Sales of TWS, or wireless earbuds, have soared in recent times. The market for the device in India alone jumped 60% in Q1 2022, compared to the same period last year, according to Counterpoint research. Companies are actively pushing products one after another. In the subcontinent, the product’s price bandwidth ranges between ₹2,000 and ₹20,000.
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Google has introduced its fourth gen Pixel Buds Pro, along with the Pixel 6a phone. The earbuds are on the premium end of the spectrum at ₹19,990. We received a pair to review, and spent a good amount of time with the product to tell you how it felt.
Google has designed the Buds Pro in the usual format, having a pebble-like case with the buds inside the oval shaped nests. The design is neat and the build quality feels sturdy in its matte finish. The case comes with a Type-C port which is convenient to charge, and a physical reset button on the back. It will help in connecting to new devices. The front has an LED that blinks when the case is opened up. It indicates pairing and battery status as well. The orange light suggests that the buds are low on battery whereas the white blinking light confirms it is fully charged.
The buds have a peculiar design as well; they look more like a mouse when placed on flat surfaces. They don’t really go very deep into the ear canal and thus avoid in-ear pressure. In my case they fit well enough, but I had to adjust them or push deeper while on the move. The Buds themselves are lightweight and easy to wear; they are water and sweat resistant, and hence have a wide variety of use cases.
The Pixel Buds Pro pairs with two devices simultaneously, but can be used with only one at a time. I have been using it on Android and iOS without any hiccups. Google’s fast pairing makes it connect in a second with Android devices.
The Fast Pair app lets users select other functions for the Buds as well and is handy to have on the playback device. There is a Pixel Buds app that collects statistics regarding the seal check. This will suggest tips and tricks for an immersive audio experience. You can also use the Google Assistant on the buds with a tap, after setting it up on the app first.
The Google Pixel Buds Pro has a remarkable active noise cancellation (ANC) feature that is intelligent in many ways. The transparency mode makes it the preferred TWS for a long period of use. The ANC works perfectly on the Pixel Buds Pro to cut out the extra noise. Even the swirling of air couldn’t pass through it, which makes it a suitable choice for office calls. The transparency mode is similar to an open-air design, which we noticed in the Sony LinkBuds. It allows some ambient noise to make us aware of the surroundings, without amplifying it.
The touch controls on the buds are responsive as well. You can control the volume, skip tracks and trigger the Assistant with the Pixel Buds Pro, thanks to a sensitive interface. The volume can be adjusted by swiping forward and backward on the buds. Tap once to play or pause the audio and to answer a call. Do it twice for the next song or to reject the call. For the previous track, you have to tap it thrice.
Sound output on the Pixel Buds Pro is fine. You won’t get very discerning clarity where you can distinguish between the instruments, but overall, the feeling is conveyed. The Pixel Buds Pro is meant for daily users and not very ardent audiophile buyers, where details matter. Having said that, the audio on the Buds Pro is pleasing to say the least. The bass and treble are present but do not expect them to go along with higher levels of volume.
The Google Pixel Buds Pro goes for seven hours of playtime. The case stores an additional 12 hours for them to go on for a longer duration as required. The buds get charged quickly and even a 10-15 minutes charge is good enough to give it an hour of playback. The Pixel Buds Pro supports wireless charging as well, but takes ages to charge completely.
The Google Pixel Buds Pro offers high quality ANC along with seamless pairing, good battery life and a pleasing audio. The transparency mode adds an additional layer for listeners to use it for long periods of time. The call clarity on the Pixel Buds Pro is great as well.
Despite these features, Google Pixel Buds Pro falls in a difficult terrain of premium TWS where competition is brutal and tastes are more refined and developed.