Pixel Buds Pro vs Pixel Buds A-Series: Which headphones are there?

Pixel Buds Pro vs Pixel Buds A-Series: Which headphones are there?

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(Pocket-lint) – Google has beefed up its hardware offering, with a growing number of Pixel devices. As for headphones, there are now three two series offered: Pixel Buds Pro and Pixel Buds A-Series.

The second-generation Pixel Buds slowly disappeared from retailers, leaving us with just the two sets to choose from.

They have a lot in common, but still present quite a bit of a challenge when it comes to choosing your smart headphones from Google. So which is the best choice for you?

Price and availability

  • Pro: $199.99 / £179 / €219.
  • Series A: $99 / £99.99 / €99.

The Google Pixel Buds A-series are available now for an affordable $/£/€99, giving you connected headphones with the Google Assistant deeply integrated. They are widely available at retailers.

The Pixel Buds Pro are new and double the price to $199 / £179 / €219. They are not yet available, but will be available for pre-order on July 21, in stores from July 28.

You might still find the older Pixel Buds at select retailers, but we can’t recommend paying more than $/£/€99 for them.


Design and manufacture

  • Pro: Case: 63.2 x 50 x 25mm; 62.4g / Earbud: 22.33 x 22.03 x 23.72mm; 6.2g.
  • Series A: Case: 63 x 47 x 25 mm; 52.9g / Earbud: 20.7 x 29.3 x 17.5mm; 5.06g

Google applied a similar design to the Buds Pro and Buds A-Series, but the Buds Pro case is slightly larger and around 10g heavier.

It follows that the Buds Pro themselves are also larger and heavier, with a noticeably larger body than the Buds A-Series. There’s a lot more tech inside, so that makes perfect sense.

The A-Series Buds feature a small rubber arm that sticks out the top to help them stay in the ear; the Buds Pro don’t have it and we can’t say that’s a problem – we’ve never found it very useful anyway.

The A-Series Buds are available in Sage and White, while the Pro Buds are available in Charcoal, Fog, Lemongrass, and Coral.

One of the things Google wanted to do with the design of the Pixel Buds was to have a caressingly soft case: it’s like a pebble that you’ll want to caress and turn in your hands and it feels like the case of the Buds Pro is the same.

Both earbuds have an IPX4 rating, so they’re sweat-proof, but the Buds A-Series case has no protection, while the Buds Pro case is IPX2-rated.

Audio and active noise cancellation

  • Pro: 11mm Driver, ANC, Transparency Mode, Silent Seal
  • A-Series: 12mm Driver, Passive Noise Blocking

Both headsets use capacitive touch or voice for control. You can tap or swipe the ends of the Buds to control them. Both earbuds feature an accelerometer to detect movement, while the Buds Pro expand it by including a gyroscope. The A-series Buds don’t have touch-sensitive volume controls, but the Buds Pro seem to have them.

Google has also said spatial audio will be coming to Pixel Buds later in 2022 – and that’s probably what the gyroscope is for.

There are different drivers in these headphones, but it’s the active noise cancellation (ANC) that’s the big differentiator here.

The Buds Pro have three microphones, compared to two for the Buds A-Series. The Buds Pro have much larger and more obvious openings on the body of the earbuds. This allows the Buds Pro to detect outside noise and cancel it out, so as not to disturb you.

Google also offers a technology called Silent Seal, which is designed to allow the headphones to adapt to any ear for great results. All of this is driven by Google’s custom hardware and algorithms.

ANC tech should help improve the sound quality of the Buds Pro: our main criticism of the Buds A-Series is that they aren’t very waterproof, so they don’t block out outside noise very effectively .

When Google launched the A-Series Buds (and previous Pixel Buds), it said part of the goal was to prevent you from feeling cut off from the world around you. The purpose of the Pixel Buds Pro, now, is to cut you off from the world – and that’s probably a more popular experience.

Of course, there’s also a transparency mode to let outside noise in, so you can be aware of your surroundings.

Battery and charging

  • Pro: 11 hours listening, 31 hours total; 7 hours of listening time, 20 hours total with ANC.
  • Series A: 5 hours listening, 24 hours total

Both headphones offer USB-C case charging, but only the Buds Pro offer Qi wireless charging (like the second-gen Buds). There is also a big difference in battery life.

The Buds A-Series only offer 5 hours of battery life, but the Buds Pro can go up to 11 hours. This autonomy drops to 7 hours with the ANC system, but it remains higher than that of the Buds A-Series.

This is because the Buds A-Series offer 24 hours total, the Buds Pro 31 hours total, which drops to 20 hours with ANC.

It seems that the Buds Pro are the headphones to go for when it comes to battery life.


  • Pro: Google Assistant, real-time translation, volume equalization, multipoint.
  • Series A: Google Assistant, real-time translation

Much of the smart experience Pixel Buds deliver comes from the deep integration with Google Assistant and your Android device. The Buds Pro and Series A both offer this, so we’d expect the experience to be the same.

Both also offer real-time translation, another skill Google is pushing through Android. They also offer the Google Fast Pair feature, which makes it easy to establish a connection with your phone.

But beyond that, there are a few additional skills the Buds Pro offer. First of all, you have multipoint connectivity, which means you can connect to multiple devices and instantly switch between them, for example to watch a movie on your iPad and take a call on your phone.

Then there’s the volume equalizer, which claims to balance the audio output, regardless of the volume level, so it sounds good all the time.


The Buds Pro have a few extra features that mean they’re going to offer a more premium experience than the Pixel Buds A-Series. Active noise cancellation is going to be at the heart of it all, as it’s going to change everyday use for users, boosting isolation in high-traffic areas, so your music sounds better – the A-Series Buds don’t just can’t compete with that.

The best part about the A-series of Buds is how smart they work with Google Assistant and your phone – and the Buds Pro are going to deliver all that experience too.

The Buds Pro are therefore likely to be better overall – something we’ll confirm as soon as we’ve tested them closer to launch – but there’s one thing to consider: if you never use the ANC and you never want to, then the Buds A-Series at half the price of the Buds Pro might be the perfect headphones for you.

We think, however, that as a premium offering, the Buds Pro will be the headphones everyone will want.

Learn more about this story

When we compare products, we don’t just show you spec sheets side by side, we interpret the information based on our experience.

The Pixel Buds Pro haven’t hit the market yet, so we can’t judge them directly, but we’ve used them extensively. Pixel Buds and the Pixel Buds A-Series, so we’re basing that on our experience.

As soon as we’ve used the Pixel Buds Pro, we’ll update the comparison to dig deeper into the real-world experience and make sure you have the best information, whether it’s to guide your buying decision, or just because you want to know. how they compare.

Written by Chris Hall.


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