If you have Rs 10,000 to spend on a pair of wireless earbuds, I usually blindly recommend the Oppo Enco X. It sounds great and with the basic service of the ANC, you’ve got enough to please your ears and the argument-loving part. But the technology doesn’t stay the same and after doing this with the OnePlus Buds Pro, Google brings this Pixel Buds A-Series to try to take some part in this space.
The Pixel Buds A-Series is priced at Rs 9,999, making it the most affordable Pixel branded product in India. Staying true to the design philosophy of the pixel lineup, the Buds A-Series looks beautiful as a button and it banks too much for Google Assistant to make a case for itself. But does this minimal yet smart combo work in a feature-led earbud environment from the East?
There is only one way to find out.
Google’s product team has the ability to create some unique looking hardware; Whether it’s a Pixel phone or a nest speaker, they know how to make something look fun. The same idea is carried for the Pixel Buds A-Series. It varies from egg-shaped charging case to button-shaped earbud.
The matte-white case is more resistant to external micro-scratches that dominate the face of my Enco X’s glossy surface. The case seems strong, and I’m sure the hinge will live on year after year to see more journeys in my life. A USB-C port is present for charging and while Google avoids any type of wireless charging here, it provides a USB-C one meter longer than the cable in the USB in the box. Naaaaice!
The earbuds do not have stalks but they have got silicone hooks to keep them safe in the ears. I can also guarantee a stable in-ear fit during my outdoor walks. However, the ear hooks proved to be uncomfortable for my ears for long sessions and I want Google to adjust them. After all, one size fits all. Your ears may receive them differently.
All white aesthetics look fancy but in sweaty Indian situations, you have to delete these to maintain the look. Ideally, you will get three additional eartips in the package.
The Google Pixel Buds A-Series promises rich audio quality with a custom 12mm driver. Is it just a marketing gimmick, or is there an ounce of truth? My answer is leaning towards the latter but in terms of fine balance it is still no Oppo Enco X.
Similar to the standard AirPod, the Pixel Buds A-Series is designed for a flat audio signature; That is more neutral to all audio frequencies. There is no noticeable distortion at high frequencies when the mids are strong. The lack of bass is noticeable but I witnessed excellent low end frequency breeding. If you take care of the work of that complex instrument in the background, these earbuds will be extremely satisfying.
Compared to the Oppo Enco X, I have given the Pixel Buds A-Series more emphasis on low-end frequencies. In addition, launching “Base Boost” from the Pixel Buds app transmits more power to the audio, where the thumping lightning is increased without disturbing the balance. If you’re in the mood for some rock music or EDM, I suggest turning it on.
There is no active noise cancellation but the passive system is good, especially for a quiet home / office environment. With these passive systems, you have to rely on the volume adjustment to drown out the ambient noise, where the “adaptive sound” feature is turned on. When it is turned on, the volume is automatically adjusted based on the environment – if there is a barking dog nearby, it dials it down and lowers it into a quiet room. Don’t worry, you can still adjust it manually to your advantage.
Of course, you can use your precious Pixel Buds A-Series to take calls and it doesn’t disappoint there. None of my callers have ever complained about the loss of voice quality or the problem with the volume level. It is impressive that the mics do not extend near the mouth through a stem. Looks like Google’s Dual Beamforming Mix is working in the background according to the ad.
But you have to keep an eye on the distance between your phone and earbuds. In my 1000 sq ft apartment, the Pixel Buds A-Series often struggles to catch the connection when the phone is in one room and I am on the porch.
None of the Google Assistant Pixel Buds A-Series is one of the main selling points and advertised features. When paired with an Android phone, these earbuds enhance the convenience of your ear assistant. A simple “OK Google” command will allow you to check alarms, or set reminders, or even check notifications. Yes, Google Assistant reads notifications from your phone.
You can (and should) search for Google Audio to adjust the volume level, skip the next track, and even some audio tracks. If you have a few smart lights and connected appliances, you can also order them from earbuds. There is a live translation feature that allows earbuds to listen to speakers and translate in real-time. Sadly, it still does not support the Indian language.
Touch controls are responsive and easy to realize. I want to find a way to Google to offer volume adjustments with some unique gestures; Entry-level TWS earbuds allow you to do this with complex gestures. Relying on Google Assistant to change volume in public areas attracts unwanted attention. I liked it too Serious help Activation directly from earbud.
Google has gotten right back with the pairing process, where the Pixel Buds app is involved. The setup process is initially simple because the app registers your Google Account and lets you configure the assistant to your liking. Of most companion applications from other manufacturers, this is the easiest to use. All key settings are easily accessible. You can check the latest known location of your earbuds using the “Find My Device” service from Google; If you easily lose your earbuds
You will also need the app for official software updates from Google. Remember this statement.
Because the biggest weakness of the Pixel Buds A-Series is its compatibility. You can enjoy all the smart features and tricks of the Pixel Buds A-Series on a new Android phone (Android and beyond). About 90 percent of those features are turned off as soon as you connect to an iOS device. There is no companion app on iOS, the Pixel Buds A-Series is another pair of dumb wireless earbuds.
It translates to grandchildren Serious help Mode and no Adaptive sound On the iPhone. You can only call Siri but answer on the device. There is no option to customize the gestures (this is also a problem for Android users). And, when Google releases some kind of firmware update for bug fixes or improvements, you can’t get any on your iPhone. You need to have an Android phone to get the most out of these earbuds.
Like most wireless earbuds in this price range, the Pixel Buds A-Series is strictly a one-week pair of earphones. If you make an average of two hours of music and some calls every day, you will need a charger by the end of the week (if you start with a full charge). The earbuds themselves are good enough for up to five hours and once they are back they quickly replenish. In that case, you need to keep it in the charger (meaning fully charged) until the power charger turns from orange to amber.
It’s clear that Google has designed the Pixel Buds A-Series for a particular class of users and so, those who want the most value may be looking at the OnePlus Buds Pro and the Oppo Enco X. The Pixel Buds are an alternative fashion to the A-Series representative wireless earbuds; Which focuses on next-gen smartness rather than audio subtlety.
Needless to say, it disappoints music lovers. The Pixel Buds A-Series is nice and with Serious help On turn, you can expect enjoyable moments with your favorite audio tracks. With better fit in the ear and responsive control, the practicality factor is improved.
However, you can check out the Pixel Buds A-Series for its smart features, where Google Assistant plays an important role. As the world slowly unfolds, popping these earbuds while traveling on a metro train, or wearing them in your jogging session can compliment you on many benefits. And where there is no Google service presence, the Buds does not seem to be different from the A-Series Nothing Year (1) or the OnePlus Buds Pro (iPhone users should consider Apple AirPods).
At Rs 10,000, the Pixel Buds A-Series establishes a Smart Earbuds category to enhance the hands-free experience. Unless you’re looking for a balanced audio and pro level of ANC, the Pixel Buds A-Series is an interestingly new experience that you should try.
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