Trending February 2024 # Google Pixel 5 Vs Pixel 4 Camera Test Shootout: Is It Worth The Upgrade? # Suggested March 2024 # Top 10 Popular

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As mentioned above, camera specs on the Google Pixel 5 and Pixel 4 are very nearly identical. The main difference is that the secondary lens was switched from a zoom to a super wide-angle one. Otherwise, you get the same main 12.2MP sensor. We can thank much of Google’s camera prowess to its software enhancements and computational photography.

Another improvement comes in the form of slightly superior video recording. As you can see in the spec sheet below, The Google Pixel 5 can capture 4K video at 60fps. Meanwhile, the Pixel 4 is capped at 4K at 30fps.

Disclaimer: The Pixel 4 samples were taken with a Google Pixel 4 XL. However, the Pixel 4 XL and Pixel 4 have identical cameras and have proven to produce the same results in previous tests. If there was Pixel 5 XL we’d have tested that too, but sadly it doesn’t exist!

It’s time to get down to business: which phone takes the best photos? The Google Pixel 5 vs Pixel 4 camera battle should be a fierce one. Let’s start with some daytime samples.

Images taken by both phones look amazingly similar. Exposure, color, and crispness are outstanding. The only difference we see is the level of detail in the shadows, especially in darker areas of the trees. This might suggest the Google Pixel 5 has a slightly better dynamic range. On the other hand, the Pixel 4 seems to show more detail once you really zoom in. The Pixel 5 algorithm seems to be going heavier on removing noise, which could sacrifice data.

Things went a bit wrong for the Google Pixel 5 in this image. The latest device got the white balance a little wrong, leaning more towards the blue side of the spectrum. You can tell especially when looking at the clouds.

For some reason, it seems like the Google Pixel 4 got a better image, overall. Exposure is more uniform, there is more data in the shadows, and we can see more detail in the leaves. On the other hand, the background with the street and cars looks more noisy on the Pixel 4 sample.

Let’s make things a little harder on the Google Pixel 5 vs Pixel 4 camera test by moving indoors. There is still plenty of light here, but it seems the Pixel 5 came ahead by a bit. It has a warmer tone and slightly more vibrant colors. Not to mention the image is slightly brighter. The Pixel 5 also managed to capture a bit more detail, which you can mostly notice on the wood, dirt, and window particles.

Differences become more apparent as we move to areas with more contrasting lighting conditions. These image samples are similar in terms of exposure, but the Google Pixel 5 did a better job overall. The newer handset managed to capture much more detail in the bricks, not to mention the Pixel 4 photo shows a blue haze throughout the image. The older handset’s image also shows more grain.

The Pixel 5 seems to get better the darker the scene gets. In this image comparison, we can see the Pixel 4 is slightly colder white balance. Meanwhile, the Pixel 5 has a very nice saturation and contrast. Differences in detail are most apparent when looking at the brick wall, the coffee bag text, and the cardboard box in the bottom. The Pixel 4 seems to show more detail once you really look at textures. Again, The Pixel 5 might be sacrificing detail in its efforts to remove noise.

Something went wrong here, or it could simply be the angle in relationship to the lights, but the Pixel 5 clearly lost this round. Glare is rarely flattering, and this image has a lot of it. It’s also noisier and has less detail. The Pixel 4 didn’t do amazingly, but it’s a much more acceptable photo.

These are very similar results, but I see a slightly warmer tone. There’s also more detail in the hair and skin of the Pixel 5’s photo. Colors and exposure are very similar, though.

What even happened to the Pixel 4 image here?!

One of the biggest differences between the Pixel 5 vs Pixel 4 is lens selection. As seen in the specs, these devices have significantly different lens options. The Google Pixel 4 came with a standard and a telephoto lens. The Pixel 5 gave up the telephoto camera for a super wide-angle one, but Google claims their Super Res Zoom software improvements are good enough to fool any eye. Let’s find out!

Pixel 5 super wide angle

We thought we would show you a super wide-angle sample from the Pixel 5, just so you can see what it can do. Of course, we have nothing to compare it to, as the Pixel 4 had no super wide-angle camera.

Not to be a buzzkill, but the Pixel 5 seems to have created a better zoom image without optical zoom, which is outstanding. The detail in the background buildings is much better in the Pixel 5 photos. You can also see a clear difference in the trees to the bottom of the frame. Exposure, color reproduction, and contrast are all pretty similar, but the Pixel 5 image definitely shows more detail.

