Google’s Pixel Buds Pro are now on-sale in Australia alongside the Pixel 6a which I reviewed last week. I’ve only just received them, so I thought I’d jot down my first impressions of their new premium earbuds. 

I’ve only had the Pixel Buds Pro for just a few hours now, so this is a quick first look and here’s my first impressions. 

Hardware

First up, you get the Pixel Buds Pro in a battery charging case which is slightly larger than the previous Pixel Buds A-series and Gen 2. There’s no USB-C cable in the box, but you do get small, medium and large tips to ensure a good fit. 

The buds themselves don’t have the fin on the rear that the Pixel Buds A-Series or Gen 2 came with, but the larger bud seems to stay in your ear quite well. The buds have a touch sensitive panel which seems pretty responsive, letting you change volume, answer calls etc. 

Google sent over the Lemongrass colour for review and it’s a pretty nice option, standing out just enough but they’re not too wildly coloured. 

The charging case and the buds are two-toned in black which looks cool, and with the lack of fin on the buds, it makes it easy to tell them apart from the previous generations if you have some of those laying around.

A note on the case is that previous generations have been a fidgeter’s delight with a satisfying clack sound when you close it – and that remains on the Pixel Buds Pro. The egg-shell feel case also slides in and out of your pocket without catching. 

The charging case sits on the Pixel Stand 2 quite nicely for charging – or you can just plug in your own USB-C cable. I haven’t had them long enough to run any battery run down tests, but I’ll be doing that in full for the review. 

The buds are pretty easy to remove from the case, with magnets holding them in place even when you tip the case upside down. They’re not secured in too hard though, so you can take them out easily and they drop right back in when you’re done.

The case has a pairing button on the rear which you hold to initiate the bluetooth pairing – but it’s Google’s Fast Pair which is the star here if you have an Android phone and makes it super easy to setup.

Software 

Opening the Pixel Buds Pro case initiates that Fast Pair interaction, even on a non-Pixel phone. Simply prompting you to connect to the device. 

You can grab the Pixel Buds ‘app’ from the Google Play Store to go through the full setup which includes a test to ensure you have a secure fit and helps configure the touch controls. 

There’s access to Google Assistant for reading out notifications if you want when you hear a chime, or you can long press one of the buds to summon it when you want to ask a question. You can also configure it to toggle through ANC/Transparency mode on the other bud. 

I had to install a firmware update for the buds when I first ran through the setup, but once that was done I was ready to rock.

Sound and Audio

I’ve been listening to Scott’s Audio mix which covers a pretty vast range of music from easy listening/pop through to some decent bass-heavy metal. I’ve also given them a bit of a brief work over with some podcasts and audiobooks. 

In short, the initial impressions from audio quality are good. They’ve got good quality sound for the mids and high-end though could be a bit trebly at the higher end when listening to pop music – and are really good for audiobooks and podcasts. At the low end it’s not quite as good for bass as the drivers don’t quite deliver that really deep low you expect – BUT! they are definitely an improvement over the Pixel Buds A-Series and Gen 2. 

For the Active Noise Cancellation, they work very well cancelling out wind noise when on a call and worked simply brilliantly when I walked by a bus while listening to music. 

Transparency mode worked well in my brief testing, allowing me to carry on a conversation with the carers at after-school care when picking up my son and the cashier at the supermarket – I explained what I was doing and they happily helped with the testing.

I’ll need to do some more testing on the mult-device connectivity but it seems fairly easy to pair them to another device if you want to.

Roundup

Overall, the first impressions for the Pixel Buds Pro are pretty good. Google has made some big claims on battery life, and I want to test the ANC and Transparency modes out in a number of environments more thoroughly. The connection seems to be improved, so it’s looking pretty positive so far.

I’ll be running through audio tests, as well as complete battery run down tests over the next week, so stay tuned. 

If you want to pick up a pair of Pixel Buds Pro (or Pixel 6a) they’re available from today for $299 from the Google Store, or you can head in-store and pick-up a pair from JB HI-FI, Officeworks and Harvey Norman or from your favourite carrier with Telstra, Optus, Vodafone all stocking them.