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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Review: Pixel Buds Pro

 My 3 year old Jabra Elite 65t active were finally getting to the point where I would run out of battery during a normal workday. I thought for sure that I would be able to get a pair of Jabra Elite 7s, but then came along a set of Pixel Superfan coupons that netted $100 off the Pixel Buds Pro and so I tried them.

The Pixel Buds Pro in the case are about 10g heavier than the Jabra Elite 65t. The fast pair feature works great. Open the case and push the button on the back and pairing mode goes in. A pixel phone will automatically pick it up, though all other devices require you to visit the bluetooth menu. The touch controls mostly work, though are a bit finicky. I've had a few times when it would interpret a "volume up" swipe as a touch instead and vice versa, and once in a while a single touch would be turned into a double tap. Those times are in convenient but on the other hand it's super nice to be able to control volume, transparency mode, etc. while riding!

Sound quality is on par with the Jabra Elite 65t, and the transparency and noise cancellation modes both work. Both modes will cause degraded battery life, however, and battery life is the single best reason to get the Pixel Buds Pro. Google rates these for 11 hours with noise cancellation off, and I have yet to drain them on a full day's worth of work calls. Even better, the buds work with either ear or both years, which means if you're in the habit of using just one bud and it runs low or out of battery you can switch to the other one, effectively doubling the 11 hour battery life! Obviously, that's not going to work for noise cancellation on a plane, but for day to day work use that's exactly the right behavior.

The other feature that I found myself surprisingly enamored with is wireless charging. You plonk them down on the same Pixel Stand 2 that you use for fast charging a Pixel phone and it starts charging. It doesn't charge fast, but it's convenient and easy to use, and I never find myself surprised that the case is drained.

To my surprise, multi-point works! I've paired it with both a work Chromebook and a Fire tablet, and media, etc. work seamlessly between those devices and the Pixel 6. I've tried multi-point on other headsets and have invariably been disappointed. These are the first that haven't been disappointing. There's a slight increase in latency when pairing after multi-point was enabled but nothing that bothers me.

I don't think these are worth $199, but for the $100 price they're definitely a worthy upgrade. Recommended.


G C said...

Great review, thanks. I find pairing to be the "weakest link" when venturing outside the Apple ecosystem.

I'll stick with my Etymotic HF5s, but they are wired. Noise blocking is world class and so is the sound. Light on the bass, though.

G C said...

Correction: Etymotic HF3.

Piaw Na said...

Samsung getting rid of headphone jack was what caused me to switch to the Pixel.