What are echo buds 2nd gen | true wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation and alexa | black features?
- Dynamic audio and active noise cancellation (anc) – premium speakers deliver crisp, balanced sound. Sealed in-ear design and anc limit background noise, while passthrough mode lets you hear what’s going on around you.
- Compact and comfortable – echo buds are small, light, and ipx4 sweat-resistant, with a secure, customizable fit that’s made to move with you.
- Hands-free entertainment – echo buds work with the alexa app to stream music, play podcasts, and read audible audiobooks—just ask.
- Long-lasting battery – get up to 5 hrs music playback per charge and up to 15 hrs with the charging case. A 15-min quick charge provides up to 2 hrs of music.
- Leave your phone in your pocket – use your voice to make calls, set reminders, add items to your shopping list, or even start a meditation session.
- Works with other assistants – compatible with ios and android, and supports access to siri and google assistant.
- Designed to protect your privacy – amazon is not in the business of selling your personal information to others. Echo buds are built with multiple layers of privacy controls, including the ability to mute the mics with the alexa app.
Looking for specific info?
I was promised 6 months of free amazon music unlimited. So how do i get that? There is no email from amazon and no word on how to get the free 6 mos
Can the wireless charging case also be plugged into an outlet with a cord to charge, or can it only charge wirelessly?
Can you bluetooth these earbuds to your tv or other bluetooth devices to listen to tv programs?
Can these be worn while shooting instead of ear plugs?
Do they work independant of each other?
I’m a little confused. Is it 5 hours or 15 hours playback time?
Does anc work without a wifi connection? I.e. Will it still block noise while i am outside and away from my wifi or bluetooth signal?
Charging case has two options: wireless and ‘charging case’ – does that mean it is only wired? Are these options correct?
Did anyone else get jipped out of the 6 months free audible?
Are these suitable for shooting sports?
How do you get this to read text messages on your ios device? Can you send messages using the ear buds?
How do you make sure they stick to the ear so they don’t fall off easily?
Can this product be used for a long time?
Can they be connected to two devices at the same time?
Can the tap control tones/beeps be turned off so they don’t beep every time i pause or unpause or skip tracks or turn on/off anc etc?
Do they have location tracking? Has anyone lost one or both and had success?
Okay, so i’m reading that you need a wifi connection, but would it just connect via bluetooth to my apple watch? Would i be able to leave my phone?
3 sets of wings: the box and web say two sets of wings: lg and sm, but i got what looks like a lg and 2 sets of sm. Is one of these actually medium?
Does anyone at amazon actually use their products with their other products? How do you use when you have multiple firetv devices?
Is the sound better and louder in the 2nd edition? I have the first edition, and feel the volume isnt as great as i would like.
What are our customers saying?
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Back in 2019, i didn’t buy the first gen amazon echo buds as they just, frankly, didn’t offer a particularly compelling package to me other than the price tag. For $129, amazon was offering you ear buds that sounded okay, had some “sound reduction tech”, charged via micro-usb (no wireless option), had just average waterproofing, and just average 5 plus hour battery life for buds with no anc. Fast forward to 2021 and amazon is back with the gen 2 echo buds. To me, the package amazon is offering is far more compelling. At the current price of $99 you are getting the same type of battery life, a smaller / lighter bud, true active noise cancelling (anc), upgraded usbc / available wireless charging ($119.99), a slightly upgraded chipset, and more. With these upgrades, i really wanted to try these to see how they were and how well they are integrated into the world of alexa. Here are my initial thoughts after spending some time with them:
*update on privacy* i want to squeeze this in here early in the review as there is a lot of negativity surrounding location and microphone permissions and general privacy with these. This just isn’t really an issue. Simply accept the privacy requests to set up your buds and then go back to change them in your settings. I don’t get all that caught up in amazon and google listening to me honestly. If you find my conversations compelling, you have bigger issues. However, if given the choice, i would prefer they didn’t. So far, i have seen no change in performance. The one that surprises me is that alexa pulls up with voice commands just like it is supposed to. I figured alexa needed access to the mic to pull that off but it doesn’t. Listen, if you are an amazon alexa / google home / siri user, you have to know that these devices are inherently invasive. Privacy is a good point to consider when you are buying any of these devices. That said, these are no more prying than any other device. Just make sure to tweak your settings after the initial install. Now, back to the review!
-sound quality: i have been using the new $400 bowers and wilkins pi7 buds heading into receiving these which is probably the wrong thing to be listening to heading into a review of a $100 set of buds. I have to say, however, that i am pleasantly surprised by what amazon has done here. You get solid lows, decent present mids, and pretty darn crisp highs. It all sounds darn good to me. There isn’t a lot of separation in the music. It is a bit flat when comparing them to more expensive buds. There is an eq in the app that allows you to tweak the sound a bit as well which i am glad to see. Amazon includes the aac codec here but does not support aptx. Apple owners should be happy but no advanced codec support is here for android which may help explain the more flat sound i am hearing on my s21 ultra. Also, when watching video there is no noticeable latency. The screen matches up to what you are hearing. This is often an issue at lower price points. I was really expecting lackluster sound here and i just am not getting it. Is it really five star sound? No but, at $100, it is punching well above its price tag. Well done!