This seems to only be the case in night time photos, though. We took things a little further and got some sample zoom photos in the daytime, where the Pixel 4 did better capturing detail and keeping the image sharper.

Google Pixel 5 vs Google Pixel 4 camera shootout: The verdict

While specs and software optimizations seem nearly identical on paper in the Google Pixel 5 vs Pixel 4 competition, there seem to be some clear differences. We thought the lack of an optical zoom camera would affect close-ups, but our tests show better results coming from the Pixel 5.

You're reading Google Pixel 5 Vs Pixel 4 Camera Test Shootout: Is It Worth The Upgrade?

Google Pixel 5 Vs Apple Iphone 12: Which Should You Buy?

David Imel / Android Authority

The Google Pixel 5 was announced in the fall of 2023. It offers 5G support and continues the Pixel tradition of having great cameras and innovative features. That’s all inside a phone that costs $699. Apple also announced the iPhone 12 just a few weeks afterward. It also has some impressive hardware and software inside a phone that costs $100 more at $799. But which one is better: the Pixel 5 vs iPhone 12?

Read more: iPhone 12 series comparison

We have now reviewed both devices in full, so now we can give your our full thoughts and opinions on how these two mid-range phones compare with each other. Here is our look at the Google Pixel 5 vs iPhone 12.

Google Pixel 5 vs iPhone 12

Specs

Hardware

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Google put the mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G chip in the Pixel 5, which isn’t top-notch but offers enough power for daily use. Apple offers its latest and greatest in-house chip, the Apple A14 Bionic, inside the iPhone 12. It’s safe to say the Apple A14 Bionic blows away the Snapdragon 765G chip in benchmark testing. Both phones support low-frequency and mmWave 5G networks. The iPhone 12, however, only adds mmWave support for the US market.

Cameras

David Imel / Android Authority

The Pixel 5 has the same main 12.2MP camera we have seen in previous Pixel phones for the past two years. However, the secondary camera is a 16MP ultra-wide shooter, ditching the telephoto sensor found on the Pixel 4 series. The phone’s portrait mode now includes Google’s low-light Night Sight feature and adds locked, active, and cinematic pan modes for taking better video clips. There’s also an 8MP selfie camera in the front. In our review of the phone, we stated that the Pixel 5 can take solid images, but its continued use of older sensors is starting to show compared to other phones with newer sensors and higher megapixel counts.

The iPhone 12 includes two rear cameras. One is a 12MP wide sensor, while the other is a 12MP ultra-wide camera. It also has a 12MP front-facing camera in that big notch on the top of the display. It supports HDR and Dolby Vision HDR video recording at up to 30fps. It also allows users to edit their Dolby Vision HDR video clips on the phone. The Phone adds night mode time-lapse support, along with night mode on the ultra-wide camera and front camera. In our review, we noted that overall we were impressed by the photos we took with the iPhone 12, with solid colors and dynamic range, and taking videos also offers very good colors and stabilization.

Price

Google Pixel 5 — $699/£599/€629

iPhone 12

64GB – $799/£799/€909

128GB -$849/£849/€959

256GB – $949/£949/€1,079

The Pixel 5 is available now for $699 in the US via the Google Store, Google Fi, Verizon, and retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart. The iPhone 12 is also now available. Pricing begins at $799 for the 64GB model when you purchase them via AT&T or Verizon, or $829 with a fully unlocked phone.

Google Pixel 5 (New)

Google’s first 5G smartphone

The Google Pixel 5 may not be the high-end Pixel we were expecting, but it’s a pretty compelling mid-range option. Google is going back to basics with the Pixel 5, ditching higher-end features like face recognition and the quirky Motion Sense gestures.

See price at Amazon

Save

$198.90

Google Pixel 5 vs iPhone 12: Which one should you choose?

There’s no doubt that the Pixel 5 is an impressive Android phone for its price tag. It has a big 90Hz display, support for Android 11 out of the box, and its camera hardware and software are still solid. However, the iPhone 12 also has a lot to offer, with a slightly bigger display, more storage choices, and most importantly a new in-house processor that blows away the one inside the Pixel 5. The iPhone 12 also ships with iOS 14 out of the box, and like the Pixel 5 will get updated very quickly with security fixes and major and minor OS updates. However, battery life is definitely better on the Pixel 5 by a large margin.

Software and price may be the decider.

