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Google Pixel Buds A-Series vs Google Pixel Buds Pro

Battle of the Google buds.
By

Published onNovember 24, 2023

Google Pixel Buds Pro
MSRP: $199.00
7.5
Check price
Positives
ANC with transparency mode
Hands-free Google Assistant
Above average battery life
Water-resistant case and buds
Fast pair and multipoint connectivity
Custom EQ (after updates)
Negatives
No aptX
Fit is a bit loose for some people
Microphone underperforms in noisy environments
Google Pixel Buds A-Series
MSRP: $99.00
7.5
Check price
Positives
Lightweight comfortable fit
Integrates well with Android experience
Touch controls work great
IPX4 rating (buds)
Negatives
Adaptive Sound is distracting

You have an Android phone and have realized the Pixel Buds are right for you, but now are wondering if you should get the Pixel Buds A-Series or splurge the extra cash on the Pixel Buds Pro. Not to worry, we’re breaking down every single notable difference between the two sets of earbuds. Read on for our full comparison of the Google Pixel Buds A-Series vs Google Pixel Buds Pro.

Editor’s note: this article was published on Nov 24, 2023, and is the first version of the article. Updates will follow as the market changes.

What’s it like to use the Pixel Buds Pro compared to the Pixel Buds A-Series?

The Google Pixel Buds Pro lays on a wooden table with a Google Pixel 6 behind it.
The matte plastic touch sensors are pretty hard to miss.

The Pixel Buds Pro and Pixel Buds A-Series share a similar design and form factor. Both sets of earbuds are made from a matte plastic material and come in a Tamagotchi-esque charging case, although available color options differ between the two. We found both earbuds to be lightweight and we achieved a comfortable fit using one of the included ear tip sizes. Only the Pixel Buds A-Series come with stabilizing ear wings, so runners may find a more secure fit with them.

For water resistance, the Pixel Buds Pro and Pixel Buds A-Series earbuds are IPX4 rated. However, only the charging case of the Pixel Buds Pro has any water resistance, with its IPX2 rating certified for some minor encounters with water. Both sets of earbuds are tightly woven into the Google universe, with quick access to Google Assistant and live translation, and fast pairing to your Android device.

How do you control the Pixel Buds Pro and Pixel Buds A-Series?

The Google Pixel Buds A-Series on driftwood with a smartphone.
The Pixel Buds A-Series has wing tips for a secure fit.

The Pixel Buds Pro and Pixel Buds A-Series are controllable by voice or touch. Saying “Hey Google” activates Google Assistant on the earbuds, from which you can toggle device settings or ask whatever question you’d like. If you want to change playback on the earbuds without looking like you’re talking to yourself, you can use the tap controls. It’s relatively easy to adjust playback with these combinations of taps and swipes. The earbuds also both support ear detection, so you’re music will automatically pause when you take the earbuds out of your ears.

Pixel Buds Pro default controls:

ACTIONEFFECT (music)EFFECT (phone)
ACTION
One tap
EFFECT (music)
Play / Pause
EFFECT (phone)
Answer call
ACTION
Two taps
EFFECT (music)
Next track

EFFECT (phone)
Reject call
ACTION
Three taps
EFFECT (music)
Previous track
EFFECT (phone)

ACTION
Tap and hold
EFFECT (music)
Toggle ANC/transparency modes
EFFECT (phone)

ACTION
Swipe forward
EFFECT (music)
Volume up
EFFECT (phone)
Volume up
ACTION
Swipe backward
EFFECT (music)
Volume down
EFFECT (phone)
Volume down
ACTION
"Hey, Google"
EFFECT (music)
Voice your request or inquiry
EFFECT (phone)

Pixel Buds A-Series default controls:

INPUTACTION (music)ACTION (phone)
INPUT
One tap
ACTION (music)
Play / Pause
ACTION (phone)
Answer call
INPUT
Two taps
ACTION (music)
Next track
ACTION (phone)
Reject call
INPUT
Three taps
ACTION (music)
Previous track
ACTION (phone)

INPUT
Tap and hold
ACTION (music)
Activate Google Assistant
ACTION (phone)

INPUT
"Hey, Google"
ACTION (music)
Voice your request or inquiry
ACTION (phone)

You’ll note that you can only adjust volume on the Pixel Buds Pro, and not the Pixel Buds A-Series. Also, only the Pixel Buds Pro has support for conversation detection, which automatically enables transparency mode when you start speaking to someone.

