Google unveils a more affordable pair of earbuds called Pixel Buds A
The Pixel Buds lineup has a rocky, and oddly Google-worthy, story. The first ones were introduced to the market in 2017, and featured a braided cable between both buds, so they weren’t truly wireless. They also suffered from other flaws that detracted from their overall appeal, at least compared to other earbuds in the market. I owned ones and I loved them despite those flaws, but they suffered from criticism from both users and reviewers alike, and I saw where the criticism came from. The second-gen Pixel Buds introduced years later were all-around a better product, but at $179, they could still be considered a hard pass for some, especially compared to their competition. Now, Google has introduced a more affordable pair of wireless earbuds, the Pixel Buds A.
As the “A” moniker might suggest (as we’ve seen in devices like the Pixel 4a), these are a mid-range product. But they’re also pretty similar to the existing second-gen Pixel Buds, down to the same exact physical design. Some color differences here and there, but mostly the same design. According to the announcement post, they also keep features like Adaptive Sound, increasing or decreasing your volume depending on the surrounding sounds. They also feature the same sound and microphone quality as the more expensive models.
There are even some improvements in tow. 9to5Google discovered that both buds connect directly to the device rather than one connecting to the other and then to the device. This is a win-win situation as it makes the Bluetooth connection of the Pixel Buds A more reliable while also allowing for slower draining and, in turn, better battery life, at least in theory. The second-gen Pixel Buds had inconsistent Bluetooth connection reliability and for some users, the earbuds would just randomly cut out while listening. This new approach should be able to fix, or at least greatly cut down, on these issues.
On the subject of battery life, the Pixel Buds A comes with 5 hours of continuous listening time and up to 24 hours using the charging case. This means that you should expect to get the same battery life out of these as to what you would expect from the regular Pixel Buds, and the improved, more reliable Bluetooth connection should mean that battery life should, at the very least, be more consistent. They also feature quick charging: a quick 15-minute top-up should be able to give you up to three hours of listening time. The Pixel Buds A do not support wireless charging, so if that’s something you’re interested in, you should fork up for the more expensive version.
The best part of them, however, is the price. They’re $99, down from the $179 the regular Pixel Buds usually go for. Given that these come with most of the features that make the regular Pixel Buds what they are, these are a no-brainer if you’re looking for Google earbuds but don’t want to spend too much money. The regular Pixel Buds are better in features, but the Pixel Buds A come with 90% of the features for almost half the price.
The Pixel Buds A are now available for pre-order in the U.S. and Canada, and Google expects to begin shipping them out in June 17th. For information about availability on other countries, check here. The earbuds will be available in both Clearly White, as well as a new Dark Olive colorway if you’re not into white earbuds.