Welcome to Skimm Tested, where we put products to the test and then give 'em a report card. (Check out all of our tried-and-tested faves here.)
To see if the Google Pixel Buds Pro ($199.99) should become your go-to everyday earbuds — whether you’re commuting, working out or otherwise.
Straight A’s in…
Noise cancellation. One of the first things we noticed about the Google Pixel Buds Pro was the strength of their active noise cancellation. Outside noise is blocked so well, as soon as we placed the earbuds in, we heard little to no city noise (think: traffic). When inside, the noise cancellation is so intense that you won’t be able to hear someone talking next to you. The minute we tried the buds inside our home, we could barely hear the construction happening across the street.
Sound quality. Sound was crisp and clear, with zero fuzziness. The buds feature custom-designed 11 mm speaker drivers, which provide powerful sound. The volume EQ means that as you make your music louder and quieter, highs, mids, and lows are tuned and balanced.
Battery life. We were thoroughly impressed how long the Google Pixel Buds Pro lasted on a single charge. They claim to have a battery life of over 30 hours of listening time, and we indeed found that to be true. One Skimm HQ’r took the buds on a two-week vacation and she didn’t have to charge the buds once. (She used them on the plane rides, while in the airport, and periodically throughout her vacation.)
Fit and comfort. We found the buds to be very comfortable when worn for hours. They nestled into our ears, providing that snug fit that’s desired when you’re wearing wireless earbuds. They even have sensors built in to measure the pressure in your ear canal so the earbuds can help relieve it. The buds come with three different sized eartips to choose from, with the medium ones attached. Pro tip: Test each eartip size and find which feels the best and most secure for your ears.
Style. The Google Pixel Buds Pro are incredibly sleek. The case is minimal and easy to slip into pockets and purses. We loved the color selection and how the buds don’t appear bulky in our ears.
Room for growth…
Sensitivity of touch controls. While the touch controls are pretty intuitive and convenient, we found that they were sometimes easily triggered by mistake. When adjusting the earbuds to find a snug fit, sometimes our fingers would activate the touch controls and the buds would pause our music, make the volume louder or quieter, etc. To get a full explainer on the touch controls, watch this video.
Slight skipping. We’re not quite sure why we experienced slight skipping on some days (the number of times this happened was very infrequent), but upon some research we learned it could be due to an interference with the Bluetooth connection. One Skimm HQ’r only ever experienced skipping while walking outdoors.
Plays well with…
Anyone who wants a wireless high-quality listening experience.
People who have a noisy commute or work in loud environments and want distraction-free listening.
Those looking for an Apple AirPods alternative. Something to note: Apple AirPods Pro come in at $249, so these are a slightly more affordable pair.
Gets extra credit for…
Ease of pairing. When pairing the buds with our smartphone, we found the process to be very quick and easy (with both iPhone and Android phones). Our cell recognized the buds almost instantly and once connected via Bluetooth, the connection was never dropped. We also tried pairing with our laptop and found that to be equally as smooth.
Transparency mode. This exists so you can be more aware of outside noises if you need to be. Like if you’re crossing the road or around people where you want earbuds in but don’t want to experience the full noise-cancellation effect. To activate, touch and hold either earbud.
Wireless charging. The case can be charged when plugged in via a USB-C charger, but if you do own a wireless charging pad, you can place the case down and you’ll start to see an orange light blink.
Google Assistant. If you own a Pixel or Android, you can set up Google assistant to get hands-free help. To activate it, touch and hold either earbud. PS: You will also need a Google account to access this feature.
How we did our homework…
We had two Skimm HQ’rs test the Google Pixel Buds Pro over the course of six weeks, wearing them as often as possible. We used them while commuting, running errands, working out, and spending time indoors. We wanted to pay particular attention to how the noise cancellation fared in different environments, so we made sure to wear them in noisy situations (the streets of NYC, the subway) and in quieter places (the comfort of our own homes). We also took note of battery life, how often we needed to charge the buds, and how comfortable they felt while up and moving. We cleaned, walked, ran, and even flew in an airplane with them. We also took detailed notes over the course of our trial period, testing the touch controls to see how responsive the buds were.
Compatible with iOS and Android
USB-C charging cable sold separately
Eartips included in three sizes (small, medium, large)
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