Here’s why the Google Pixel Buds A-Series cost $99

Two missing features helped Google cut the price of Pixel Buds by $80.

After many leaks and countless reports, Google finally unveiled its latest set of truly wireless earbuds, the Pixel Buds A-Series. The A-series is typically the home of cheap Pixel phones, but it’s now expanded to include the company’s headphones as well.

The new Pixel Buds look like the old Pixel Buds from last year, and they work basically the same. But they cost a full $80 less at $99, and as it turns out, the reasons behind the price drop probably won’t be dealbreakers to virtually anyone.

Pixel Buds A-Series features

The Pixel Buds A-Series feature 12mm speaker drivers to deliver sound quality on par with the 2020 Pixel Buds. Google includes the ability to give bass a boost if you think your music needs it, and they have improved connectivity so they don’t cut out unexpectedly.

Google also includes its Adaptive Sound feature to automatically adjust volume based on your surroundings. It does so by using two beam-forming microphones to tell whether there’s too much outside noise or everything’s quiet. These mics also help pick up your voice with improved clarity for interacting with the Google Assistant.

For controlling media playback, both buds can be tapped on their sides. They’re IPX4 rated for working out, and they should last up to five hours on a full charge. Their carrying case can supply up to 24 extra hours of usage and gain three hours of power in 15 minutes thanks to quick charge.

The Pixel Buds A-Series are by no means lacking, and they’re practically on par with the more expensive Pixel Buds. So what’s missing?

Missing: volume slider

The first feature taken out is the ability to slide your finger across either bud to raise or lower the volume. If you wanna control volume without touching your phone, you’ll need to ask the Assistant to do it for you. This is a pretty minor feature cut for cost-saving measures, and I can’t imagine anyone using this as an excuse not to buy the earbuds.

Also missing: wireless charging

The other missing feature is wireless charging, which is a bigger deal than the volume gesture but still might not be enough to steer clear of these headphones. You’ll be forced to stick with the USB-C port on the Pixel Buds A-Series to supply a charge.

It’s also worth mentioning that there’s one less indicator light on the Pixel Buds A-Series, but that omission is basically not worth mentioning at all.

Availability

Overall, the Pixel Buds A-Series (despite having such an awkward name) seem like a really good buy at $99. They’ll ship in Clearly White and Dark Olive starting June 17th in the US and Canada. I’m working on getting a review unit so stay tuned.

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