-active noise cancellation: this is amazon’s first go with anc in house (the first gen used bose active noise reduction tech) and it is pretty darn good. Not close to the class leading bose quietcomfort buds but really good. Closing in with what buds from jabra, apple, and samsung give you. There are a lot of complaints here about ‘barely present’ anc. My recommendation is to really play with the tips. Probably do not install the wings. You need to get a fairly tight seal into your ear in order to have any kind of anc with a bud. Make sure the tip is small enough to be comfortable and then give these a slight twist up to torque them in a bit. Again, i am certainly not getting world class anc here but i didn’t expect that at this price and what i am getting is good at isolating me from my surroundings. I need to play around a bit more here but, so far, call me reasonably impressed. The ambient pass through that amazon is providing here is also good and adjustable in the app.
-form factor / controls: tap and controls are precise and accurate. They are a touch sensitive so i often register taps when adjusting or removing the buds but i find that to be typical in this space. Further, the echo buds are super light and small in the ear. A real pleasure to wear. I have read about some fit issues and, frankly, i just don’t get it. I guess ear fit is pretty subjective but, when compared to my other anc buds from bose, m&d, b&w, jabra, and samsung, these are easily the most comfortable. There are a number of tips and wings that come in the box. I would really try to go without the wings as much as i like them. The buds don’t fit in the case as well with them on which has caused me to need to fiddle with them a bit when returning them to the case. Also, i find that, while the wings make the buds fit more tightly in your ear, they actually break the seal you need to get effective anc in your ear canal. These buds are so light i think that most folks, with the right tips installed, should be able to get by without the wings. The ipx4 rating is a little on the light side but should handle most workouts which is good because, given the lightweight comfortable fit, you will want to use these in the gym. The battery gives roughly 5 hours on bud and there is another 2 in the case. This is about average for anc capable buds. You can use either bud independently and they auto-pause your content when a bud is removed. All the high end features you really need without the price tag!
-the case: so many companies either ignore case design or decide that is a good place to save money. To me, the case can almost make or break a set of ear buds as the case is what we interact with all day even more than the buds themselves. In maybe a first for me, i think amazon split the gap with this case. They did not ignore the importance of the case but i think they did use it as a place to save money. It is a good size and weight but the plastic feels light and inexpensive to me. The hinge is unsatisfying in the way it closes. I like a lid to snap shut like the apple cases or the case from master and dynamic. This just doesn’t have that. There are reasonably strong magnets that keep the buds secured and charging properly. Further, i love the three led lights that show the battery on both buds and the case. Great addition! The case is not a strong point on the echo buds but it is not a glaring weakness.
-the app / alexa: so, candidly, i am still learning to use alexa as an assistant and the app you use to control these is the alexa app. As mentioned, you can control the strength of the ambient pass through and get an eq that allows you to customize your sound. You can control your music and keep your buds updated. Of course, you have all of the alexa stuff in there as well for all of the other settings, options, and devices. I wish amazon made a stand alone echo buds app that was less convoluted, but i get the decision. Overall, the set up works.
There is a lot more to unpack with these so i will continue to edit and add to this review as i go. I own a lot of ear buds and, while these aren’t as good all around as many of them, none of them offer such a tremendous value proposition. If you are in the alexa assistant world, these are a must own if you need some buds. If you want a solid set of buds at a very reasonable price, amazon has created a very compelling package here. I want to be clear here that i am rating these a five star based on a value curve. These aren’t truly five star buds. It is just that amazon has managed to give you an awful lot for your hard earned money. You get good sound, decent anc, really comfortable buds, ambient pass through, auto-pause, single bud usage, alexa voice on-board, usbc / available wireless charging, and more. If you need audiophile sound or complete world disrupting anc, these aren’t it. Amazon has just managed to create a good all around package and do so at a price far more reasonable than most. Great job to the design team at amazon! More to come!
*update* worked in the yard all day today including lawn mowing. With music playing rather loudly, the anc completely blocked the noise of the mower. I could hear it in between songs but it was clearly muffled sounding. The anc here is good especially for a first effort. Also, range on these is very good. I left my phone on my back porch and took the yard waste to the street. Easily 80-90 feet. Only when i got to the very end of my drive did the buds start cutting out but they never disconnected. Solid!
*update* finally got good codec information. Aac is here making these a solid less expensive airpod pro alternative. No aptx so us android folks lose out. Still having a good experience with these. More to come.
I do not normally write reviews but the reviews here aggravate me as they have not done their due diligence, have flat out no idea, just regurgitated their first emotional impulse, or have absolutely nothing to do with the product. I also feel because they don’t carry a big name as apple or samsung does on the audio scene, they automatically get cut short because of branding. I experienced this firsthand when i told my brother i picked up a pair of these buds and he immediately responded with “don’t amazon devices suck with their sound?” listen, maybe at one point they did, but with every new product, improvements can be made. Just because you had a bad experience once doesn’t mean you always will.
Just a few reviews on here that i want to clarify. Someone said you need to download the alexa app to use the buds. No, you don’t. If you want an express setup, fine-tune it with the anc, and the eq to get the best experience, it would better serve you to download the app. I don’t see why that’s a problem considering every other bud out there asks the same thing. You can use the buds but in order to tune anything, you need to download their corresponding app. I had to do the very same thing with every other bud i tested.
