Wednesday, May 31
In case 3 pixel knobs pro

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

I’ve had Google’s latest Pixel Buds Pro for about three weeks and have tested them while commuting, at work, on public transport, on my morning walks and chilling at home. During this time, I think I’ve formed a pretty clear opinion of what makes these shoots great and what their biggest weaknesses are.

If you want a detailed objective analysis with all the extensive audio, noise cancellation and microphone testing, you can check out our Pixel Buds Pro review. This is more subjective from personal experience, and I’ll preface by saying that I’m neither an audiophile nor a gamer, so codecs and latency aren’t a big concern for me.

Google Pixel Buds Pro: My favorite features

Very comfortable

Pixel Buds Pro One Bud Focus 2

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of the Nothing Ear 1, the most comfortable pair of buds I’ve ever tried. Well, I wasn’t ready to say this, but the Pixel Buds Pro are pretty close. They fit perfectly in my ears, don’t put pressure on my ear tragus — a problem I’ve had with countless pairs of buds — and work their Google magic to get rid of that stuffy ear feeling with buds. I can eat and chew on these without feeling like my brain is about to explode with my eardrums.

I’ve gotten plenty of four- to five-hour listening sessions on the Buds Pro, a number I’ve only managed to get on either ear 1. Any other pair of headphones hurts before the 60-minute mark. Although I must have forgotten that I wore them several times when I was feeling a little uncomfortable. On a scale of 10, if any buds were a perfect 10 for comfort, the Pixel Buds Pro would be a 9. But again, this is a very subjective matter, so your mileage may vary.

On the ground, this is one of the most comfortable pairs I’ve tried. In the plane, you win by landslide.

However, the equation is completely different when traveling. Although the Ear No 1 — and all true wireless noise-canceling earbuds I’ve used on a plane — clogged my ears after 30 minutes, causing increased pressure, the Pixel Buds Pro just… don’t. I was able to wear them for several hours on a trans-Atlantic flight and then enjoy a couple of movies, all without feeling any discomfort to my ears. Seriously, Google’s black magic really works.

Multi-point, quick pairing and volume switching

Pixel buds pro settings general

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

Simply open the case and the Buds Pro will appear on a nearby Android device (quick pair). No more fiddling with buttons, long presses, and cryptic pairing codes. Once you’ve paired them with a device and a Google account, they should automatically appear on all phones or tablets signed into that same account.

Connecting to a new Android phone and switching between different phones is seamless.

Then, say, if you’re watching a video on one phone, pause it and start listening to music, the new volume changer feature kicks in and lets you hear your voice without having to lift a finger. A short notification on both devices tells you that audio has been switched to/from them, with an option to cancel on both phones.

In addition to these two Android-specific features, Pixel Buds Pro supports the Bluetooth Multipoint standard, which allows me to pair with my iMac, iPad, Google Pixelbook, and Xiaomi Mi TV. Not at the same time, obviously, but at least two different devices can be connected at the same time. This means I can enjoy a TV show without fear of missing an important phone call. The Pixel Buds Pro pause the show and switch to my phone to answer the call, again without me lifting a finger.

All these features put Google’s bud on Android a few steps ahead of most of the competition. There are still kinks to iron out (and I’ll talk about those later), but overall, the Pixel Buds Pro marry versatility with enough simplicity.

Natural transparency

Pixel buds pro settings sound

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

I usually avoid transparency mode with most true wireless shoots because the effect it creates looks fake. There is a distinct separation between the music or audio I hear and the noises and sounds around me. Very rarely is there a proper balance between the two: either the music is still overpowering, no matter what volume I set, or the surrounding noise overwhelms the audio.

Transparency mode is so natural, I feel like I’m wearing ear buds.

The Pixel Buds Pro offer one of the most “natural feeling” transparency modes I’ve personally tried. It looks like I’m wearing open ear buds, not in-ears. I’ve been able to have full conversations with my wife and I wearing it on trips and outings most of the time – something I’ve never done with another pair of buds before. I find myself triggering transparency mode at the polls, on public transport and in crowded areas, so I can see what’s going on. Again, this is not something I’ve done with other shoots before.