If you absolutely want to get an Android phone over an iPhone, the Pixel 5 is perhaps the best to get in this price range just for the OS updates alone. The iPhone 12 has some impressive specs as well, but it is at least $100 more expensive than the Pixel 5. Ultimately, it’s up to you if you want to spend that much more money on the iPhone 12, even with its lower amount of battery life.

Read more: 5 best Android alternatives to the iPhone 12

Google Pixel 2 : How Pixel Xl’S Success Could Shape The Next Release

Google Pixel 2 : How Pixel XL’s success could shape the next release

The release of the Google Pixel 2 (and Pixel XL 2) will refine an already-shining example of how good, and simply good, an Android device can be. Google seems to have reached a point at which they’re ready to handle consumers directly, instead of relying on big brands to do all the heavy lifting. As the HTC-manufactured, Google-designed Pixel and Pixel XL had sparkling reviews upon release in 2024, the next generation won’t likely change in any drastic way.

The war of smartphone hardware is all but over – take a peek at the stack of the devices above and you’ll see. We’re no longer seeing massive design differences between smartphones made by major brands. There’s no reason to risk the time and effort necessary to design and ship a smartphone that’s odd just to appeal to a niche market.

Google is taking Apple’s approach to smartphone manufacturing and marketing. Just like the iPhone-selling company, Google designs and ships their own smartphone. Just like Apple, Google designs its own phone, but has an ODM (Original Design Manufacturer) do its hardware manufacturing.

A lot of Google’s methodology can be found in Nate Swanner’s article “Reasons why Google’s Pixel 2 could be the best phone ever.” There, Nate explains how Google and HTC set only a 9-month period to design and manufacture the Pixel. Now imagine how much better a second iteration could be, building on the first instead of starting from scratch, working for 12 months instead of just 9.

Above you’ll see our first Unboxing of the Google Pixel XL. You’ll notice that the combined might of both Google and HTC’s past in packaging makes for a professional presentation already here in the first wave. We look forward to inspecting and judging every aspect of the second-wave release.

With the second Google Pixel we’ll expect that the newest in Qualcomm Snapdragon processor technology will be used. That means – quite likely – a Snapdragon 835 and many of the key features that are made possible by it. This means more battery life through power optimizations, more capacity for power-hungry processing tasks, and the ability to handle a two-camera array at once (at the chip level).

The display sizes of both the Pixel 2 and the Pixel XL 2 won’t likely change. There’s no good reason why Google should change the size of the panels – especially since we’re already at a point where our eyes can’t discern anything sharper. The extra-long battery life of the devices as they stand now will be enhanced with Qualcomm’s first 10nm silicon – keeping the display sizes as they are now will only push that battery life further.

Expect that Google will reveal both the Pixel 2 and the Pixel XL 2 sometime around October of 2023. At this point there’s no good reason why Google would do anything different.

One Week With The Iphone X: Is It Worth The Upgrade?

I’ve spent a week now with the iPhone X. As I approach the end of my return window, I have to start weighing my options. I need to decide if the iPhone X is worth the premium over the iPhone 8/8 plus, or if I should just stick with my iPhone 7 Plus for another year.

I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time with the new phone, both playing with the new features, as well as demoing it to all my family and friends. I’ve become accustomed to both the pros, as well as the cons of Apple’s latest handset.

As I tend to do, I chronicled my thoughts on my time with the iPhone X into a video.

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I decided the best tactic was to start with a few of my grumbles about the iPhone X before going into the what I loved about it, and finish up with my ultimate decision.

Minor grumbles & disappointments

App updates

The biggest thing that drove my crazy with the iPhone X was the apps that still have yet to be updated for the gorgeous new display.

If you remember, when the first plus sized iPhone’s came out, it took some developers almost years to update their apps. I was hopeful that this time would be different, and luckily many developers have made the transition.

There are still quite a few holdouts though (ahem!). Even some new games, like South Park: Phone Destroyer, don’t support it. There are large black bars on the sides. It really kills the experience on the phone. Hopefully, developers get going and more and more update roll out. Once they do, the results are pretty stunning as evidenced by Alto’s Adventure.

Control Center

It for sure isn’t as seamless reaching to the top corner to access Control Center over the bottom. It is taking some getting used to, but I really wish they’d have found a natural gesture that was more in reach.

Home gesture

I love the new Home gesture over the Home button. It is more seamless, and feels more natural. The biggest qualm though is when you go into certain apps. When you had the physical button, it didn’t change location. So if you jumped into an app that was meant to be viewed in landscape mode accidentally, you still tapped the same button in the same place.

