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Google’s Pixel Buds Pro are a cut above most earphones

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Google Pixel Buds Pro

Google Pixel Buds Pro

Google Pixel Buds Pro

Price: €219

Google Pixel Buds Pro

Pros: great sound, good fit, good ANC, multipoint switching

Cons: multipoint varies between devices

Active noise cancellation (ANC) on earbuds used to be woeful. Now it’s actually quite good, even if it’s not quite at the level of overhead headphones.

Google’s new Pixel Buds Pro blocks out a surprising amount of external sound. I’d put it on par with Apple’s AirPods Pro and Samsung’s Galaxy Buds, both of which are more expensive.

The only pair I’ve tested that arguably beats it for ANC is Huawei’s Freebuds 2 Pro (€199).

One contributory factor to the decent ANC is the snug fit. While buds are notoriously more susceptible to falling out in certain types of ear shapes, these fit pretty comfortably. This helps both the ANC and the audio quality.

That audio quality, which is an improvement on the last Pixel Buds I tried, is partially driven by the larger 11mm driver packed in here.

For me, the sound was pretty crystal clear, with the right amount of bass to give me oomph without being fuzzy. There’s no equaliser, though, so if you don’t particularly care for the sound, you won’t be able to do much about it.

One of the big advantages of the Pixel Buds Pro over standard buds is the multipoint connections. In English, this means that if your Buds Pro are connected to your laptop and you see a call coming in on your phone, the Buds Pro will automatically switch over to your phone when you answer the call.

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Similarly, if you are watching a video on one device and want to see a quick social media clip on another, you don’t have to go into the second device’s settings to manually connect the Buds Pro over Bluetooth.

When it works, it’s great – I spent several satisfied evenings switching between the Pixel 6a phone I’ve been testing and my trusty iPad Pro 12.9, and also between the same iPad and an iPhone 13 Pro Max.

It’s not perfect, though. For me, the feature wouldn’t work between two phones – the Pixel 6a and iPhone 13 Pro. I had to keep going into settings to manually connect to the iPhone. If I did that, it then wouldn’t switch back to the Pixel 6a or the iPad Pro.

Worse, the Pixel 6a then wouldn’t give any audio output from content at all unless I holstered the Buds Pro or told the Pixel phone to forget them in settings. I’m guessing that it may need some firmware updates to make it more consistent across different devices.

And then there’s the basic challenge of switching it on. If you don’t have an Android device to begin with, there doesn’t appear to be any way of switching multipoint functionality on as it’s off by default.

This isn’t an absolute dealbreaker, but it weakens the pitch of the Pixel Buds Pro for iPhone users a bit, especially when there are so many other decent earbuds out there.

Overall, these are well worth the money.


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