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To me, the transparency mode always felt like a gimmick. But when it works as intended, you end up actually using it.

Google Pixel Buds Pro: My least favorite features

Gesture controls

Pixel buds pro settings touch controls

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

Voice call and music playback controls on the Pixel Buds Pro are bog-standard, but the volume controls use a side swipe for some reason. I expect a swipe up to increase the volume, not a forward swipe. The same goes for swiping volume down and back. These symbols don’t make much sense to me, and I don’t like being forced to use them.

Only the touch and hold gesture can be customized, and you can only set it to trigger Assistant or switch between transparency and mute. As far as I can tell you can’t disable it. I’m used to all these forced controls, but some of them definitely feel weird, so I would have liked the option to change them.

Between the non-customizable controls and the keyboard’s tendency to angle upwards, some of the gestures feel very strange.

My biggest issue with the signs, though, has to do with how I get to the buds. See, with the Pixel Buds Pro’s oddly triangular shape, the colored touch-sensitive part usually ends up pointing up or weirdly upwards, not straight out.

It is not easy to get to the buds with my index; On average, I hit the usual black plastic once in two times. I can’t even trust my instinct to blind tap to pause music. Instead, I have to figure out how to properly place the bud in my ear, then tap or slide it. If the shoot is angled upwards, I’ll have to change my whole approach too. Trust me, I realize how ridiculous this is, but basically, instead of raising my cursor to touch the bud, I have to raise it, then lower it to touch the bud. I’m getting used to it, but it still feels unnatural.

Quick pairing and volume switching, again

Pixel Buds Pro in Pixel 6a 1 case

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

As magical as quick pairing and audio switching feel, they’re still not perfect. Currently, Quick Pair is only supported on Android phones. My Google Pixelbook, Chromecast with Google TV, or Galaxy Watch 4 can’t find the buds automatically, and instead require you to pair with them manually.

Fast Pair doesn’t support computers and TVs, but Audio Switch sometimes breaks.

To make matters worse, volume switching doesn’t always work, or work as smoothly as it should. I’ve had a few instances where one of my phones (Pixel 5, Pixel 6 Pro, and Pixel 6a) is actively connected to the Buds Pro but won’t play audio through them – or through the speakers. He pretended to play but kept quiet.

Google needs to do better if it wants these protocols to be Android with Apple’s magical AirPods auto-switching. right now.

I’d also like to see a manual device selector in the Pixel Buds Pro settings. This way I can see all the phones and other devices that the bud is already paired with and manually choose which two I want to use at a given time. This comes in handy when I’m at home and watching TV, my computer, my laptop, my phone and so on.

Battery holder

Pixel buds pro pixel 6a home screen battery widget

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

I love the case of the Pixel Buds Pro. It’s small and soft, feels great to the touch, and opens and closes with such grace. However, the extra battery life it offers isn’t breaking any records. On paper you might get about two more full charges, but in reality, I find myself charging more frequently than I’m used to with other pairs of buds – currently the No Ear 1 and the SoundCore Liberty 3 Pro. And longevity deteriorates after a few months of use.

A slightly larger case with an extra battery would have been welcome.

So as much as I like the size and design of the case, I’d be fine with a few extra millimeters here and there to squeeze some extra charge out of the case. But hey, at least we get wireless charging for more convenient charging.

Google Pixel Buds Pro

Active voice cancellation • Google Assistant • Instant translations

Pixel Buds to Pro

Pixel Buds Pro join Google’s true wireless Buds family with a powerful chipset, active noise cancellation (ANC), high-quality microphones, Google Assistant access, real-time translation and multi-point connectivity.

Google got a lot going with the Pixel Buds Pro. Tit for tat, this is one of the best Android-optimized pairs on the market right now, in my opinion. You get the essentials right: comfort, sound and usability. The rest of the complaints can be forgiven after that, and that’s why the Buds Pro won a permanent place on my desk and in my bag. Hopefully the next edition will be better than this.

Next: True wireless headphones are everywhere, but I’m not convinced yet


Robert is an expert in Android mobile phones. He has been using Android phones since they first came out, and he has been following the development of the platform closely. He has written many articles and tutorials on Android phones, and he is always up-to-date on the latest news and developments in the world of Android.