The last time I hopped into a match of Apex Legends Mobile, I grabbed my trusty AirPods Pro, connected them to my Pixel 6 Pro, and readied myself for a match. As the load screen roared to life, I realized something wasn’t quite right and quickly figured out that my AirPods made a valiant effort to connect to my phone and failed somewhere along the line. They showed as connected, but that clearly wasn’t the case as the now-familiar Apex opening sounds blared out loud into the room I was in.
After a flip of my Bluetooth switch on the Pixel 6 Pro, a re-seat of my AirPods Pro in their case, and a full retry of the connection, I was up and running. Or so I thought. This time, things connected, but only one ear was working and after a repeat of the same pairing process, things finally worked just fine. And while it was only about 2 minutes of broken interaction, it was enough to be frustrating because it wasn’t the only time that this has happened.
I’ve been clear about how much I enjoy the AirPods Pro, but I’m continually reminded that these earbuds aren’t made for non-Apple devices. Between odd connection issues, trouble sharing the earbuds between my phone and my Chromebook, and the need to find a lightning cable to charge them quite frequently, I’ve arrived at a point that makes me pretty desperate for the arrival of what I hope are superior earbuds for Android users: the Pixel Buds Pro.
Pixel Buds Pro upsides for Android/Chromebook users
First and foremost, I’m trying to temper my expectations a bit based on previous Pixel Buds. When Google announced the update to the original Pixel Buds in 2019 alongside the Pixel 4, we all were very excited. This led to a pretty substantial let down when the Pixel Buds eventually arrived in 2020 to pretty lackluster reviews. There were connectivity issues and they weren’t comfortable for longer periods of wear. Bluetooth range was poor, dropouts happened frequently, there was no ANC, and when compared with the AirPods Pro, they just didn’t compete.
But these new Pixel Buds Pro are a different story. Well, on paper they are, anyway. And with the way Google introduced them, I feel a bit more comfortable about the claims they are making, too. The Pixel Buds from 2019 had a big hoorah at Google’s hardware event: the Pixel Buds Pro were introduced at Google I/O 2022 in a much more subdued way. Given Google’s relatively-recent acquisitions of talent around wireless earbuds, I’m also feeling confident that the Pixel Buds Pro will be a substantial upgrade over Google’s previous efforts.
If things work out the way I’m hoping they do, that means a few notable upsides for Android/Chromebook users. First, the connectivity should be far better this time around. The Pixel Buds A-series seemed to correct whatever Google messed up in the first wireless Pixel Buds, so there’s no real reason to expect them to go backwards in this area. Second, with that better connectivity will come Fast Pairing on both your Android phone and Chromebook. With the latest update to ChromeOS, Fast Pair is here right in time to welcome in the Pixel Buds Pro, and I can’t wait to leverage this new tech. Ideally, I’ll be able to connect my new earbuds once and be able to use them on all my devices immediately. Compared with my pair, unpair, connect, disconnect patterns I employ right now, this all sounds delightful.
Along with these improved connections, I’m also excited to see what Google comes up with in the ANC department. They are using machine learning algorithms to produce noise cancelling for both audio listening and phone calls, so I’m hopeful that the end result will be solid. Google is even using all those smarts to correct for situations where the tip of the earbud isn’t completely sealed in the ear canal, providing ANC even without the perfect seal.
Add to all of this the proposed battery life (31 hours with the case) and the already-great sound quality the Pixel Buds have offered in the past two models and you have what should be a very nice set of earbuds. Google has kept the case small, kept wireless charging, retained the fantastic gesture navigation and reshaped the part that actually sits in your ear. Even though the Pixel Buds A-series seemed to fix the painful thorn of the originals, I think a shape that simply fits in your ears comfortably makes way more sense and I’m glad to see Google make this change.
We don’t have long to wait to see if the Pixel Buds Pro deliver on all these promises. July 21st is the pre-order date and users will begin receiving their earbuds by July 28th. That’s only one month away at this point, and a few weeks isn’t long at all to wait. While I’d like to say that I’m not hanging a lot of hope on these earbuds, that would be a lie. I think Google likely figured out the earbud equation this time around, and every single feature they’ve announced for the Pixel Buds Pro sounds fantastic to me. All the features are there that I desire, and they should provide the connectivity and simple pairing and overall integration that I simply don’t get with my AirPods Pro. And I’m very excited about that. I’d wager quite a few of you are, too.