I hear people were baited with the free audible subscription. I didn’t buy these for free audible, if you did, you bought them for the wrong reason. If you already redeemed a free code, why that would be a shock that you can’t keep buying alexa devices to redeem your months of free (insert subscription offer) only to be able to return the product and basically do that indefinitely baffles me. And why not receiving audible for free has actual anything to do with the product, i will never know. I understand that if you were promised a free gift and didn’t get it, that would be a bummer. But take that up with amazon, not on the review of the buds that have no bearing on the status of your audible subscription.
These buds are great. I tested them side by side against the airpods pro, samsung buds pro, and the huawei freebuds pro. In sound fidelity, soundstage, and overall roundness of sound, the echo buds win. For context, i have a studio for voice-over work. I use jbl reference monitors. For headphones, i use the beyerdynamic dt 1990 pro. I tested all buds against studio-quality reference speakers and sound engineering software. Of course, none of the buds stood a chance, however one was clearly better than the rest. The one that most clearly represented the music and sounded most closely to the reference monitors were the echo buds by a mile.
8.5/10 echo buds: the bass was very thumpy and rumbly, hit nice and hard when it was supposed to, and did it with a high level of clarity.
9/10 huawei: just as good as the echo buds, maybe even touch better overall, slightly more precise.
4/10 samsung: there was bass when there wasn’t supposed to be. Seemed like it was on all the time and was very muddy with no clarity at all.
5/10 apple: decently responsive but didn’t have the power to hit hard when the track called for it.
9/10 echo buds: captured every note of voice and captured the whole orchestral range without anyone instrument dominating due to a lack of quality equalization. The good thing with these i can easily change the equalization if need be.
7/10 huawei: good but very bland, clarity wasn’t all there. Still, not bad at all.
5/10 samsung: that bass is muddying this up something terrible, i even had it on the “clear’ setting in the eq. The lack of a proper eq makes it impossible to make these buds work. The presets are garbage.
8/10 apple: i cannot deny these are very good and capture everything well with a great soundstage for a bud.
9/10 echo buds: very round, not tinny. Clear and concise.
7/10 huawei: gets there but a few notes start to hurt your ears, too much.
4/10 samsung: i’m starting to hate these now. Once again these are muddied by that awful bass that doesn’t even hit hard. The eq makes it sound tinny and very high to break past the overblown bass. Didn’t realize they were beats by dre. But name sells so…
10/10 apple: this is where these really shine, the higher notes are perfectly represented on their own. The lack of punchy bass leaves them feeling flat and not rounded out.
The echo buds may not be the best in a particular area. But in my testing, they are without question the overall winner. And for the price, that’s just a bonus.
Anc: tested with vacuum, exhaust fan, central air ac unit, on a crowded street, and inside an airplane during flight. (anc hiss and distortion is present on all buds but some more so than others, be objective, not dramatic)
4/10 echo buds: yikes, these did not do well. Some reviews say it doesn’t work, it does, stop being dramatic. However, they do not nearly stop incoming noise the way the others do. It stops a lot of the bass but high notes seem to come right through. When you turn the anc on and off it’s clearing stopping all the bass and some mids from coming in. Little bits of hiss and distortion.
8/10 huawei: very impressed.
7/10 samsung: good job
9/10 apple: this one easily did the best with the smallest amount of hiss and music distortion.
7/10 echo buds: very present and loud hiss, but realistic, not electronic sounding.
6/10 huawei: not a lot of hiss but sounded electronic or robotic.
6/10 samsung: hiss is there but not robotic, rather a bit muffled if anything.
8/10 apple: does a very good job but a slight electronic sound can be heard.
Some people said the echo buds are always recording you. Ok, no it isn’t, but you can also turn the microphone off at any time. It even says it in the description. “including the ability to mute the mics with the alexa app.”
everything else like customizability preferences, fit and feel, call quality, assistant responsiveness, etc., are all subjective due to the nature of different people and different circumstances and environments.
i understand the music and sound people enjoy is subjective and that’s not how this is rated. This is rated objectively, using the onboard eq of the buds to get them the closest to reference as possible. I prefer to listen to my music as the artist intended. The echo buds objectively got the closest to reference while maintaining their roundness and soundstage overall. However, if anc is the biggest factor in your decision, might i suggest the sony wh-1000xm4. I do not mean to sound dismissive but we are talking about buds and they have limitations. If you are looking for buds and the intended purpose of them therein, the echo buds deliver. They also include the most ear and wingtips to cater to almost every ear type. They are the best overall package and at half the price, win-win.
