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TECHNOLOGY

Google’s Pixel Buds A-Series are a seriously affordable AirPods alternative

Google’s new wireless earbuds are noticeably cheaper than the Apple AirPods

Google has officially unveiled the Pixel Buds A-Series and, just as predicted, they cost significantly less than the AirPods. For just £99 ($99, about AU$140), Google’s wireless buds promise Bass Boost, hands-free controls via Google Assistant, and Fast Pairing.

The A-Series buds leaked online as far back as March. They look almost identical to the current Pixel Buds but promise improved performance courtesy of their “custom-designed 12 mm dynamic speaker drivers”. There’s also a Bass Boost if you fancy some extra oomph.

There’s no active noise-canceling to speak of, but you do get Adaptive Sound, which increases or decreases the volume based on your surroundings – handy when walking off a busy street filled with honking horns and into a quiet coffee shop. You’ll need a Pixel device running Android 10+ to use this feature, mind.

Battery life is identical to that of the Pixel Buds 2: a modest five hours. The bundled charging case boosts that to a more respectable 24 hours (on a par with the 2019-launched Apple AirPods). A 15-minute charge gives you up to three hours of listening time.

If you have an Android 6.0 or newer device, the A-Series buds offer fast Bluetooth pairing. That means you should be able to auto-pair the buds with an Android phone by opening the charging case and tapping the on-screen prompt – no need to download an app.

Like their predecessors, the Pixel Buds A-Series is IPX4 water-resistant and sweat-proof, so they make good workout companions. The Pixel Buds A-Series keep the touch controls of the Pixel Buds 2 and have the same ability to translate one spoken language to another in real-time.

If you’re an Android user looking for wallet-friendly buds, or simply don’t want to wait for the Apple AirPods 3, which are expected to launch in the second half of 2021, the Pixel Buds A-Series could be a decent budget option.

The Google Pixel Buds A-Series are available in Clearly White and Dark Olive green from 18th May (US) priced at $99. There’s no word on when they’ll hit the UK or Australian stores but Google has set the price at £99 (around AU$140).

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