The sub-Rs 10,000 price band in the TWS Bluetooth earbuds segment has seen a significant jump in quality. Battery life and sound quality have improved, while features like wireless charging and ANC are soon becoming a standard at this price point. We pitted two of the best TWS buds at this price point against each […]
The sub-Rs 10,000 price band in the TWS Bluetooth earbuds segment has seen a significant jump in quality. Battery life and sound quality have improved, while features like wireless charging and ANC are soon becoming a standard at this price point. We pitted two of the best TWS buds at this price point against each other — the OnePlus Buds Pro and the Google Pixel Buds A-Series — to see how they compare.
Both products take different design routes yet both look distinctive and elegant. OnePlus has nailed the design of the charging case — it’s slim, just the type you can slip into those tight jeans. It has managed this despite packing a 520mAh battery in this compact case. The Google A-Series’ case is perfect for those multiple clicks if you like using your case as a fidget toy. We dig the soft and smooth finish, and it’s also ultra-compact; the design sensibilities extend to the buds too. The distinctive element here, and a practical design touch, is the stabiliser arc — a tiny extension on the earbuds that holds it in place without the fear of it falling off.
The OnePlus buds are feather-light too, at 4.35g each. The premium shortened-stem design ensures a great fit, and we dig the metallic finish on it. While these stems don’t have a clearly indented area for the sensor, the controls are easy to find and allow you to switch to ANC (Active Noise Cancellation) mode without a fuss.
ANC is very effective on the OnePlus Buds Pro. These buds are kitted with 11mm dynamic drives, with a standard frequency response of 20Hz to 20,000Hz. The bass was reassuring; these buds deliver a balanced performance with great sound isolation. The Pixel Buds boast good sound too and feature 12mm dynamic drivers. I found a marked difference with ‘Bass Boost’ activated. Google is betting big on its adaptive sound that automatically tweaks volume levels depending on your external environment. It’s a clever feature that actually works; I found it particularly useful during outdoor workouts. While there’s no ANC mode, these buds do a reasonably good job of isolating you from external sounds.
The Google Pixel Buds A-Series buds are fitted with dual ‘beamforming’ microphones and that gives them a slight edge over the OnePlus Buds Pro in this department. My callers could hear me clearly when I was outdoors and in the gym with background music. Call quality is solid on the OnePlus Buds Pro that is loaded with three microphones on each earpiece. Here again, I was audible despite external sounds in the background.
The OnePlus wins this round with 38 hours of battery life (including the case). These buds should comfortably last for about 5 hours with ANC on. Google claims a battery life of 5 hours for the A-Series; we found that fairly accurate in our tests. You get 24 hours with the charging case included. Both buds offer quick charging.
OnePlus offers extra enhancements if you are within the OnePlus ecosystem. You can experience a low-latency ‘Pro Gaming mode’ (with a response time of just 94 milliseconds) if you’ve paired the device with a OnePlus smartphone with OxygenOS 11 or above. Google Assistant is an integral part of the Pixel Buds experience. I found the ‘on the fly’ translation tool to be useful, something you might use once global travel patterns slowly get back to normal. The Android experience with the companion App (Pixel Buds app) offers more customisations and options than hooking this up with an iPhone. While both buds are IPX-4 certified for water and dust resistance, only the OnePlus Buds Pro offers wireless charging.
The OnePlus Buds Pro brings you better battery life and wireless charging. It also scores better on ANC. Sound quality is an area where both products are evenly matched, but the Pixel Buds A-Series scores a few extra points due to its call quality and the handy live translation tool. Ultimately, your choice might boil down to a design preference.