In the past few months, we’ve seen a ton of product launches from both Google and Apple – both companies have now introduced their new wireless earbud products to the public, the Pixel Buds Pro and Airpods (3rd Gen), respectively. While both products have their differences, they ultimately serve the same purpose – bringing music to our ears, in a portable and connected manner.
With that said, however, you might be after “the one” that will suit your needs the best or that will work best with your personal device set-up. As such, we’ve prepared this handy little rundown on the essentials that you need to know about the Google Pixel buds Pro and Apple Airpods 3. Let’s check them out!
While design is often a subjective matter when it comes to electronics, we feel that it’s worth highlighting here as both the Pixel Buds and the Airpods take vastly different approaches to external hardware styling. The Pixel Buds Pro evoke a more casual look, opting for a two-tone color design that comes in either Coral, Fog, Charcoal, or Lemongrass color variants. They also feature a “mouldable” design, which google says will better adapt to fit your ear’s natural shape.
It loses the stabilizer tail that was found on the Pixel Buds A-series, instead opting for a cleaner look. It also comes with a similar-looking charging case as found on the Pixel Buds A-series.
On the other hand, the Airpods come with with a design that’s not all different from the last two generations of Airpods, although the newest model does feature shorter stems and a smaller charging case overall. You still get the all-white glossy design, although there’s no option to get them in a different color variant. They also have a single size, and lack flexible eartips.
With that said, both earbud models feature IPX4 protection, meaning that they’ll be safe from sweat and light splashes. We wouldn’t advise getting into a pool with either, though.
Sound Quality and Features
The Pixel Buds Pro come with 11mm drivers, and will also let users customize their sound preferences thanks to a full 5-band EQ onboard. Additionally, the earbuds will also feature volume EQ, which should provide a balanced sound between mids, highs, and bass frequencies.
The Pixel Buds Pro also feature the newly-introduced “Silent Seal” design, which improves active noise cancellation (ANC) quality and provides users with a better listening experience. Inside is a custom processor and algorithms that are used to achieve maximum blockage of outside noise, and you’ll get transparency mode as well. If you use the Pixel Buds Pro with a Pixel device, you’ll also get special customization features via the Settings menu, such as EQ control, ANC adjustment, and such.
On the other hand, the Airpods 3 also come ANC and transparency features, but they add a bit of Apple-exclusive wizardry to the mix. There’s Spatial Audio with head-tracking technology, which gives users a three-dimensional listening experience, instant connection with iPhones and Apple Watches, and even compatibility with Apple’s “Find My” software feature, which lets you track down your earbuds in case they go missing.
Of course, both earbuds feature touch controls, making for convenient operation and usage. They’re also compatible with virtually every modern smart device out on the market right now – the Pixel Buds Pro will work with an iPhone, and vice-versa.
As for battery life, the Pixel Buds Pro can give you up to 11 hours of listening time, and you can boost this up to 31 hours with the charging case. You can also charge them wirelessly using the Pixel Stand or other Qi-compatible chargers. On the other hand, the Airpods 3 can get you up to 6 hours of listening time on a single charge (just a bit more than half of the Pixel Buds), and up to 30 hours with top-ups with the charging case. Of course, these variables will depend on your volume, and whether or not you use ANC features during music sessions.
One caveat with the Airpods though is that they make use of the archaic lightning port, which Apple still refuses to remove from a lot of its current products (although thankfully they can charge wirelessly). In comparison, the Pixel Buds use good ole USB-C.
Pricing and Final Thoughts
In terms of pricing, the Pixel Buds Pro go for $199, while the Airpods 3rd Gen come in at a slightly more affordable $179. With that said, both come with their own set of exclusive features as we talked about earlier, and it all boils down to which features you’re going to be using more, as well as your budget.
While we did mention cross-compatibility with different smartphone operating systems, it still makes sense to go after the brand that best corresponds to whichever smartphone you have with you. But again, user experience will come first and foremost when opting to add an accessory to your personal device ecosystem.