch controls right out of the box
And something that has surprised me is that the quality of the Bluetooth connection is excellent. Not only does it have a super wide range, but I have not had, in these two weeks, any type of cut or failure in the reproduction of music.
I haven’t always had my mobile attached, in fact sometimes it stays in the office, which is at one end of the house, while I go to other rooms and, as I say, everything is fine.
It has Bluetooth 5.0 and I think the latency is very well controlled. For example, watching videos on the Pixel 6a I have not noticed that the sound and the video are uncoordinated, but when it comes to playing… well, a little yes.
Let’s see, it depends on the game, of course, but in Call of Duty Mobile I do notice that the sound of the shot comes to me after the muzzle flash. It’s not optimal, but for other types of titles like Genshin Impact or adventure games, you’re not going to have any problems.
On the other hand, something in which we notice that we are dealing with high-end headphones is in the controls.
By sliding on any one you change the volume, with one touch you pause, with two you pass the song and with three, you go back. They are intuitive, easy and, as I say, they work well.
Mind you, I don’t know if it’s my model or what, but if I swipe forward or backward on the right, the volume goes up or down, respectively. However, if I do it on the left, it’s inverted.
You will not be able to remap the controls, but Google lets you decide what happens if you press and hold on the left or right. Basically it is choosing between changing the cancellation mode (on, off or transparency) or calling the wizard.
I liked the quality of the transparency mode even more than the active cancellation
But hey, although the above is important, if you are reading the reviews of the Pixel Buds Pro it is for us to tell you how the sound experience was.
Well, overall, it’s very, very good. The driver is 11 millimeters and is capable of offering good bass, midrange and treble.
I have taken it with the equalizer activated (it is the only thing you can customize in sound outside of apps that have their own equalizer) and it boosts certain frequencies at low volumes. I compared how it sounds with and without… and stuck with the equalizer on.
They are, as I say, headphones that have punch and are very spectacular because it seems unbelievable that being so small they have that quality in the bass.
You can quietly turn up the volume without sound failure and Google has hit the key with the sound adjustment of these headphones, without a doubt.
However, the great novelty of this model is the active noise cancellation, and there I have to tell you that I did not like it as much as I expected.
It is a cancellation that yes, it works, you can tell when it comes into play, but when I go down the street I still hear the cars, at the airport I hear a lot of noise in the background and if they talk to me… well, I also hear, not clearly, but I do know that They are talking to me.
With other headphones in this range that does not happen. Then, I have taken them by plane and train, which is the most extreme test, and there I have to tell you that they mitigate the noise of the engines, the wind and the rattle very well.
What does this tell me? Well, the “white” and monotonous noises that are easy to mitigate, it mitigates them perfectly, but the more complicated ones, where these ranges come to light, it costs a little more.
Even so, this is my case and you may not like to isolate yourself completely, so it is something a bit subjective. What I loved, and this I did not expect, is that the sound mode that I liked the most is the transparency one.
And it is that the microphones are, I think, the best that I have tried in headphones of this type. Above those of the Sony WF1000XM4, the Huawei Freebuds Pro 2 or the Apple AirPods Pro.
They are the only ones in which I do not have to take one off if I want to have a conversation, I have passed the airport controls perfectly with the transparency mode talking to people, I have gone shopping putting the transparency mode when paying and in all situations, the sound is perfect.
I don’t usually like to turn this mode on because it’s always louder and yes the voices get better, but like I say I’m a picky eater and I end up taking off one earpiece. With these Pixel Buds Pro it hasn’t happened to me.
And another little thing that I like is that you can connect it to two devices at the same time. It’s something you have to turn on in the device settings, but I I have had them with the Pixel 6a and with the iPad Air, being able to jump from one to the other without having to re-pair.
Wireless charging and enough autonomy for a day of travel
In this price range, all sections should be practically round and the battery is, in my opinion, essential in headphones. I’ve been with them for two weeks and the experience has been very, very good, but the most revealing was a recent trip to London.
I left home with my headphones on at 11:00 and got on an AVE, a commuter train, went through the airport controls and at 14:22 I got up from the airport cafeteria to go eat something before the trip.
In those almost three and a half hours, with active noise cancellation, the battery went to 79% in the left earphone and 77% in the right. It is an extreme test due to the various noise conditions that had to be suppressed, so very, very good.
Regarding the load, Google states on its website that with 5 minutes of charging in the box, we have an hour of music playback with noise cancellation. In my tests, in those 5 minutes of charging the left one went from 79% to 86% and from 77% to 83%.
The truth is that I do not think you will run out of battery in quite demanding situations and, in addition, the box provides a fast charge. Secondly, you can charge the box by both USB-C and wireless charging.
Google enters the Olympus of high-end wireless headphones
In the end, as I mentioned a few lines ago, I think we are facing one of the best true wireless headphones on the market. for the price already I expected some headphones that I liked, but the truth is that they have exceeded my expectations in some sections.
The design is quite convenient, I like the strength of the magnets, the possibility of wireless charging and the sound quality is beyond doubt. However, what I liked the most are the controls and their precision, the transparency mode and the autonomy.
If you have a Pixel, I think they are the headphones you should buy because the integration is perfect and it’s like that duet between an iPhone and AirPods, but if you have an Android in general, it’s also a highly recommended option.
What did I not like so much? Precisely what was the great novelty of this Google bet, active noise cancellation. It’s not bad, as white noise and monotonous noise are suppressed without problem, but there are other competitors in the same price range that shine a little more in this regard.
But hey, no doubt it must be recognized that Google has launched one of the best high-end headphones market and I’m really looking forward to seeing what they have to offer in a next generation.