Over the past several years, I’ve become a bit of an Apple fanboy. That is to say, I dove headfirst into the Apple ecosystem, locking myself into the whole iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods cycle. Despite that, the last two months I’ve spent with the Google Pixel Buds Pro have made it exceptionally difficult to go back to my AirPods Pro.
I picked up the Pixel Buds Pro as part of a kit to check out all the newest Google things — including the Pixel 8 Pro. Despite being a big fan of what Google is doing with the Pixel, I’m just too engrained in the Apple ecosystem at this point to step away. In fact, I’m writing this article on a MacBook Air right now, so I’ve swallowed the hook, line, and sinker.
But I don’t regret it. Sure, I love what Google is doing with its devices, but I’ve never felt like I made the wrong choice in going with Apple. After two months with the Pixel Buds Pro, though, I’m honestly kicking myself for not buying into the hype of Google’s earbuds sooner.
First, I’d like to note that there are definitely some things that not using the AirPods Pro makes me miss out on — like Spatial Audio when listening on my iPhone or MacBook, and also the auto audio switching. AirPods handle that so well, and while the Pixel Buds Pro also offers a similar system, it just doesn’t work with Apple products, which does put the earbuds at a bit of a disadvantage.
But, there’s one place that Google’s Pixel Buds Pro stands out compared to Apple’s offering, and that’s comfort. AirPods aren’t exceptionally uncomfortable. I’ve always been able to wear them for hours without having to worry about ear pain or anything of that sort. However, they just don’t fit well in my ears, and I’ve tried every size of the little tips that Apple offers.
Google’s Pixel Buds Pro, though, fit right into my ear, and the lack of a stick hanging down from my ear makes me less likely to knock them out if I have to swipe my hair away from my ear or if I have to take my glasses off for any reason.
Comfort is a big part of the audio equation for me. It’s just as important as the overall quality of the audio that earbuds can put out. And while I love the quality of the AirPods Pro and how easily they sync up with my various Apple devices, it’s just easier to wear the Google Pixel Buds Pro without having to worry about them slipping out.
Additionally, I’ve found that the touch controls on the Pixel Buds Pro are just more responsive. I’m not sure exactly what the issue is, but the controls on my AirPods Pro have always been finicky at best, often causing me to knock the entire bud out of my ear just because I wanted to skip a song or change the volume.
With the Pixel Buds Pro, though, I don’t have this issue. Maybe it’s because all of the weight and mass of the earbud is concentrated in one spot, or maybe it’s just because it fits better in my ear. Either way, I’ve found the touch controls on the Pixel Buds Pro a lot easier to manage.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you that Pixel Buds Pro are better than AirPods Pro in every way, because they aren’t. In fact, I’d say that both pairs of earbuds are on par with each other, offering solid earbuds and audio quality with a ton of little perks — AirPods Pro are actually slighter higher quality, but it’s not enough to write the Pixel Buds Pro off completely. And, if you’re as engrossed in the Apple ecosystem as I am, sticking with the AirPods Pro just feels natural.
There’s also the fact that the Pixel Buds Pro doesn’t automatically sync up with Apple’s Find My, another really nice addition to the AirPods that makes it hard to stick your feet outside of Apple’s main ecosystem. Still, I’d be lying if I said the Pixel Buds Pro aren’t a great alternative to the AirPods Pro, and if I’ve got to sacrifice a few quality-of-life features for superior comfort and better touch controls, then that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.