What I’ve run into, is launching an app (on purpose or on accident) that launches in landscape mode. Then I try to go back to the Home screen, but the Home gesture no longer works. You have to swipe up from the side of the phone instead.

It’s a niche situation, but something I’ve run into multiple times and found to be a bit cumbersome.

First generation quirks

There are also the usual rounds of quirks that pop-up in what is ostensibly a first generation product.

We’ve seen issues with the display not working in cold weather, and others that have awkward green bars.

We also have features that aren’t even yet fully baked. Portrait Lighting and wireless charging for example. The former is still in beta, and the latter is quite slow. Apple will be making to improvements in both, but I bet we see even more substantial improvements by the second generation of an iPhone X.

Everything I’m loving

The OLED display

As soon as I turned on the my X, I immediately thought that this display could be the killer feature. It looks absolutely gorgeous. Apple has always had some phenomenal displays, but the combination of the edge-to-edge design, OLED 1,000,000 contrast ratio, and the increased pixel density really helps it stand out.

I pulled up a few photos on both my iPhone X, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone 7 Plus. The latter two look largely similar, but there was a substantial difference on the X.

The blacks blended perfectly into the (somewhat large) bezel surrounding the phone. Colors look more balanced, as well as more vibrant. I saw some significant banding on the other devices that was not present on the X.

Watching movies, and looking at photos is a great experience, and I don’t even mind the notch encroaching in on the display. After the first day or so, it has gone largely unnoticed.

Cameras

The cameras are all around improved. I am really happy with the low light performance I’ve experienced. Portrait mode is also a lot less grainy thanks in part to the hardware accelerated noise-reduction, and the wider ƒ/2.4 aperture of the tele lens.

The front facing camera isn’t as useful for me as I don’t take too many selfies. I love portrait mode, so for someone who takes selfies, I’m sure this is a big upgrade.

Animoji

The front facing camera does enable other things than just photos. For instance, Animoji. Something many people shrugged off, I actually really like. More so, my family and girlfriend do as well. In fact, many that were expecting to pick up an iPhone 8, have instead ordered the iPhone X solely for this feature.

I will admit, they are pretty fun. And for some reason, I can’t stop being entertained by the Animoji karaoke videos.

Face ID

I had a rough first couple days with Face ID, but since then it has grown significantly on me.

A couple of gripes I had with Touch ID was that I’m in the kitchen a lot. I love to cook and bake. This made it difficult to unlock my phone, let alone wake it up.

Face ID allows my to tap my screen to wake it up, and just look at it to unlock. This is faster, and easier than Touch ID ever was.

That said, there are times when Face ID has failed me for sure. I have to make sure I lean over the phone a bit more than I’m used to doing. In bed it was also failing when my face was half covered in a pillow. Turns out, when I hold the phone a slight bit further away, it was able to recognize my face, even though it was partially obscured.

These are just learning curves, and I expect it to be a vast improvement over Touch ID.

I’ve made my decision

After a week’s worth of use, I feel comfortable in my decision. I find the iPhone X to be the best phone for me. While I like features that the iPhone X and the iPhone 8 share (wireless charging, cameras, faster speeds), the biggest standouts for me is Face ID and the new display.

It really makes it feel like I’m using an entirely new phone for the first time in years.

The iPhone 8 is a solid phone, but it isn’t a big enough upgrade to warrant the money. If I was left to choosing between keeping my iPhone 7 Plus, and upgrading to the 8 Plus, I’d just keep the 7. It would be the first time in many years that I wouldn’t upgrade.

Jony Ive says the iPhone X will be able to do things a year from now that it can’t do now. Statements like that get me excited for the future of the iPhone and where it will be going.

Google Pixel Event Round Up: All The Important Announcements

1. The Pixel and Pixel XL Phones

Google has finally started to move away from the Nexus line of Android smartphones, and has pulled an Apple, by making their own phones (actually, made by HTC), to run their own software. The Pixel, and the Pixel XL are the two variants of the first ever phones that are “Made By Google”, and are available in 3 colors, called “Quite Black, Very Silver, and Really Blue”. Naming creativity at its finest, I would say, but I kid. Weirdly enough, the phones are not water resistant.