Let me start by saying i am not an audiophile but i am a music lover i go everywhere with earbuds and need music always. I was a galaxy bud pro user for the longest and before i bought the echo buds 2 i was in the market for galaxy buds pro2. I really wanted to compare because the echobuds 2 were on sale and it was an amazing price. I am so glad that i got these earbuds they are hands down my favorite ear buds overall. I hope a echo buds 3 is on the market one day i will definitely get them
• sound: they sound amazing, in comparison with the gbpro they sound just as good and that is high praise. I prefer the bass profile on the echo buds pro 2
• wireless charging: this should be the standard i will not buy earbuds without wireless charging
• passthrough audio: works really well on these earbuds. The echo buds have a feature that i love, you can use passthrough with only one ear bud in. I play picklball and listen to music at the same time, the passthrough with one earbud is a great feature
• anc: the anc on this device is not as good as the galaxy bud pro but it is really good
• fit: i prefer the in ear feel of the galaxy bud pro2 but the fit for the echo buds 2 is great, they feel great and come with wings. I live the fit test which helped me choose my ear tips. I ran a 5k this week with them on and had no issues did not have to adjust and did not have any issues with wind noise. I have noticed that you may want to turn off the anc and passthrouh when running, because having them on might cause you to hear more of your stride (hope that make sense) i am not a heavy runner but when i had the pass through on i noticed it a little more. Btw i have had these buds for 4 weeks and i wear them a lot, i have never had ear fatigue wearing them
• alexa built in: what can i say this works well i like how i can turn the volume up and down. One of the things that i did not realize before i got these is the alexa integration works for all of my enabled devices. I use this all the time, and somehow alexa knows which device i am talking to.
• case: i first though that i would not like the case because of its profile but i have gotten use to it, it is bigger than the gbpro but it is not very big and does not cause a problem in my pockets. I use the wings and once they got caught in the door because they did not seat correctly but i do not think that is a big deal.
• the only problem with alexa is i noticed that if i ask her to pause the music and then un pause she might not get that correct. I have to start the play list over or reshuffle
• fit: the fit for these ear buds are not a real con and this is being really nitpicky, but the fit for the galaxy buds pro is a little better the ear bud fits inside of your ear and it is super snug and feels very natural. The echo buds 2 fit really well and i do not have any problems with fit, but they do sit outside of the ear, which is not bad it is just not as cool as being inside of the ear. The positive thing about the profile of the eb2 is it is much easier to use the tap functions. I have noticed that the taps are more accurate on these ear buds.
• i often play pickleball with one bud in and every once in a while when making a strong move there is a small distortion in the sound, it last less than a second but it is a slight imperfection. The last time i played it maybe happened twice, so not a huge concern.
• 3d audio: why no 3d audio? Not a big deal but it would have been cool feature to have
• regular mode: small issue but i wish you could turn on normal mode (no anc or pass through) without having to use the app. This is a very small issue and 98% of the time i use anc or passthrough (and i assume most people do also) so maybe that is why they do not add it
Amazon did a lot right this time around. I had issues with the first gen echo buds, enough to not keep them. Their case was large, it used micro-usb, the earbuds were bulky, and the noise reduction was mediocre. However, amazon improved on nearly every aspect this time around. The charging case is smaller, it charges via usb-c with optional qi compatibility, the earbuds are smaller, their sound quality is better, and the anc is effective.
I watched and read, what felt like, tons of reviews for these earbuds. Some complained about the anc, others had issues with the overall build quality, and some reviewers said the earbuds were still bulky. I was worried that these weren’t going to be able to compete with other earbuds and fall flat. That hasn’t been the case. Amazon’s 2nd generation echo buds compete with the galaxy buds pro, airpods pro, and other premium anc earbuds. Yeah, the anc isn’t as good as the airpods pro (or new sony xm4 earbuds) but they’re also at least twice as expensive as these (at least during prime day).
The amazon echo app is required for setup, but you don’t have to give amazon access to everything. It requested my location when using the app (not all the time), it wanted access to my microphone but only uses it when the app is open and i trigger alexa, and that’s about it. Nothing was out of the ordinary and you aren’t signing your life away to amazon, unlike what some reviewers are making the echo app out to be.
I like the audio quality of the earbuds themselves. They have a decent amount of bass out of the box with details in the mids and highs. I adjusted their eq to increase the bass and highs a couple of notches, which was about it. The audio quality still isn’t as ‘thunderous’ and booming as my powerbeats pro but it is better than standard airpods, my galaxy buds+, and other earbuds in the $100-$150 range. I even like it better than my wife’s airpods pros. The anc is good, it’s enough to cancel out office chatter, the fan in my office, and other things. It dulls the sound my keyboard makes and, when music is playing, i can’t really hear anything. The earbuds get nice and loud as well. I haven’t used these on a plane, but i think they would get the job done. The anc isn’t as good as $280 earbuds from bose or sony but that should be expected when buying $80-$100 earbuds (or even at their full price).
I disabled alexa from the get-go. I have an iphone and prefer to use siri. I adjusted the tapping controls, which actually work unlike the controls on earbuds from other manufacturers (i’m looking at you ue), so that tapping and holding on the right earbud triggers siri. It works without issues. I may eventually enable alexa once amazon rolls out the feature allowing me to select which apps alexa will read notifications from. Until then, i’ll keep it disabled.
The earbuds are comfortable, and i’ve been able to wear them for hours on end without issues. The medium ear tips fit my ears, but i did need to add the medium sport fins. Three different size fins and four different ear tips come in the box, the medium for everything fit my ears. It doesn’t matter if i’m walking, bending over, laying down, or sitting upright. The earbuds comfortably stay put without me having to adjust them or feeling like they’re falling out of my ears.
