Google Pixel Buds A leak teases cheaper wireless earbuds to fight AirPods 3

Google Pixel Buds A leak
(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

The next pair of Google Pixel Buds might not be the Pixel Buds 3, but rather the Pixel Buds A — suggesting that like the rumored Google Pixel 5a, this set of true wireless earbuds could be a more affordable model.

A 9to5Google report claimed to reveal the new earbuds’ name, along with its two color options: white and green.

According to the report, the Pixel Buds A will be “almost visually indistinguishable” from the existing Pixel Buds 2, only with a choice of all-white or dark “forest green” color schemes. This lines up with a recent leak, courtesy of the FCC certification process, that seemingly revealed two variants of a new Google Pixel Buds model.

Assuming a very similar design to the Pixel Buds 2, it sounds like you can expect similar features such as replaceable in-ear tips and wings to help hold the earbuds in place. Touch controls, activated by tapping the outside of each earbud, also seem like a given for the Pixel Buds A.

This does raise the question of where Google would find the cost savings to make a lower price more viable. Maybe the Pixel Buds A case won’t support wireless charging, like the Pixel Buds 2 case does. Or perhaps the earbuds won’t have the IPX4 water resistance of the current model.

The Pixel Buds 2 currently cost $179, so there should be enough wiggle room for Google to make a more affordable alternate to challenge the best cheap wireless earbuds without needing to lower standards on sound quality or battery life.

We’ve recently seen some very good buds below the $150 mark, including some with active noise cancellation such as the $99 JLab Epic Air Sport ANC.

The Pixel Buds A could also undercut the Apple AirPods 3, though release dates for both pairs of headphones are still up in the air. The aforementioned FCC documents mention confidentiality terms on images that expire in September 2021, so we’d expect to see the Pixel Buds A before then, while the AirPods 3 is currently tipped to release in the second half of the year.

James Archer

James is currently Hardware Editor at Rock Paper Shotgun, but before that was Audio Editor at Tom’s Guide, where he covered headphones, speakers, soundbars and anything else that intentionally makes noise. A PC enthusiast, he also wrote computing and gaming news for TG, usually relating to how hard it is to find graphics card stock.