Thursday, July 16, 2020
Google Pixel Buds vs AirPods Pro for an iPhone user - review
The plastic case is a matt white finish that looks great. The lid is held with a magnet and flips open easily. Two LEDs light up white. The bottom of the case has a USB-C charging port. (I am a big fan of the future world where everything is USB-C). The case is a similar size and shape to the AirPods case and would be as comfortable in a pocket.
With the case open, but the buds still in there, the phone’s Bluetooth screen showed them and they quickly paired. (Contrary to the instructions, I didn’t need to hold the pairing button, maybe that’s needed for additional pairing).
The shape seems a little weird and they distinguish themselves from iPods by having an upward projection compared to Apple’s downward stork. They are very comfortable in my ears.
Compared to AirPods pro, the Pixel Buds seem to have a little more bass and a little less top end. They sound fine.
Latency, the delay in sound, is much longer than with AirPods. Typing on the keyboard on the phone shows this clearly. Latency is not a problem when listening to music and it’s certainly well under half a second so won’t be a problem on calls but my guess is that Apple is doing some of their technology stack magic to win the latency war.
Removing an AirPod from your ear pauses playback, the Pixel Buds don’t do this - a feature I miss.
AirPods Pro have noise cancelling, which Pixel Buds do not but the ear seal seems ok except in busy streets. I do like the noise cancelling and transparency modes that AirPods Pro have but you do pay in both price and battery life for these features.
The microphones I tested by recording in the Voice Memo app. They sound clear and, I think, better than the mic system in AirPods Pro for a straight recording.
In summary, The Google Pixel Buds are a quality in-ear headphone with good sound. The volume control gesture is welcome but the lack of noise cancelling and fold-back made them not quite as good in phone calls on an iPhone.
Pixel Buds are AU$279 from Google compared to AirPods Pro at AU$400 so I think they are an excellent headphone for the price.
My thanks to Google for supplying a review unit.