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Pixel Buds Pro could finally give Android users a real AirPods Pro alternative

Pixel Buds Pro add noise-cancelling to Google's true wireless earbuds
(Image credit: Google)

Google has launched a pair of wireless earbuds with active noise-cancellation, meaning it can finally rival the AirPods Pro, Sony WF-1000XM4 and Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3.

The Pixel Buds Pro are essentially the Pixel Buds A-Series with added noise cancellation. Considering the A-Series scored five out of five in our review, that bodes very well indeed.

Pixel Buds Pro add noise-cancelling to Google's true wireless earbuds

(Image credit: Google)

Much like the Tensor processor found in the Google Pixel 6 smartphone, the ANC has been custom built by Google. It uses a custom six-core audio chip, Google-developed algorithms tuned by its in-house audio engineering team, and custom speakers.

Because they poke into your ear canal, some noise-cancelling earbuds can feel too intrusive, but Google claims the Pixel Buds Pro will avoid this. How? With patented Silent Seal technology, which adapts to the shape of your ear to cancel the optimum amount of noise. Built-in sensors monitor the pressure in your ear canal to make sure they stay comfortable. And when you want to hear the outside world, the Transparency mode lets in ambient audio.

Volume EQ tweaks the balance as you adjust the volume, and later this year, spatial audio will arrive via a firmware update. Apple has had some success with its Dolby Atmos-esque spatial audio on the AirPods Pro and AirPods Max, so we're intrigued to see how Google's version measures up. Like Apple's, it will anchor the audio to the source, such as your smartphone, so as you turn your head, the direction of the sound adjusts accordingly.

Multipoint lets you connect wirelessly to multiple devices and switch between them seamlessly, and the mics can cancel out wind noise for handsfree calls. Google Assistant is also onboard for voice commands.

The Pixel Buds Pro battery life is a claimed seven hours with ANC activated, while the case promises another 13 hours of run time, making for a total battery life of up to 20 hours. That's a little shy of the 24 offered by the current class-leaders, the Sony WF-1000XM4.

The buds are rated IPX4 splashproof, while the case is IPX2. The buds have a soft matte finish, and their two-tone design comes in four colours: Coral, Lemongrass, Fog and Charcoal.

Pre-orders start 21st July, and they'll set you back £179 ($199, AU$299). That's more than the non-noise-cancelling Pixel Buds A-Series, but less than the AirPods Pro. Look out for a full review soon.

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Joe has been writing about tech for 17 years, first on staff at T3 magazine, then in a freelance capacity for Stuff, The Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Men's Health, GQ, The Mirror, Trusted Reviews, TechRadar and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include all things mobile, headphones and speakers that he can't justifying spending money on.