My only real complaint is battery life. The echo buds 2 compete with the airpods pro in terms of battery life, but 5 hours isn’t much when compared to other earbuds. It’s not bad but it could have been better. Amazon went with realtek for the bluetooth in these instead of qualcomm, the latter focuses more on efficiency. Amazon could have sacrificed efficiency for having a solid connection. These have skipped once on me when i was outside walking next to electrical equipment, i don’t think that’s bad at all. Still, 5 hours with anc isn’t much and the two additional charges out of the case aren’t a lot either. I would expect at least 3 additional charges out of the case at this point.
That’s my only gripe against these. Amazon made a solid pair of earbuds that have become my daily drivers. They would have been fine at $140 but are even better at $100. Definitely pick up a pair this prime day or the next time they’re on sale. I also recoomend buying the companion anker charging pad. These will work with any qi charger but the anker pad is small, has an indendation for the buds 2 case, and there are status lights for the earbuds and case on the pad.
i added back a star, which i had initially withheld because i thought the tips were too shallow. But after using the buds for a few days, i haven’t really had any issues due to that. They do not fall out and the seal seems fine for sound quality. More importantly, i find i can wear them for a long time without my ears getting tired, unlike pretty much all other buds i’ve had before this pair. So maybe my other buds having tips that go deeper into the ear canal is not such a good thing. The other thing i wanted to add here that i should have put in my initial impressions is that the build quality of both the case and buds is very high. It is a premium product. I also like the support it gets from the alexa app. You can customize what you want the touch controls to do. And it is cool to be able to see the precise battery charge on each bud and the case. Overall this is really a great product.
Previous review, initial impressions:
i just got these today and have been using them for a few hours. Overall i am very pleased, though i have not yet tried noise cancellation. Initially i was a bit disappointed with sound quality, but i tried them first with amazon music. Not sure if prime music is lower quality when streamed to a mobile device (usually i listen with home devices) or else the particular tracks i chose were not the best quality (seventies era music). When i played my own music files that i have stored on my phone, i was very pleased. I’m hoping my further testing with amazon music will be a better experience, because using the buds to ask (via voice) for a particular artist or song is a nice advantage of these buds.
The main thing i was not entirely happy with is that the various ear tips are all a bit too shallow for me. I hope amazon makes more shapes, including double-flanged or at least slightly deeper ones, even if these require an extra purchase (though these buds are expensive enough that including more shapes seems fair). There was a great fit-tester in the alexa app, which automatically tested fit with a sound test for each bud — very cool. I am a small person with smallish ears, so i was surprised i ended up using the large tips (even extra large fit fine but after a couple of hours my ears hurt). I think partly i needed the bigger sizes because of the shallowness. In any case i very strongly encourage trying all of the sizes. Which brings to mind the only other criticism i have, which is the tips were difficult to put onto the buds. I guess it is a trade-off to ensure they do not slip off while in your ear, but something like that has never happened to me with other buds.
I just wanted to be one of the first reviews (i don’t write many reviews at all)…but i actually got these a day early and played around with them for a bit. Great craftsmanship, solid design and feel…and i’m very impressed with the sound. I normally am not the biggest fan of headphones that go in the ear, as they tend to somehow make my ears very warm…but these didn’t do that at all for the test run i gave them (about 45 minutes). Good noise cancellation, deep bass, high trebles and the best part of all: alexa at the ready. Pretty cool to just be able to say what song to play and there it goes…even knowing the distance/space from other echo/alexa devices and picking the closest ones to the voice saying alexa (something i had been worried about). I do wonder what would happen if someone near you said ‘alexa’ while using these…will have to try that out in the future. Though this might be common sense to some, when setting up the echo buds with your phone, you need to turn the bluetooth on in your phone. I know that shouldn’t be a thing, but a lot of people don’t know that and for some reason the directions never mention turning the bluetooth on. Again, these seem awesome, i’m very impressed with them and extremely happy to have them…but it’s only been half a day or so. But from the initial outlook, i would definitely recommend these to anyone as they seem like a great set of buds and a vast improvement over the first generation. I will update this review if things get worse or somehow get better…but as of now: a+.
***update*** though it says i just bought the ‘charging case’ version in my heading (i don’t know why/tried to correct it 3 times), i actually bought the wireless charging case and the optional pad that it sits in that has the built in indentation just for the case. The whole time it was supposed to be here the day after the release, friday, may 14. I am now getting a notice from amazon that it won’t be here until july 21…and that pretty much ticks me off. I did check the case against a wireless charger that i have but don’t trust, because i saw a review of someone getting a normal case by accident…and it does work as a wireless charger. One other little inconvenience, if you are buying new wall plugs (because these buds as well as the 2 month backlogged charging pad do not come with them) it should be noted that the cables are usb-c to usb-a. I purchased 2 anker wall plugs with the c plugs thinking that the cables coming with these items would be ‘c to c’…now i need to buy extra adapters, new cables or new plugs. Just something to think about before you buy any extras and end up with mismatched pieces such as myself.
‘2nd update and yelling alexa’ i used the echo buds today (friday, may 14) while cutting the grass for about an hour. No problems with power, as the battery life was great. I decided to use the anc to drown out the mower’s noise, and it effectively did that…so much so that i actually stalled my mower because i didn’t realize how thick/high the grass was and how the mower was struggling with it. I normally base those things on the sound of the mower, as that is what i listen for…but i really couldn’t hear those nuances at all. Don’t get me wrong, it didn’t get rid of all the mower’s sound entirely by itself, but with the music playing loudly i really didn’t hear it until it wasn’t running.
