Google’s Pixel Buds Pro debuted in 2022 largely to high praise, but as time has gone on, it’s become more and more clear where improvements can be made, including to ANC.
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ANC, or Active Noise Cancellation, was a first for Pixel Buds Pro in Google’s earbud lineup. Prior Pixel Buds models had taken the opposite approach, instead trying to be an ambient computing device that allowed sound from the outside world to come through along with your tunes. While I personally still loved that idea, the market clearly spoke that it wanted active noise cancellation, and that was absolutely the right play.
On Pixel Buds Pro, the ANC is reasonably effective. In a public environment like the airport or a shop, it blocks out people talking well enough, but that’s pretty much its limit. When it comes to louder noises, like a lawnmower or being on an airplane, it starts to suffer a bit more. The latter especially became more and more of an annoyance for me in recent months as I took several brief trips where I relied on my earbuds over my over-ear headphones.
For a while, I was fine with it, but when the Jabra Elite 8 Active passed through my review desk, it really changed my mind. Jabra’s new earbuds, which are a fitness-focused version of the killerElite 10 our Andrew Romero recently reviewed, have much better ANC compared to the Pixel Buds Pro, and have been my go-to for basically any active scenario where I know I need better ANC. Walking through an airport, being on the plane, mowing my lawn, yard work, etc, I’ve just reached for Jabra’s headphones so much more consistently because every time I grab the Pixel Buds Pro instead, I’m at least a little disappointed…
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