Should you use the Pixel Buds app for Pixel Buds Pro or Pixel Buds A-Series?

Shown are two screenshots of the Google Pixel Buds app for the Pixel Buds A-Series.

Since you’re buying these earbuds for the Google integration, of course, you will want to use the Pixel Buds app. The app helps you set up the earbuds to your liking, including setting up Google Assistant and customizing the onboard controls. You’ll also want to use the app to install firmware updates and locate lost earbuds using the find device feature. The app experience is pretty much the same for these two sets of earbuds.

How do the Pixel Buds Pro and Pixel Buds A-Series connect?

A hand holds the Google Pixel Buds Pro and is in the process of flipping up the lid with a thumb.
Opening the case will automatically trigger the buds to try pairing (in most cases).

The Pixel Buds Pro and Pixel Buds A-Series both use Bluetooth 5.0 AAC or SBC to connect to devices. Pop open the charging case for the first time, and you’ll see a notification pop up on your Android phone to pair. The connection quality is the same for both the Pixel Buds Pro and Pixel Buds A-Series, which is to say, pretty good.

Is battery life better on the Pixel Buds Pro or Pixel Buds A-Series?

Here's a close up on a man with the Google Pixel Buds A-Series using touch controls.
The A-Series isn’t as great for long adventures due to it’s shorter battery life.

Battery life is better on the Pixel Buds Pro than the Pixel Buds A-Series. In our battery test, the Pixel Buds Pro lasted 7 hours, 6 minutes on a single charge, with ANC on. On the other hand, the Pixel Buds A-Series only lasted 4 hours and 44 minutes.

Placing either set of earbuds inside it’s charging case will fast charge them with 60 minutes of playback time from only 5 minutes of charging. Both charging cases support USB-C; however, only the Pixel Buds Pro also supports wireless charging.

Do the Pixel Buds Pro or Pixel Buds A-Series block noise better?

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Here is where we find the main upgrade for the Pixel Buds Pro compared to the Pixel Buds A-Series, which is the inclusion of active noise canceling. The tight seal from passive isolation, combined with ANC technology, means that the Pixel Buds Pro is much more useable in a wide variety of places compared to the Pixel Buds A-Series. If you do still want to hear what is going on around you while wearing the Pixel Buds Pro, you can enable transparency mode, which will pump environmental noise through the earbuds.

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The Pixel Buds A-Series was clearly never designed with isolation in mind. This means it is easy to hear environmental sounds such as traffic noise while wearing the earbuds. You can’t really use these earbuds in a loud environment without cranking up the volume, which could damage your hearing.

Do the Pixel Buds Pro sound better than the Pixel Buds A-Series?

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Out of the box, the Pixel Buds Pro has significantly more bass than the Pixel Buds A-Series. However, with bass boost mode enabled on the Pixel Buds A-Series, you get a frequency response that nearly matches the sound of the Pixel Buds Pro. This also happens to be a frequency response that is similar to our house preference curve, which is the headphone sound that we predict most people will enjoy. Like many other consumer earbuds, you get a boost to bass and treble frequencies, but nothing that is too extreme.

Each set of earbuds handles adjusting sound quality a little bit differently. The Pixel Buds A-Series has two equalizer settings, one with less bass and one with more bass. You can only choose between these two options. On the other hand, the Pixel Buds Pro lacks regular equalizer functionality but has something similar called Volume EQ. This feature adjusts the bass and treble in relation to your volume, so at quiet volumes, those frequencies are boosted and at louder volumes, the function turns those frequencies down.

Currently, spatial audio with head tracking works with Google Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro, Pixel 7, and Pixel 7 Pro devices only, and running at least firmware 4.30 for the Pixel Buds Pro. It works where 5.1 or better surround sound is available, like Netflix, Disney Plus, and YouTube.

To access spatial audio do the following.

  1. Go to your Pixel phone’s settings
  2. Select Sounds & vibrations
  3. Toggle Spatial Audio

In order to set up head tracking follow these steps. If it seems slightly buried, that’s because it is.