However…i really have no desire to pull out my phone to change channels, songs or the volume…so this is why i wanted these buds, so i could just tell alexa to do that (maybe not on a plane, but you get my point). The problem is that maybe the anc works too well, as i was yelling ‘alexa’ and she just couldn’t hear me most of the time. As good as these were at canceling out the mower sound, they were canceling out my voice as well. It was truly pretty bad and annoying, so much so that i shut it off and went with the pass through sound option, and then alexa was able to hear me ask to play a song or change the channel…all without yelling. But then the mower’s sound was there again…so i don’t have an answer or a solution to this little predicament. Maybe there is an easy way to fix this, but nothing that i could figure out as of yet. I still would highly recommend these, no ‘warm ear feeling’, alexa ready to help and great overall sound.
I previously purchased the samsung galaxy ear buds for my samsung galaxy s22 ultra phone and rarely used them as i was not able to really hear out of them. So i hesitated buying these, but i’ve been impressed with the other echo/fire products ive purchased. I have been absolutely amazed by these echo buds. They fit my little ears & even though i am deaf in my right ear, i still wear both at times just because i feel ‘lopsided’. I have noticed that i can wear both in my left ear, it just takes some adjusting. The sound clarity is very good & being able to connect easily to all my devices is a definite plus!
4.5/5 stars if the option was available.
First: for the price (i got them at $99.00 – non-wireless charger version), these are an exceptional value. Some reviews complain about the requirement for alexa integration into their mobile os…honestly, this should be an expectation given that you’re purchasing an amazon product – you will have to download the alexa mobile app to use these, but the integration beyond that varies depending on how you intend to use the buds. I don’t have alexa ‘on’, and i have the long-press on the right bud activate google assistant (my preferred assistant, you can also have it activate siri). Alexa – if activated – doesn’t require a long-press to be summoned (voice recognition works with alexa but not with the other two). I prefer the long-press function…still haven’t gotten used to calling out a virtual assistant by name. Below are the pros and cons most relevant to most users of wireless ear buds:
– excellent fit and comfortable! I’ve owned over 5 different pairs of wireless ear buds and these fit as well as any i’ve used. I can run in these – including on trails – without having to worry about them falling out (very few ear buds past that test for me, and that’s without the added wingtips attached to the buds). Fit is very subjective (obviously) and will vary for everyone, but these are far more secure and comfortable than most ear buds out there. Have worn these for 3 hours straight and felt zero discomfort.
– great size! Aesthetically, i like the look of these more than the stems and they are small/flat enough to be very inconspicuous. Face on, they barely protrude out from the ears and from a profile/side angle they are small enough to not look awkward. I got the black ones, and you can barely see the logo on them which is nice (you really have to get close to)…it looks like the white-buds have a more pronounced logo/branding on them. I don’t have an issue with the branding being visible, but for anyone who does it’s barely visible on the black buds.
– solid battery life (it isn’t amazing but it is decent); i get 3hrs with music playing at 100% volume (anc off) which is pretty solid and more than most people need.
– very good audio quality! I’m not exactly an audiophile, but i’m very happy with the audio quality on these.
– very good mics! I’ve had people on both phone calls and video calls/zooms comment on the quality of the mics on these. I’ve also recorded myself to confirm the mics’ quality and they’re pretty impressive (especially considering the size and shape of the buds).
– touch control is sensitive…don’t know if this is a fair ‘con’ since it’s the nature of the beast but you can’t adjust the touch sensitivity and i know that you can on some ear buds. Something i get used to, but occasionally i accidentally trigger it.
– touch controls aren’t that customizable; i’ve definitely owned other ear buds with far more customization options when it comes to touch controls.
– anc (active noise cancellation) is just ‘okay’…at this price point it’s impressive – but it isn’t comparable to airpod pros. The pass through mode is actually more impressive than the anc. I honestly don’t use anc that often – it is noticeable when you activate it, it’s just not as impressive as others i’ve experienced. But, given the price of these buds, their anc is definitely solid.
If you’re looking for a relatively bare-bones pair of anc ear buds that are attractive, that fit well/won’t fall out of your ears when running, that are comfortable, and that have solid mics for communicating via calls/video – there aren’t any options at the time of this writing (june, 2021) that’ll beat these from a value standpoint. For the vast majority of users these are going to be extremely satisfying.
These are my everyday buds. I use them about 12 hours daily, mostly one side at a time, between standby and active play, always with alexa and anc. Each bud lasts about 3 hours but recharges functionality in about 20 minutes, so it’s easy to use one or both throughout the day. The case has to be recharged daily with this type of use, but that’s an easy thing to habituate. The sound quality, anc, and range are all as good or better than comparable buds, but alexa is the real star of the show. While the reliability isn’t the same as a show or dot, it’s close, and the ‘always there’ feature more than makes up for it. The ability to have an assistant in your ear is no small thing! Fans of the singularity, this is for you!
