With any gadget, there’s always a delicate tightrope to walk when it comes to price and performance. Google Pixel Buds A-Series earbuds are no exception. Priced to sell quickly, broadly, and to any music fan, the A-Series cost just $79 (slashed $20 off the usual price) and, in order to appreciate them, you really have to think about the trade-offs and benefits.
For starters, this is not meant as an audiophile music product. Look the other way, Tidal fans. There’s nothing to see (or hear) with this earbud set. I am not saying the audio quality is super disappointing, but for $79, you will not be rocking the best pair of earbuds ever made.
What you will find is that the earbuds fit really snugly in your ear. On several bike rides, I had no trouble listening to an audiobook and music on a long route, never thinking even for a second that the A-Series buds would fall out. Due to the snug fit, the sound does pour into your ears nicely. Without any retrofitting or repositioning, I found that the A-Series fit almost like they were made for my ears. I could hear everything clearly with no problems.
The buds include three ear tip sizes, and there’s a stabilizer arc (which is what Amazon calls it, anyway) that sits inside your ear to keep everything comfortable and secure.
You can press and hold on the earbud to talk to Google, which is handy because I use an iPhone but sometimes prefer the Google Assistant. It’s mostly a personal preference thing. The Siri voice sometimes bugs me (even though I know I can change it). At any rate, I did find myself talking to Google more than I do on my AirPods Pro set.
For battery life, don’t expect too many miracles. The earbuds last about five hours for music. That matches what I experienced on those bike rides. Unlike some cheaper or lesser known earbuds I’ve tested, I wasn’t unpleasantly surprised to discover that the earbuds were dead right as I was heading out on the bike. Google says the buds last about 2.5 hours for talking.
Most of us buy earbuds for the music, and I will say that $79 is about what I would pay for the quality here. I listened to an artist named Nea that’s heavy on synth and programmed drums. Since I usually listen to music on AirPods Pro second gen earbuds, I found the music to be a bit washed out on the Pixel Buds A-Series set, which is honestly what I’d expect. There’s a huge difference in price. I also listened to Wilco, one of my favorite bands, and listened closely for flourishes and vocal parts I know well. On the A-Series, there just isn’t the same distinct quality as other earbuds that cost more. Again, not big surprises there.
So here’s where it stands. The Google Pixel Buds A-Series earbuds are worth the $79 they are priced at now online. No question. They fit snugly, allow you to talk to Google, last a long time, and provide enough oomph for music and podcasts to accomplish the goal. The quality is great in terms of the build and construction; this is a Google product, it will last.
You won’t be blown away by the sound quality. You will really like saving a few hundred when it comes to earbuds that deliver sonically pleasing audio re-production. That’s the big win here.
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