Hardware wise, the Pixel, and the Pixel XL differ only by the screen and battery size, with the Pixel featuring a 5″ display with a 2770 mAh battery, and the Pixel XL featuring a 5.5″ display with a 3450 mAh battery, that reports claim easily lasts through a day of usage. Both the phones feature an AMOLED display, so you can expect completely black blacks, and super-bright colors. However, the 5″ Pixel comes with a Full HD (1920x1080p) display, at 440 ppi, while the Pixel XL comes with a QHD (2560×1440) display, that delivers a pixel density of 534 ppi. Either way, both the phones have sharp, clear displays. The “Pixel Imprint” fingerprint scanner is on the back of the phone, on the fused glass panel, that adds a bit of look to the devices.

On the software side, both the devices will come with stock Android 7.1 Nougat, which brings some UI changes, the brand new Pixel Launcher, and Google’s Now on Tap has been replaced with the Google Assistant.

Pre-orders for the 32 GB version of the Pixel starts at $649, while the Pixel XL will start at $770.

2. Google Daydream View

Google’s Daydream platform already supports a lot of great apps, and content providers, including video streaming services like YouTube, Hulu, HBO Now, etc., along with services such as Google Street View, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, and Google Photos. If you’re more into playing VR games, you’ll be happy to know that Daydream supports a lot of great games as well, with titles like Need For Speed, Fantastic Beasts, and a lot more already supporting the platform.

3. Google Home

Google announced the smart Google Home speaker at the I/O conference earlier this year and the search giant has now revealed more details around the device. The smart speaker aims to disrupt Amazon’s hold on the smart speaker market, with a stunning design, along with swappable bases that come in a variety of colors. Like Alexa, in the Amazon Echo, Google Home will use the company’s own, AI powered, Google Assistant, to help users with their tasks.

Google spent a lot of time talking about all the great things the Assistant can already do, including streaming music from Spotify, queuing up Netflix videos, and answering users’ questions. Add that to the number of Google services people already use, and the fact that Google Assistant can tap into all of that information, and it’s easy to see how Google Home makes a strong case against the Amazon Echo, Tap, or Echo Dot devices.

The device features a touch panel on the top to adjust the speaker volume, and over-all, the design looks really great. Another great selling point for Google Home, is that Google Assistant uses neural networks, which means that the Assistant will get better over time, learning on its own.

Google Home is available for pre-order for $129, which is $50 lesser than Amazon’s Echo.

4. Chromecast Ultra

The device seamlessly integrates with Google Home, so you can ask Google Home to play Daredevil on Netflix, and the Chromecast will start playing it. That’s really great.

The Chromecast Ultra will be available in November, for $69, which is significantly higher than the $35 price tag of the last generation.

5. Google Wifi

 

The device uses Google’s Network Assist, to automatically manage, and optimize networks, while transitioning the user’s devices from one access point to another, as they move around their house. This will directly translate to better connectivity, in every room of your house, and if you want to extend the network further, all you need to do is add more Google Wifi units to your existing mesh.

SEE ALSO: How to Use Google Allo, A Smart Messaging App

Like the Pixel Smartphones and Google Home?

One thing is obviously clear from the devices that Google has announced – Google wants to make a place for itself in your home, and in your pocket. The devices that have been announced are quite compelling, and for someone looking to invest in Google’s ecosystem, this might be the best time to do so. Google Home can work with Chromecast Ultra, and Google Wifi can ensure that all your devices get WiFi connectivity, no matter what room they are placed in. Plus, with the Pixel as a smartphone, Google is definitely looking to create a strong ecosystem of devices that simply work together, and give users a great experience.

Google Pixel Buds Pro Review: Budding Stars

Pros

Superb, rounded sound

Great fit

Solid ANC

Wireless charging

Cons

No EQ options

No hi-res/aptX support

No iOS Pixel Buds app

Our Verdict

The Pixel Buds Pro are some of the best earbuds you can get for your Android phone. Excellent sound, fit, and ANC are wrapped into well-priced earbuds with great battery life.

Best Prices Today: Google Pixel Buds Pro

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Price

$199.99

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Much like its Pixel phones, Google’s various versions of Pixel Buds earbuds have had their fair share of problems.

The 2023 originals had an uncomfortable design connected by a literal piece of string, while the follow up Pixel Buds 2 three years later had awful connectivity issues.

The cheaper Pixel Buds A from 2023 proved Google had learned from its mistakes, and sold at a competitive price.

