High-end wireless headphones just got new competition: the Google Pixel Buds Pro. Announced at Google I/O 2022 on May 11 in a bit of a surprise cavalcade of new hardware reveals, these new buds have Active Noise Canceling and are priced to undercut Apple's AirPods Pro and match the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro.
We've liked Google's previous Google Pixel Buds 2 and Google Pixel Buds A-Series, but the Pixel Buds Pro are definitely the missing link in the conversation. And not only do they offer Active Noise Canceling, but Google appears to be doing a fair bit to anticipate user issues.
Here's everything we know about the Google Pixel Buds Pro.
Google Pixel Buds Pro release date
Google says it will start selling the Pixel Buds Pro on July 21, but it has not opened up pre-orders at this stage.
Google Pixel Buds Pro price
Pixel Buds Pro will cost $199/AU$299, and they'll be sold in four colorways: Coral, Lemongrass, Fog and Charcoal. That's $50 less than the Apple AirPods Pro, which have a similar set of features.
The Coral hue is fairly bold, so go for one of the other tones if you want something more neutral. Unlike previous Pixel Buds launches, Google is doing things differently and offering the whole color range in a lot more countries.
In all 12 of the launch countries — including US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan — you'll be able to pick up the Pixel Buds Pro at launch in every color. Countries like Canada, Australia, Ireland, Taiwan and Singapore will also have the Pixel Buds Pro but in limited color options.
Google Pixel Buds Pro features
The Pixel Buds Pro's ANC runs on a custom 6-core audio chip that's running proprietary algorithms, and blasting tunes on custom drivers.
And slightly similarly to the AirPods Pro's Ear Tip Fit Test, Google's using a Silent Seal technology to adapt to your ears. This is because Google admits in its press release that "it’s not always possible for the eartips to create a perfect seal that prevents sound from leaking in from the outside." Therefore, Silent Seal will try to maximize noise cancelation based on your specific ear, as sensors measure pressure in your ear canal to optimize for comfort.
Google says that Pixel Buds Pro will enable you to adapt to windy situations outside, and also offer a Transparency mode so you can hear ambient noises for your own safety.
Naturally, Google's offering something it calls "Multipoint connectivity" so that Pixel Buds Pro will automatically switch the audio you hear as you move between "previously paired Bluetooth devices." So, I could be listening to a YouTube trailer on my laptop, then start listening to podcasts on my phone or the news on my TV. "iOS phones" (aka iPhones) are actually listed as supported devices for this feature, which also includes "laptops, tablets, TVs, and Android" phones.
On top of that, the Pixel Buds Pro's Volume EQ will adjust its tuning as you adjust the overall volume. This is supposedly going to ensure that audio levels stay balanced.
Pixel Buds Pro are also rated IPX4 for water resistance, which means splashes of water aren't going to harm them or interrupt your listening. This is the same rating the AirPods Pro have. The Pixel Buds Pro case is IPX2 water resistant.
Google Pixel Buds Pro battery life
Google rates the Pixel Buds Pro for up to 11 hours of listening time, though that number drops to 7 hours if ANC is enabled. That's roughly half an hour less than the Jabra Elite Active 75t, our top pick for the best noise-cancelling earbuds, but much better than the Apple AirPods Pro, which are rated for just 4.5 hours when using ANC.
Google Pixel Buds Pro outlook
The missing link in the Google Pixel Buds lineup, the Pixel Buds Pro aren't going to be finished once they're released. Google plans to add spatial audio, another AirPods Pro feature "later this year." This will allow users listening to certain content to feel more immersed in the sounds of the show or movie, so I could feel like Vin Diesel and the rest of the Fast family are talking around me, not at me.
Tom's Guide looks forward to testing the Google Pixel Buds Pro for a full review later this year. Will they make it to our list of the best wireless earbuds? Only time will tell.