  1. Have your Google Pixel Buds Pro already connected via Bluetooth to your Pixel phone.
  2. Go to your phone’s settings.
  3. Select Connected devices
  4. Select Pixel Buds Pro
  5. Select Settings
  6. Select Head tracking

Do the Pixel Buds Pro or Pixel Buds A-Series have a better microphone?

The Pixel Buds Pro have a couple of features to improve call clarity in comparison to the Pixel Buds A-Series. These include a voice accelerometer and wind-blocking mesh covers to improve microphone performance in noisy conditions. The Pixel Buds Pro also has support for Bluetooth Super Wideband, which provides higher bandwidth and sampling rates for more detailed audio capture. If you plan on using your earbuds to frequently take calls, you should probably go with the Pixel Buds Pro.

Google Pixel Buds Pro microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

Google Pixel Buds A-Series microphone demo (Non-standardized):

Which microphone sounds best to you?

376 votes

Pixel Buds Pro vs Pixel Buds A-Seris: Price and availability

The Google Pixel Buds A-Series case is being put in a chest pocket of a shirt.
The compact case fits discreetly in any pocket.

The Pixel Buds Pro has a starting price of $199.99 USD, while the Pixel Buds A-Series has a starting price of $99 USD. That being said, you can frequently find both sets of earbuds on sale. During major sale events such as Black Friday, we’ve seen the Pixel Buds Pro for $119 and the Pixel Buds A-Series for only $59. No matter the current price, you’re probably paying about double for the Pro compared to the A-Series.

Should you get the Pixel Buds Pro or the Pixel Buds A-Series?

Whether or not you should spend twice as much money on the Pixel Buds Pro compared to the Pixel Buds A-Series comes down to how much you care about these features: active noise canceling, battery life, wireless charging, and microphone quality. If any/all of those features are important to you, then you should go with the Pixel Buds Pro (but maybe wait until it’s on sale at a discounted price).

The A-Series still holds its own and is a great value for the money. In some ways it’s even better than the Pro model, such as the wing tips for a more secure fit and the ability to switch between sound presets depending on how much you like bass. If you aren’t committed to going with Google, take a browse through our selection of the best wireless earbuds.

See price at Amazon
Google Pixel Buds Pro
Google Pixel Buds Pro
Active noise-cancelling
Android integration
Google Assistant features
See price at Amazon
Google Pixel Buds A-Series
5%off
Google Pixel Buds A-Series
Terrific Android integration
Low price
Multiple fun colors

How do the Pixel Buds Pro and Pixel Buds A-Series compare to the Pixel Buds (2020)?

The new Pixel Buds on the page of a colorful book with open charging case in the background.
The 2020 version of the Pixel Buds shares the same design as the newer A-Series.

The first true wireless Pixel Buds debuted in 2020, and while these earbuds are now discontinued, you may be wondering if it is worth upgrading to the Pixel Buds Pro or Pixel Buds A-Series. In reality, the Pixel Buds (2020) is the middle ground between the A-Series and the Pro. There’s no reason to go from the Pixel Buds (2020) to the A-Series as you’ll miss out on wireless charging, wind reduction, and touch volume controls. However, it may be worth it to upgrade to the Pixel Buds Pro, as you will enjoy the benefits of ANC.

Frequently asked questions about the Pixel Buds Pro and Pixel Buds A-Series

Both the Pixel Buds Pro and Pixel Buds A-Series have an IPX4 water-resistance rating. This means the earbuds can handle splashes of water, but you should never fully submerge them in water. The Pro series charging case also is IPX2 water resistance, which provides very minor resistance to sweat and splashes.

Technically yes, you can use them as Bluetooth earbuds with an iPhone, but you will miss out on a lot of functionality as the Pixel Buds app is not available for iOS devices. You’re much better off getting AirPods.

Yes, both earbuds support real time translation with integrated Google translate.

Yes, you can connect these earbuds to your laptop via Bluetooth.

The earbuds come with a USB-C cable for charging. You can also charge the Pro earbuds wirelessly with a Qi charging pad.

Yes, both earbuds work fine while running. The A-Series has a slightly more secure fit with it’s included wing tips. Both are sweat-resistant.