Why I'm Skipping the Pixel Buds A-Series Earbuds

Cheaper, but not necessarily better

Key Takeaways

  • Google has finally revealed its leaked, budget-friendly, true wireless earbuds, the Pixel Buds A-Series.
  • The new earbuds are similar to Google’s A-Series Pixel phones, which include less features for a cheaper price.
  • While they aren’t bad for the price, it feels like Google could have offered more for that $100 price tag, especially when compared to other options out there.
Google Pixel Buds A-Series in carrying case

Google

Google’s more affordable Pixel Buds A-Series wireless earbuds might be cheaper, but they could’ve been so much better for the price.

Google finally released the A-Series of its Pixel Buds, a more affordable option for those who want Google-branded wireless earbuds. Much like the company’s A-Series smartphones, the new Pixel Buds have pared down features and a lower, more tempting price. Unlike the more expensive Pixel Buds, the A-Series won’t have wind reduction or a wireless charging case, but users can still take advantage of the IPX4 water-resistance rating and easy access to Google Assistant.

While the $100 asking price might be perfect for those looking to get “rich sound” on a budget, there are plenty of other budget-friendly earbuds out there that don’t suffer from the problems plaguing the Pixel Bud lineup.

Always Connecting

Connection is a key part of using any type of wireless hardware or tech. It doesn’t matter how good—or bad—the battery life is, or how well the tech works, if it can’t stay connected, then you’re going to get less use out of it. Enter one of the biggest problems with the Pixel Buds A-Series: connectivity.

Now, this isn’t a new issue. In fact, it’s one that has plagued all models of the Pixel Buds since Google introduced them in 2017. Google has updated the chipset included in the A-Series, but the earbuds still suffer from the same drawbacks—albeit not nearly as much. It’s one of the things that many—including myself—were hoping to see remedied with the A-Series, so it’s disappointing to learn the company hasn’t managed to nix it completely.

The biggest reason this is disappointing is because it isn’t hard to find wireless earbuds with similar features, but without those connectivity issues. In fact, even the Skullcandy Dime true wireless earbuds have better connectivity, fit, battery life, and similar features, and they only cost $25.

Weighing the Options

Its price and relative lack of features is the other reason to skip the Pixel Buds A-Series. While the more affordable option does retain most of the features seen in the 2020 version, which retails for $179, it loses out on some of the convenience—including the wireless charging case and the volume swipe controls.

These might seem like small issues—and they are to a degree—but if I’m looking to spend $100 on a pair of earbuds, I want to see more of those conveniences included. This is a problem, overall, with the budget-friendly earbud market, and not necessarily a Google issue, but the company is in a unique position to push other manufacturers towards increasing the standards affordable earbuds are held to.

It’s also important to note that the Pixel Buds and Pixel Buds A-Series don’t include active noise cancellation (ANC), which is steadily becoming a big component in true wireless earbuds. Alternatively, users who want this feature can pick up a pair of Amazon’s second-gen Echo Buds for just $20 more than the A-Series Pixel Buds.

Ultimately, the new, more affordable Pixel Buds aren’t a bad set of earbuds. But, there are those few glaring issues. When I’m running around wearing a pair of wireless earbuds, the last thing I want is to worry about outside noise or losing connection. The fact these can’t provide those features feels like a mistake to me, particularly when other earbuds are delivering them for similar prices.

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