Google’s Pixel Buds
have come a long way since their launch back in 2018. The first generation of Pixel-branded wireless headphones from the multinational technology behemoth was hit-and-miss. Some liked them, but others criticized various aspects of Google’s first attempt at a pair of headphones, including their bulky, unconventional design.
Despite arriving two years after the launch of Apple’s first-generation AirPods
, they felt like a step backward in many regards. Seeking to make amends, Google eventually set to work on their successor. With that, and a further two years later, the second generation of Google Pixel Buds arrived.
Less unfamiliar-looking than their predecessor, Google’s second attempt was decidedly more conventional. This time, reviews were overwhelmingly positive
, too. However, up against increasingly stiff competition from Apple and Samsung, they failed to gain significant traction in an increasingly competitive market for wireless headphones and earbuds.
Another 12 months on, and Google is at it again. Hoping for success the third time around, the brand’s latest incarnation of Pixel Buds A-Series
, has now landed.
‘A’ for Affordable: Google Pixel Buds A-Series
Costing just $99, Google’s all-new Pixel Buds A-Series set themselves up nicely in terms of pricing.
Significantly undercutting both Apple and Samsung, they’re also far cheaper than the 2020 model Pixel Buds, which still retail at $179
. The tech giant, it seems, is marketing its latest Pixel Buds as a no-nonsense version of last year’s design, rather than a replacement model.
Yet, despite only promising pared-down features compared to their more expensive stablemate, you’d struggle to tell them apart. Looks-wise, they’re almost identical. On paper, they’re fractionally smaller and a touch lighter.
Google will tell you that the standard Pixel Buds are technically superior. However, only a serious audiophile would be able to pinpoint the differences in reality. The A-Series Pixel Buds are designed to sound full, clear, and natural. That definitely comes through in testing
, with a good amount of bass and treble that’s not too harsh.
In order to cut costs, Google has also foregone wireless charging on the A-Series variant. A testament to the overall package, that is, perhaps, the only significant concession to money-saving that potential buyers may take objection to.
Google Pixel Buds vs. Google Pixel Buds A-Series
So, should you buy Google’s all-new A-Series wireless headphones over the brand’s premium Pixel Buds offering? The short answer is: Yes. Unless wireless charging is important to you, the general consensus is that the A-Series Pixel Buds from Google are a no-brainer. First of all, they’re $80 cheaper.
One conceivable criticism is that both models only offer five hours of battery life. While this is the same as Apple’s industry-leading AirPods, it puts all three pairs of wireless earbuds behind much of the competition.
For example, it’s less than half of what you’ll get with the latest Samsung models. Still, both Google’s Pixel Buds and Pixel Buds A-Series offer another 19 hours of listening time thanks to the charge stored in their cases.
This similarity is just another one of several areas, in fact, where the costlier Pixel Buds fail to outshine their cheaper A-Series counterpart.
Google Pixel Buds A-Series Verdict
At less than $100, it’s impossible not to see the appeal of the A-Series Pixel Buds. While they’re aimed squarely at Android users, they work well with any device capable of handling Bluetooth 4.0 or greater.
There’s no active noise-canceling, and they’re unlikely to tempt die-hard Apple fans away from their $249 AirPods Pro. But at just $99, that’s not what Google’s new Pixel Buds A-Series are all about.
While the Google Pixel Buds A-Series may lack some of the design finesse of pricier earbuds, they’re well-constructed and available in a choice of white or off-gray, dark olive hues.
All told, Google’s Pixel Buds A-Series represent a great all-rounder. Comfortable, affordable, and reliable, their sound also belies their sub-$100 price tag. Passive noise-canceling, sweat resistance, and functional—albeit basic—controls make them an ideal choice for day-to-day use.
Ultimately, there’s little to find fault with. What’s more, Google Pixel Buds A-Series buyers can pick up a comprehensive extended warranty
for their new earbuds for under $10.
Google Pixel Buds A-Series Extended Warranty
is proud to offer a top-rated alternative to more expensive extended headphone warranty
plans sold by manufacturers and big-box retailers. Better still, Upsie customers can save up to 70 percent on the cost of comprehensive protection. Coverage includes mechanical failures, broken hardware, drops, cracks, liquid spills and more.
By cutting out the middleman, savings of two-thirds or more are passed directly to consumers. This means that, with Upsie, a Google Pixel Buds extended warranty costs from as little as $8.25 based on two-year coverage with accident protection.
Claims are unlimited up to the purchase price of a pair of earbuds. Customers can choose between working with a certified local repair shop or utilizing free round-trip shipping to Upsie’s central facility. Best of all, if Upsie’s experts can’t fix them, they’ll be replaced with a brand-new pair at no extra cost.
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