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When it comes to wireless earbuds, you’re all but guaranteed a good experience with a pair from just about any big name (and many smaller names) anymore. That wasn’t always the case for Google; the first three pairs of the company’s wireless Pixel Buds each had issues. With the Pixel Buds Pro, though, Google’s finally cracked the code. In fact, they’re Android Police’s 2022 earbuds of the year.
It should be said that the Pixel Buds Pro aren’t necessarily the singular best earbuds in any one area. Our runners-up, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II and the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, each have the Pixel Buds Pro beat in some ways. But Google’s newest earbuds strike such a perfect balance of quality, ease of use, and polish, they’re awfully hard not to like.
The Pixel Buds Pro’s marquee new feature is active noise canceling, a first in Google earbuds. Outfits like Sony and Bose still have Google beat on ANC, but what’s on offer in the Pixel Buds Pro is confidently better than average — admirable for a first attempt. This ANC is facilitated by a more traditional earbud design that ditches the spatial vent found in the two preceding generations, but Google made up for the change by including a really strong transparency mode that lets you hear your surroundings on demand rather than all the time.
Battery life is phenomenal, too. While 2020’s Pixel Buds and the Pixel Buds A-Series each manage about five hours of playback time on a charge, the Pixel Buds Pro can pull seven hours with noise cancelation or transparency on. Switch those off, and you’ll get an incredible 11 hours at a stretch. The Pixel Buds Pro also ironed out the last two pairs’ connectivity issues — no interference or audio skips here.
And of course, they wouldn’t be “pro” earbuds without bells and whistles. The Pixel Buds Pro support Fast Pair on Android, multipoint connectivity to pair to two audio sources at a time, wireless charging, and always-on Hey Google detection for hands-free interaction. Oh, and they sound really nice, too.
Like many of its recent hardware products, Google’s improved the Pixel Buds Pro through post-launch software updates. While the earbuds launched without any kind of equalizer support, a relatively major fumble, they finally got five-band EQ in the fall. It’s annoying the feature wasn’t there at launch, but hey, all’s well that ends well.
With competent audio and ANC, some of the best battery life you’ll find in the form factor, all kinds of nice-to-have features like multipoint audio and wireless charging, and, crucially, no major flaws mucking up the experience, the $200 Pixel Buds Pro are unequivocally a great set of earbuds. It may have taken a few tries, but assuming you’ve got an Android phone, Google’s earbuds are among your best options today.