Google's new Pixel Buds A-Series: They sound good and the $99 price is right

·3 min read
Pixel Buds A-Series ($99) can be pre-ordered today on Google's web site, and will be shipped by June 17.
Pixel Buds A-Series ($99) can be pre-ordered today on Google's web site, and will be shipped by June 17.

Could be a price war coming to the wireless ear bud battle?

Less than a month after Amazon's Echo Buds debuted undercutting Apple's AirPods, Google is launching its newest Pixel Buds at a lower price than Amazon's latest – and lower than previous Pixel Buds ($179), released last year.

Pixel Buds A-Series ($99) can be pre-ordered today on Google's web site and will be shipped by June 17.

Google's latest may not have all the bells and whistles found on pricier pods – such as the noise cancellation you get on AirPods Pro ($249) and Samsung's Galaxy Buds Pro ($199). But the new Pixel Buds may be just the right choice if you are looking to join the wireless wave.

Paid Twitter: Social network launches Twitter Blue, a subscription service, in Canada and Australia

What's your Spotify moon sign? How to get your Spotify musical birth chart and create a perfect playlist with your bestie

Pixel Buds A-Series ($99) can be pre-ordered today on Google's web site, and will be shipped by June 17.
Pixel Buds A-Series ($99) can be pre-ordered today on Google's web site, and will be shipped by June 17.

Pixel Buds: What you need to know

The new Pixel Buds come with three sizes of ear tips (small, medium and large) for the best fit. A small curved stabilizer arc secures the buds in your ears sturdily.

You can pair the Pixel Buds with an Android or iOS device – I tried them with a Pixel 3a XL, Samsung Galaxy S21 and an iPhone 12 Pro.

Listening to podcasts or music while walking, the new Pixel Buds delivered a solid sound scape. The water-resistant ear buds didn't slip on a warm sweat-producing afternoon walk, either.

The speakers' adaptive sound setting adjusts your volume to match your environment but still allowed some outside noises to be heard, such as the constant hum of Brood X cicadas permeating my northern Virginia neighborhood.

Don't eat the cicadas: Cicadas are related to shrimp – don't eat them if you have a seafood allergy, FDA warns

The Pixel Buds have several touch functions including a single tap to pause or answer calls, a double tap to skip a track or reject a call, and three taps to rewind or go to a previous track. You can use your voice to say, "Hey, Google, turn up the volume" or tap and hold to ask Google Assistant other questions.

You get up to five hours of listening per full charge and the charging case can charge the buds several times to get you up to 24 hours of listening time.

Are new Apple AirPods coming?

The wireless headphone space could continue to heat up, as Apple is expected to have new AirPods this year. And who knows whether Amazon's Prime Day (June 21-22) might not include some Echo Buds deals?

If you couldn't tell from seeing all the AirPods dangling from so many ears, Apple currently dominates the Bluetooth stereo headphone market, getting 63% of the $82 million in sales in North America last year, according to Boston-headquartered research firm Strategy Analytics. Samsung (5.5%) and Amazon (4.6%) came in next.

Wireless headphones: Reviewed.com's best wireless earbuds of 2021

But already in 2021, competition has reduced Apple's share to 55% as more players enter the market. "That is going to continue," said Ken Hyers, Strategy Analytics' director for device technologies and Bluetooth device tracker. "Apple will remain the leader in terms of the greatest market share, but that share is shrinking as more and more vendors get into the space."

Follow Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Google Pixel Buds: New ear buds a cheaper $99 option to Apple AirPods

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting