I had vague plans to follow up on my initial post about the Google Pixel Buds Pro after I had time to try them out at the gym. Oddly enough, that still hasn’t happened: I normally train on Fridays, but Ask Paul arrived late, and we still have a lot of moving to do before our warehouse lease ends. And so we spent a lot of Friday afternoon and Saturday working on that. But I’ve spent more time with the Pixel Buds Pro, and updated the firmware, and I think I’ve had enough for a quick follow-up.
First of all, I think I’m going to keep the Pixel Buds Pro: After going back and forth about the need for a second set of ANC-based headphones, I finally decided I didn’t want using my expensive, big, and great Bose QuietComfort headphones for everything. And that what I wanted instead was something cheaper and smaller that I could use at the gym and on walks. These are curiously different activities from a listener’s perspective. I need noise cancellation at the gym because it’s too loud there, which makes cheaper headphones without ANC (like the EarFun Free 2 Wireless Headphones and Google Pixel Buds A-Series ) unacceptable. But while walking, I need transparency/passthrough mode (or no ANC) so I can hear the outside world and not be startled when a jogger comes up behind me or, worse, a big truck passes .
I use the Bose in both, but they’re big and bulky, and I’ve never been comfortable using them both. But each time I tested another set of headphones, they failed in various ways. However, the Pixel Buds Pro seem to be fine. I’ve taken them on two long walks, and its transparency mode, which goes through the exterior sound, works well. And based on side-by-side ANC tests, I know that if the Bose offers superior noise cancellation, the Pixel Buds Pro are probably great for the gym. (And the case is so small I could easily carry it around. The Bose isn’t.)
I’ll find out tomorrow, finally, but my only issue so far is that the lack of ear stabilizer wings seems weird because I’m so used to this feature on other headphones, and I’m worried that the one of the earbuds just fly out of my ear as I walk. It has never happened and probably won’t, but I would never buy these things for running or jogging. (Indeed, I’m sure there are sports headphones or similar headphones out there for this type of activity.) I’m not a jogger, so no worries there.
The other day I mentioned that I was having trouble installing a firmware update. True to form, the Pixel Buds Pro got upgraded to this latest update just minutes after I posted the article, and I guess it’s worth noting that they support two types of updates. firmware update, automatic updates that just happen in the background, and then any manual updates you need. to trigger you. The pending update I was expecting was of the latter variety, and while I’m not sure exactly how this product has been updated over time, I do know that Google has added features such as ANC and head tracking over time. And I know now that this update has dramatically improved the audio experience.
Overall the sound is much richer and more immersive than I initially felt, and even though they still don’t enough reach the level of the Bose, they are very close. And unlike the Bose, the Pixel Buds Pro support Dolby Atmos for spatial audio, along with an optional head-tracking feature that I’ll probably leave out, even if it works as advertised. But the biggest issue for me, for spoken word (audiobooks and podcasts) and music sources, is the equalizer, which lets you choose between presets like heavy bass, balanced, clarity and others, and a custom equalizer. I found Clarity to be the best preset for my needs, but I also improved some things and came up with something I like even more. It made a big difference.
One thing I don’t like is the Pixel Buds Pro “app”, which installs as an app from the Store, but then integrates into Android settings, where it’s hard to get to. find. I assume this only happens on Pixels, though, and non-Pixel users will get a standalone version of this app alongside their other apps. Meanwhile, I have to laboriously navigate Settings > Connected devices > Registered devices > Paul’s Pixel Buds Pro > Settings (gear icon) because Google thinks this kind of integration is a plus on Pixel. I can’t even find this thing in the app list, it’s just silly.
The app itself works well, though, and it comes complete with plenty of customization choices. For now, I’m leaving everything but the EQ as is, but as mentioned the other day, I’ll almost certainly turn off volume swipes, which I find unnecessary and may be unreliable.
I haven’t had time to test the Pixel Buds Pro’s audio switch and multi-touch functionality yet, but I think they’ll work best if the other device I’m using is a Chromebook or another Android device. I’ll test them with a Chromebook and with a Windows laptop, though. (Audio switcher allows headphones to automatically switch between two audio sources so you can answer a phone if you’re listening to audio on another device, then switch back when you’re done. Multipoint keeps headphones connected to two devices at the same time via Bluetooth.)
Overall, I’m pretty happy with the Pixel Buds Pro. Tomorrow’s trip to the gym will seal the deal or complicate things. We will see.
#Google #Pixel #Buds #Pro #impression