Amazon’s new Echo Buds are the company’s first wireless earbuds. They put Alexa in your ear. They include Bose’s proprietary noise reduction technology to help eliminate outside noises. And the most surprising part is just how good they sound. The Echo Buds cost $129.99, which is a remarkably aggressive price compared to what manufacturers like Sony, Jaybird, Google, Microsoft, and other earbud makers are charging — especially if you want noise reduction.
Apple has managed to steal some of Amazon’s thunder with the new $249 AirPods Pro, which offer active noise cancellation, a customizable fit, and upgraded audio, plus all of the usual AirPod features. But the Echo Buds have exceeded my expectations and definitely warrant some excitement. They don’t offer every bell and whistle (like wireless charging), but I’ve been using them for a little under a week, and even if you never bother using any of the Alexa functionality, these are worth serious consideration.
The Echo Buds are nondescript, come in only black, and lack the signature blue LED that you might expect from an Echo / Alexa product. When worn, they don’t look much different from Samsung’s Galaxy Buds, just slightly larger. There are no physical buttons on the buds — just a touch-sensitive circle on each one that’s easy to find with a finger. Depending on how you want to customize the tap controls, you can change tracks, activate Siri / Google Assistant, or enable noise reduction with a tap, two taps, or by tapping and holding. Unfortunately, you can’t control volume directly on the buds; you’ll have to ask Alexa to crank it up or adjust volume on your phone directly.
Three sizes of silicone tips come in the box (with custom-fit Comply foam tips available separately), and Amazon also includes wing tips that might be useful if you plan to run or exercise with the buds. I noticed that using the largest wing tips could sometimes prevent the Echo Buds from fully docking in their case if I wasn’t paying attention. Even when I followed Amazon’s instructions to carefully line up the wing tip with its respective Echo Bud. This isn’t a problem with the medium and small wing tips. In my case, the largest ear tips kept the Echo Buds in snugly without needing the help of the wings, and they didn’t start to slip out or dislodge while eating or talking, which can sometimes happen if you’ve got an imperfect fit.
The Echo Buds are IPX4 water and sweat resistant, and Amazon says they can last for up to five hours of continuous listening before needing a recharge. The carrying case, which is neither the largest nor the smallest I’ve seen, has enough power to give the buds 20 hours of total listening time.
By far the worst part of the Echo Buds is found on that case, however. Amazon made the very unfortunate decision to use an ancient Micro USB charging port instead of USB-C or wireless charging. In late 2019. I’d managed to go all USB-C before reviewing these earbuds, but Amazon isn’t ready to let go of the past. This company has shown an extreme reluctance to change connectors; the new Fire HD 10 tablet is Amazon’s first USB-C device. I’m sure Amazon’s decision………Read More>>