Thankfully, the new high-end Pixel Buds Pro pick up and run with this success and are Google’s best buds yet. You’ll pay for the privilege with a $199/£179/€219 price tag, but the Pros are finally worth recommending alongside earbud heavy hitters like Sony, Bose, and Apple.

Design & build

Good fit

Cool colour options

Great touch controls

Google hasn’t messed with its design language here, and the look is very similar to the Pixel Buds 2 and Buds A. The Buds Pro come nestled in a nice feeling matt white case with a thin black line hinting at where it flips open.

It’s black inside where the buds reside for charging, with a hidden LED on the front to indicate the case’s battery charge: green for good or orange to indicate it needs a top up via the USB-C port on the bottom.

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

Like most wireless earbuds the design of the case is indebted to Apple’s original AirPods, but Google has forged its own path with the actual buds’ design.

I personally struggle with the fit of many wireless earbuds as I have small ear canals, but the Buds Pro fit me excellently with the smallest ear tips. As an aside, I like that the packaging is completely recyclable, and the alternative ear tips come in a tiny cute paper tube with caps – the cleverest way I’ve seen spare tips packaged.

Felt cute, might change tips later

Henry Burrell / Foundry

The buds are approaching bean-shaped and at first glance don’t look like they will be comfortable, but with a little push and twist they fit my ears well. I occasionally needed to adjust them, and I found they worked their way loose when I was eating, but not when talking on the phone or running.

This is great news particularly when the wing tips of the Pixel Buds A are not present. I’m confident that people with larger ears than me (which, I assure you, is most people) will have no issue with a snug fit. I struggled with the fit of the Sony WF-1000XM4, which are too big for me, and though I liked the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds their design is not as subtle or attractive as the Pixel Buds Pro.

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

Against the ear when wearing the buds are the L and R indicators and the metal charging connectors while the outside is a matt plastic that houses the touch sensitive controls on both sides.

A tasteful ‘G’ logo is embossed on either bud, and I am a huge fan of the yellowy green ‘lemongrass’ colour of my review unit, though you can also choose from orange (‘coral’), blue grey (‘fog’), or grey black (‘charcoal’).

The earbuds are IPX4 rated, which means they’re good for use in the rain or if they get splashed, and the case is IPX2, which basically means don’t get it wet. Each earbud weighs 6.2g and the case with earbuds in is 62.4g – easy for any pocket to handle.

Sound quality

Very good bass

Well-tuned high ends

No hi-res codec support

Most importantly, the Pixel Buds Pro have outstanding sound quality that matches and sometimes surpasses that of Apple’s AirPods Pro.

The Buds Pro have better bass response and an overall better tuned soundscape when listening to most genres of music thanks to each bud’s impressively punchy single 11mm driver. Add to that Google’s digital signal processing and very good active noise cancellation (ANC) and you’re laughing.

Up front though – despite my ears not agreeing with the fit, the Sony WF-1000XM4 are still the best sounding wireless earbuds you can buy.

On the Pixel Buds Pro, Elliot Smith’s ‘Needle in the Hay’ is handled well with the acoustic guitar sounding as live as the recording intended and the close vocal is well rendered. There’s good separation, even when streaming from lower-than-CD-quality-sources such as Spotify. Using hi-res services like Tidal and Qobuz sound better but that’s down to the audio file itself. The Buds Pro don’t support hi-res audio.

Turnstile’s ‘Mystery’ packs a considerable punch and the Buds Pro kept up with very good low end bass guitar and kick drum snap that cheaper earphones simply can’t give you. The low end prowess means these are also great ‘phones for hip hop and rap playback. ‘Dr Dre’s ‘Forgot About Dre’ sounds huge with the bass, riff, and hi-hat all represented on a great level.

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

Any genre I threw at the Buds them was pleasing to my ears though, and I have no complaints about the sound quality on offer for the asking price though there is one caveat here.

To get technical, the Buds Pro only support the AAC and SBC audio codecs, not the popular aptX codec that it’s widely agree creates the best frequency responses of compressed audio files from Android devices and allows for hi-res compatibility.

In my testing AAC worked well (and is also there for iPhone compatibility), but it’s odd Google isn’t catering to aptX or aptX HD where rival products do.

Unlike other earbuds such as Sony’s WF-1000XM4, there’s no in-app EQ settings for the Pixel Buds Pro on the Pixel Buds app, aside from one toggle called volume EQ that boosts bass and treble frequencies at lower volumes. I found it didn’t make much difference.

