First announced at Google I/O 2022, the new Pixel Buds Pro are finally here. We’ve spent the last few days with it and here is our test of the new headphones from Google.
As was the case with the Google Pixel 6a, the search engine took advantage of the Google I/O 2022 last May to also announce its new headphones. And a big stroke of luck for us French people since the new Google Pixel Buds Pro are available since today in France at the official price of 219 euros. They are of course available on the Google Store but also via traditional distribution channels such as Amazon, Fnac/Darty, Boulanger, etc.
As you will have understood, the big novelty compared to the first Pixel Buds and the Pixel Buds A-Series is the arrival of active noise cancellation. The sector is very crowded but Google counts on its image and the fact that statistically, 80% of individuals prefer to buy headphones from the brand of their smartphone. In any case, we spent the last few days with it and here is our test of the Google Pixel Buds Pro.
Google Pixel Buds Pro overview and specs
When you discover the Google Pixel Buds Pro, you can’t help but see the family resemblance with the first Pixel Buds and the more affordable Pixel Buds A-Series. The case offers the same high design and when we discover the headphones, we find their rounded appearance with the G of Google. While its predecessors offered small fins for better support in the ear. The Google Pixel Buds Pro no longer offer them and use an ingenious design that fits into the ear canal. When you insert them, you will have to rotate the earpiece so that it discreetly fits the ear canal, hence its slightly long design and which made us think of Sennheiser products.
We’ve tried them on several people and it seems to work for everyone. Note, however, that the Pixel Buds Pro are smaller than the Pixel Bus A-Series. While the latter are only available in white or olive, the Pixel Buds Pro are available in 4 colors: charcoal, mist, lime green and coral. We appreciate for once the fact of having these colors, it changes the eternal black and white that we are used to seeing in the competition. For our test, we had the lime green version and if we were a little reluctant at first, we quickly appreciated this difference.
As with Sony and its recent LinkBuds S, the Google Pixel Buds Pro are small and very light. Also, we were pleasantly surprised by the comfort over a full day. We don’t forget them as quickly as those from Sony, but after a while, we don’t necessarily pay attention to them anymore because the Google Pixel Buds Pro do not weigh in the ear. The design is all round and we appreciate finding the tactile surfaces for controlling the headphones.
If we insist on these tactile surfaces, it is because the design of the headphones makes it very easy to fall on these control surfaces. Just try other headphones with a different design to see that at times, you have to grope to find the control surface. Here, it’s borderline instinctive and it becomes surprising. If we do not find a charging cable in the box, we obviously find several sizes of tips because the Google Pixel Buds Pro are in-ear.
Otherwise, to come back to the controls, it’s classic from classic with the default control of noise reduction by activating it or not via a long press. We can also configure the launch of Google Assistant with a long press. You skip tracks with a double tap and return to the previous track with a triple tap. Classic we told you. On the other hand, it is super rare to underline it. You can control the volume with the Google Pixel Buds Pro. A gesture forward or backward to manage the volume and it works without incident. Top.
We obviously find a plastic finish which is of very good quality. The plastic is matt type and therefore no unpleasant surprises with fingerprints. The case itself is relatively small and will slip easily into any pocket. We end on autonomy and in our tests, the Google Pixel Buds Pro lasted around 7 hours with active noise cancellation and above all, when connected to a Vivo X80 Pro and an Apple iPhone 13 Pro. Multipoint wasn’t a problem, and the Pixel Buds Pro also rock without a hitch. In any case, according to our tests 01Lab, it even went up at 7:14, which is excellent in real life. And finally, just to come back to the autonomy, the case also provides the equivalent of a charge and a half, which is little in itself compared to the competition but with a total autonomy of up to 20 hours with active cancellation noise and up to 30 hours without, which is more than enough.
Noise Reduction and Sound
If there is a technology that we expected from Google, it was the active noise reduction for its Pixel Buds. If we made the analogy with the photo from a smartphone, chances are that it could be promising. Also, Google’s active noise cancellation is also done thanks to a dedicated chip which runs Google’s algorithms in order to adapt the reduction according to ambient noise of course but also according to the user’s ears. Indeed, Google offers Silent Seal technology to adapt to the user’s ear canal and thus block more noise.
And unsurprisingly, active reduction is most effective. Indeed, if we recognize that it is not the best active reduction on the market when we use the reduction without multimedia content, we must recognize that it works particularly well once you start music or video. And it’s all the more impressive since these are the very first headphones with an active reduction at Google. The essential is therefore assured, we clearly remain in our bubble.
On the other hand, the Transparency mode is super convincing with a natural sound and especially without echo. Indeed, with an in-ear design, we were afraid of this plug effect in the ears when talking, but not at all. We are clearly at the level of what Apple offers, our reference in this area. Finally, we note good efficiency against the wind and this is all the more impressive since we often have the impression that the headphones first adapt to the wind before canceling it, even in Transparency mode.
If the Google Pixel Buds Pro do not yet offer Spatial Audio (it will arrive in the fall), it must be recognized that the Pixel Buds Pro deliver very good sound quality. The sound is airy and listening to hours of music is pleasant every day. From the first notes, the bass envelops the user and imposes a most appreciable rhythm, without ever falling into the boom-boom of certain brands. We are impressed. But where Google does even better is on low volumes where the bass is not masked.
Also, we resumed our tests on compositions by Ryuichi Sakamoto or Rich Bryan’s RAP without forgetting the Pop classics of the moment. We thus find a clear sound with a very precise restitution of the instruments without ever being cluttered. While we deplore the absence of a Pixel Buds application on iOS, we find it on Android or integrated into the system on Pixel smartphones. With it, we can adjust the multipoint or the equalizers (unavailable for this test).