(updated my review below to correct a wrong statement about the “echo buds not having a setting to turn off anc and pass through altogether”. It turns out there is actually an option in alexa called power save which turns them both off)
airpod pro user here so my take on the echo buds is a direct comparison to the apple airpod pro earbuds. Loved the airpod pros since i bought it a year ago or so with nice anc and siri integration. With an iphone it is the best option out there for me ….. Up until the echo buds. Why you ask? Well first of all i think the sound is fuller than airpod pros – especially after playing with the equalizer in alexa app.
Alexa voice integration is as good as (if not better) than the siri especially if you are invested in amazon eco system which probably you are. I personally love the fact that alexa is always listening so that i can ask alexa to do things without pressing a button 9comes very handy when holding other things in your hand). If you don’t want this you can disable it. All in all it is same as siri on the airpods pro which is always listening as well. I have set the alexa settings (on all my echo devices) so that it never keeps my conversations and deletes them immediately after — something you need to set manually otherwise it keeps voice recordings for sometime in the cloud.
The amazon music with these buds is great as it lets you to listen anything and anytime a lot cheaper than what apple offers. Interestingly the microphones are superior to the airpods pro — they pick up the voice even behind my beanies better than apple version and i mean way better. People i spoke to couldn’t tell i was on a pair of earbuds (with a bit of muffled sound) at all which usually is the case when speaking with airpods pro.
It is also a lot cheaper than airpods pro – i got it for $99 with preorders.
Anc seems to be effective. Probably on par with airpods pro.
Ok now the not so great parts.
Well i am 6’3′ so it is safe to say that my ears are not small in fact on the bigger side. However these earbuds are not the comfiest ones to wear as they are somewhat sizeable. If you have small ears i’d say it might not work for you. Though everyone’s ear is different so they may fit perfectly too.
Weird enough it doesn’t work with amazon fire tablets the way you think they should like how the apple devices work together. You can connect the fire tablets, of course, but just like a regular bluetooth earbud however you lose the equalizer etc settings which would come with alexa app. This is very odd omission that amazon didn’t choose to support fire tablets from the start – probably they will have future updates to support.
When the anc is off the pass through mode kicks in which amplifies the noise around as it is for hearing outside. Unfortunately it gives you a lot of white noise. Also with the anc i can hear some hissing something i do not hear on my airpod pros at all. It is not too bad though and especially with the music on or with a phone conversation happening this is not perceivable.
Another issue i’m noticing is that there is noticeable enough latency when watching videos on iphone that is more than it should be.
Having owned my current pair of echo buds for nearly a year now, i feel i can give a sufficiently detailed review on them.
the case itself has a nice sleek design with a slight indent on the side that the lid opens from, allowing you to easily pull the lid open. It’s small enough to fit into my jeans pocket alongside my keys and wallet, without falling or sliding out. It can fit into the vestigial pocketwatch pocket, but only barely and peeks out to a degree. The hinge feels a little weak, as if a strong enough force applied to the lid could bend its connection out of snap it entirely, and it feels a touch loose, the main body of the case has a sort of raised section that fits into an indented section of the lid. This gives the lid strength when held closed by its magnets and redirects any forces applied to the lid into the main body of the case.
better than my car speakers; with the listening modes such as anc and passthrough turned off, the sound quality is actually rather pleasant. I have unpaired my phone from my 2019 car and use my echo buds exclusively in the car when driving, for music and calls since it sounds so much better. Mind, it is recommended that you use the in-app eq to turn down mids and treble by one or two ticks to even out the sound profile, especially if you listen to bass-heavy music.
good enough, there are a few pressure points where the body of the earbuds press against my ears and to achieve the recommended fit i have to use tips that are slightly larger than preferred. I could improve comfort by under-sizing the tips and using the wings to keep them stable, but the wing design would worsen the pressure points between my earlobe and the main body, making that the pain-point. I love the color-matched mesh inside the tips, making it easy to tell which size each tip is, and if i am using asymmetric tips (because some people have asymmetric ears), it can help keep track of which bud goes in which ear. In short, i have a listening time of 1-3 hours before the pain gets to me and i have to give my ears a rest… This isn’t too bad since the battery is supposed to last 4-5 hours (depending on anc being enabled, and if i reduce the depth of discharge then it can improve battery lifespan (ex: discharging a battery from 100% to 75% twice is better than going from 100% to 50% once).
truly wireless earbuds have some of the smallest batteries found in electronics, and manufacturers will push them to the limit to hit lovely marketing figures. Google’s new pixel buds pro advertise a listening time with anc of 7 hours. After a year of use, i can confirm that my echo buds are still hitting at least 3-4 hours of listening time with anc enabled. The case holds about 2 spare charges in it, and i find the combined 9-15 hours of listening to be more than enough for most purposes, especially considering i have to take breaks every 3 hours anyhow.
this is the only failure of the echo buds. I like the use of a usb-c charging port, and the optional upgrade for a wireless charging case. After losing multiple phones to charging port failure, i resolve to only purchase devices with wireless charging from now on, and that resolution is why i held off on getting the first-generation echo buds. Since the case is more vertical than it’s predecessor, that limits the size of the internal wireless charging coil, and resultingly, the buds have issues trying to charge on a charging pad with too large an internal coil. It will handshake, and initiate the charge, giving the user a pleasant blinking green light, and then fail minutes later – this is an issue i saw even with the official anker charging pad. Worse yet, for some reason the buds seem to always be warm after wirelessly charging for any length of time longer than 5 minutes. I have deducted one star from my review as a result of this.