Google told 9to5Google the Pixel Buds Pro will get a “full 5-band EQ” setting by the end of 2023, but do not buy the Buds on a software promise if this is important to you. Wait, or buy the Sonys.

The Buds Pro are good for voice and video calls, though the microphone quality isn’t as clear as AirPods Pro and doesn’t cancel out as much background noise as Apple’s buds for the person on the other end to hear you better.

Noise cancelling & smart features

Excellent ANC

Bluetooth Multipoint

No EQ options

One of the best things about the buds is their touch controls. Many great sounding earbuds ruin their good fit by having physical buttons on the outside that when pressed shove the bud painfully into your ear.

Not so with the Buds Pro, whose touch controls only need one feather-tap to play or pause on each bud, with a double tap skipping track and a triple tap going back a track. Swiping back to front turns volume up, and the opposite turns it down, while a press and hold can be configured for either bud to invoke Assistant or switch between ANC and transparency modes.

A great Fair Pair feature also means pairing to any Android phone is a breeze, with a notification on the screen when you open the buds near a phone.

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

As for the ANC, it is very good if you can find a good seal with the three sizes of ear tip. I used the Buds to listen to podcasts on a transatlantic flight and they easily tuned out the engine roar, though the AirPods Pro’s ANC has less static sound when nothing is playing than the Buds Pro.  

Transparency is also great, letting in outside sound so you can talk to people or stay safe by being aware of traffic, for example.

Also very good is the Bluetooth Multipoint support that allows the Buds Pro to connect to two audio sources at the same time. Paired to a Pixel 6a and MacBook Air, the buds easily played audio from each with no hitch. To change an audio source, you just connect another device and one drops out, you can’t select within the app.

The Adaptive Sound software feature seen on the Pixel Buds A is not here, likely because the Buds Pro’s ANC means the software doesn’t have to level out the audio according to your ambient surrounding sound anymore. Additionally, the old Bass Boost option has been removed from the Pixel Buds app, which is integrated into Pixel phones as a searchable audio setting but must be downloaded as a standalone app on any other Android phone.

There’s no Pixel Buds app for iOS, so I wouldn’t recommend the Buds Pro if you have an iPhone because you lose a few smart features Android users can enjoy here, such as Google Assistant for notification reading and hands-free invoking of the digital assistant, but for audio playback they do sound good connected to an iPhone.

Battery life & charging

11 hours with ANC

Case holds up to 31 hours

Wireless charging

Pixel Buds Pro also hit it out the part with their battery life, which is excellent. With ANC on, I found Google’s promise of 7 hours of playback on a full charge to be accurate, not having to put them in the case to charge for a whole near-eight-hour flight.

A fully charged case will also give 20 hours of playback with the power it can expel. Google also says without ANC the figures go up to 11 hours of playback and 31 hours of charge.

Charging via USB-C is easy though there is notably no cable included in the box. The case also supports wireless charging, so you can charge using any Qi charging pad or even off the back of a modern phone that supports reverse wireless charging like Google’s Pixel 6 or the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra.

Google

Price & availability

The Google Pixel Buds Pro cost $199/£179/€219, which is excellent value for the quality of the product.

It is cheaper than the $249/£239/€279 Apple AirPods Pro, $279/£249/€279 Bose QuietComfort Earbuds, $280/£250/€280 Sony WF-1000XM4, and $199/£219/€229 Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro. though the Bose and Sony can be found for less if you shop around.

Verdict

Much like AirPods with iPhones, the Pixel Buds Pro are the best choice of wireless earbuds if you have a Pixel phone, but I also recommend them over the Galaxy Buds Pro, which have annoying touch controls in comparison.

The Buds Pro have the best touch controls of any earbuds on the market, superb bass and treble response, a snug fit, solid ANC, and very good battery life. Add to that the tight Google integration of Assistant and you’ve got Google’s best buds yet at a price that should be attractive to any Android customer.

Specs

11mm dynamic drivers

Bluetooth 5.0

Three microphones

11-hour battery life (31 with case)

7-hour battery life with ANC on (20 with case)

USB-C

Google Assistant Support

Bluetooth Multipoint

Touch controls

IR sensors for in-ear detection

Google Translate support

IPX4 sweat- and water-resistance

22.33 x 22.03 x 23.72 mm, 6.2g (earbuds)

25 x 50 x 63.2 mm, 62.4g (case)

Lemongrass, Coral, Fog, Charcoal

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