Google Pixel Buds Pro: How Do They Stack Up Against the Competition?


Google’s AirPods Pro competitor, the Pixel Buds Pro, are finally here. How do they stack up against their competitors? Are they worthy successors of the original Pixel Buds? And, most importantly, are they worth the money?

Reviewers have finally gotten their hands on the highly-anticipated new gadgets, and it’s time to figure out if the Pixel Buds Pro are all Google talked them up to be.

What Works

The $200 Pixel Buds Pro are comparably-priced to the device they’re clearly angled as a direct competitor to: the AirPods Pro. The Pro version of the AirPods retail for $250, but you can usually find them on sale for $180 or so.

Like the AirPods, Google’s Pro-edition Pixel Buds feature huge sound, active noise canceling, and a secure fit in the ear. These things all work together: that secure fit helps seal the earbuds in place, which makes them sound better.

That seal also makes the noise canceling more noticeable. Since they act like pseudo-earplugs, the noise-canceling technology sounds even better. They’ve also got great battery life, and their microphones sound excellent for making phone calls. 

What Doesn’t Work

It’s not all perfect, though. The Pixel Buds Pro don’t have the spatial audio that makes the AirPods Pro work on another level. When you listen to a spatial audio-enabled song with AirPods Pro, it sounds like a surround sound system or a live concert. It’s hard to describe how cool this is, and it’s surprising that Google’s comparably-priced option isn’t equipped with this feature. 

Likewise, the Pixel Buds don’t have their full feature list unlocked for Apple users. Naturally, iOS fans are more likely to use AirPods anyway, but it’s unfortunate that the Pixel Buds are an unappealing option for them if they prefer the fit of Google’s alternative. 

The Bottom Line

If you’re an Android user looking for a great pair of earbuds that have noise canceling technology, the Pixel Buds Pro are top-notch. They’re a bit pricey, coming in at $200, but you get what you pay for.

If you’re an iOS user, though, you should really skip these. The AirPods Pro are better for Apple users in essentially every way, and they even sport some features the Pixel Buds don’t have.

When you consider that these two devices have comparable price points, the glaring oversights in the Pixel Buds’ design become even more inexcusable. Hopefully, Google will address these shortcomings in future updates. But for now, it’s tough to recommend the Pixel Buds over Apple’s AirPods Pro.