Following on from my series of Lifelong iPhone User Switches to Android videos, there comes a time when you really do need to start reassessing the other areas in your tech bubble as well.
When it comes to headphones the Apple Airpod range is probably the most popular. But they have their problems.
The Airpod Max is a £550 set of headphones that sounds no better, in my opinion than what half-priced 'flagship' headphones from the likes of Sony can offer. So I've taken it upon myself to do a review between these and the Google Pixlebuds to see which one is better!
For those of you in the Apple ecosystem, we already know how good and convenient the Airpods are. But what if we were sacrificing something else for that convenience? What if actually, they weren't that convenient at all?
I'm going to compare these 2 sets of in-ear headphones and give you 5 differences between them, the good and the bad, and number 2 is by far my favourite.
Firstly, let's talk convenience since that is by far I believe, the number 1 selling point on the Airpods. You hold them next to your phone and they connect and they automatically switch between devices when you pick them up.
In reality, for me - it's not quite worked as advertised. Yes, most of the time they will pop up on the screen when you open the lid on the headphones. But the audio switching thing is very hit and miss, and I sometimes really struggle if I pick up my phone to answer a call, then I want to switch over to my Airpods because most of the time, it just won't work.
The Pixelbuds pair with up to 8 devices, and whilst they don't 'effortlessly switch between devices' they do reliably switch between devices when I want them to.
When using them with my Mac to make video calls, for example, they worked, the first time. Every time. Whereas on the Airpod Pros, it is ALWAYS, always the meeting I was running late for where I'd grab the headphones, take them out of the case, and then just... nothing. They'd refuse to connect, and the spinning wheel of death would continue spinning.
I think for me, I have a Mac Mini, Macbook Air, iPad, and iPhone, it probably just doesn't know which one to connect to. But still... not very seamless!
On to comfort, and whilst you could argue that the Airpods are more this seems to only be the case if you're lucky enough to be the person whose ears fit perfectly with these buds.
Weirdly, in my case, the original Airpods actually stay in more than the Airpod Pros do, but with the Airpod Pros, I'm finding myself constantly pushing the headphones back in as they slowly slip out, even with changing the tips, so much so that I've looked at ways to customise the Pros with foam ear tips that hopefully stay in better.
The Pixelbuds really do fit, and I'd argue way more easily and in a more comfortable, way which means they are unlikely to fall out of your ear as the AirPods do. That's because of a clever little rubber arm, which fits into your ear and holds it in place.
Finally, we head over to features. Because this is where these headphones are set apart from each other, both good and bad.
With the Pixel Buds, you get a number of touch controls. Tap to play and pause. Swipe to change the volume and you can trigger your favourite assistant too.
Whereas with the Airpods, you can do most of these except changing the volume, so it's nice to get that feature.
The one missing feature from the Google Pixlebuds compared to Apple AirPods is that there is no active noise cancellation. This is a huge shame as that would really make these Apple killers. But never mind! On to pricing.
The Google Pixlebuds are almost half the price with the Airpod Pro coming in at £249 and the Pixelbuds at £179.
Lastly how about the Audio quality?
For the PixelBuds, actually - really good, and I think this is partly down to the fit. I genuinely can enjoy listening to the music more because I'm not constantly aware that I have headphones in that require constant adjustment to stay in place.
Maybe that's just a me problem and nobody else has issues with getting the Airpods to stay in, but it's definitely an issue for me.
In terms of actual audio quality, there probably isn't much between it in all honesty. The Pixlebuds deliver deep bass and relatively clear highs, though I'd probably say overall can sound a little muddy when there are lots going on especially with the bass. People might not agree when I say muddy. I'm comparing these Airpod Pros and Pixelbuds to my £500 custom in-ear moulded headphones, which are definitely the peak of audio quality if you really want to get into the whole audiophile level of quality discussions.
But for most people, going from Airpod Pros to the Pixel Buds, I don't think many will tell any real difference. Let me know if I'm wrong?
Other than that - there are some minor improvements, things like USB C instead of Stupid Lightning. Yes, Stupid Lightning. It's 2021 and Apple still uses Lightning on iPhones and Airpods. Other than that, everything else is pretty much the same.
Same Battery life. Charging speeds. Weight. Wireless charging. Water resistance, all of that stuff is the same or pretty close to be negligible.
BUT...DON'T BUY THE GOOGLE PIXLEBUDS!
So should you buy the Pixelbuds? No. Don't buy the Pixelbuds.
Because Google has just released the new Pixelbuds A Series, which are basically a £99 version of these ones without losing many, or any of the features. Hopefully, those will turn up in the post soon. Also, Apple has just released the new Beats Studio Buds, though I've never been a huge fan of the beats range - they're priced at £129.99 and do have noise cancellation. So that's an interesting one.
And also on the other end, I'm waiting for my delivery of the Sony WF-1000XM4 Earbuds, because that's an easy name to remember, which really are a direct competitor to the Airpod Pros and I'm expecting really high-quality audio with them, but with all of the Airpod features including noise cancellation for the exact same price. So that's going to be an interesting one to compare.
Otherwise thanks for reading. Please do head over to my YouTube channel and subscribe for more in the Lifelong iPhone user series then click the Like button if you did. Or if you didn't, well, it's back to the drawing board to earn a living. So thanks. Bye.