Connectivity / smarts:
the buds are actually fairly nice when it comes to connecting via bluetooth and integration with the alexa app, alexa is a pleasant enough assistant and it is nice to be able to turn on and off lights, heaters, ac units, etc as i’m driving away from or towards my home. I have found no issue with the bluetooth connectivity, even in densely crowded areas such as an airplane. Triggering an assistant via a voice command requires their wake-algorithm be running on the receiving device, and since google and apple are not going to give amazon the algorithm required to trigger their assistants via a wake word, this means you’re limited to alexa for truly hands-free operation. That being said, you can setup the alexa app to trigger your phone’s native assistant by pressing and holding one of the buds for 2-3 seconds.
Despite this, there is room for improvement in regards to bluetooth… They need multi-point bluetooth to be really useful. Amazon should want me to be able to swap between my cell phone, and a fire tablet, or a fire tv at will, and ideally even my pc or steamdeck when mine finally ships. Currently, the best option is to pair and unpair it with multiple devices at a time, which is annoying since to pair (without resetting), you must hold the lid open whilst pressing the button until the light flashes blue. This isn’t enough to deduct a star, but amazon should take it into consideration with the third-gen buds, or in the form of a software update if at all possible.
at launch, the touch controls were laughably limited in scope, you could only customize what the long touch+hold did. After a few updates, the other touch patterns (single, double, triple) can be customized to an extent, and they’re acceptable if barely. Unfortunately, they’re capacitive sensors, so they can be triggered by anything touching the buds. The alexa app also provided limited guidance on how best to trigger them, which caused some frustration at first. For those with these buds: you will want to gently but assertively (eg: the minimum amount of force needed for your finger pad to flatten against the surface) press your finger against it for about a half second per press/tap. Do not angrily tap it like you’re hitting a key on your keyboard, it’ll only miss the touch.
they work, but they’re not the best. They do a good job of filtering out external noise, when talking to someone, but the quality isn’t as good as a wired boom mic, or a wired in-line mic from a wired set of earbuds. Unfortunately, i don’t think this is amazon’s fault as much as it is just the limitations of the bluetooth protocols and the location of the mics. Apple and their copycats with stems on their earbuds may get a better sound if only because there is a dumb-looking stem bringing the microphones closer to your mouth.
i’ll rate these together since they’re basically inverses of eachother; anc does a decent job of bringing down some of the perceived sound in your environment… It can make me forget my in-window ac or fan is running. It makes my car and airplane rides quieter, which is always pleasant. Passthrough, is sort of like a budget hearing aid: i can customize how powerful it is, and i set it to be more sensitive than my ears normally would be so i can use them to help hear people far away, or who are wearing a mask. It’s a surprisingly useful tool to have. My only gripe is that there is a soft, but audible level of white noise than can be heard at all times if either mode is on. This disappears if you disable both listening modes, so i feel it is just a result of the processing the buds are doing, and they’re getting confused.
honestly, unless multi-point bluetooth is something you need or want, get these. I’d say get them now, but since it’s amazon, they’ll go on sale when prime day comes around in july, or whenever else they feel like having a sale. It ticks all the boxes i had for a pair of earbuds when purchasing them, and (with the exception of multi-point bluetooth), it still does after i have experienced them for a year.
This is a long-winded review for an imperfect product with a single killer feature.
Instead of breaking this down by pros and cons, i’m going to go by product features as many have both pros and cons.
** the single killer feature **
hands free alexa is nothing short of incredible, an absolute game changer. Many other earbuds can integrate with alexa (and other assistants), but to activate you need to tap the earbuds. Being able to just talk to alexa anywhere and everywhere is magical.
I’ve been an apple iphone user since the introduction of the iphone and i love their hardware and ios in general. However, siri is just plain awful. It is slow, clumsy, often doesn’t hear what you are saying and is so bad that i had given up on voice assistants completely. With these echo buds, i have now entered the world of alexa and couldn’t be more pleased. It is everything that siri isn’t — quick, good solid responses, rarely misinterprets what i say, even understands whispers with incredible accuracy.
As for alexa and the echo buds, this is so much more than just saying ‘alexa, what’s the weather?’. I mainly use it to control playback of audible books and it is truly wonderful. I can say ‘alexa play titlex on audible’ and it will do so. I can say ‘alexa pause’ and ‘alexa resume’ at any time and it reacts quickly. I can say, ‘alexa go back’ which defaults to 30 seconds, or ‘alexa go back 5 minutes’ if i’ve let my mind wander and missed a chunk of the story.
The only negative of audible and alexa is that it streams it and won’t play from the downloaded copy in my audible ios app. As long as i have a good cell signal, this isn’t really an issue. One thing i did notice is that you have to be a little careful if you switch from using an alexa device and the audible app for playback. More than once i had a whispersync failure and it lost my place. I found that force-quitting the audible app after an alexa session resolved this issue (in other words, listen to audible on alexa, force-quit audible app, then launch audible app and when you play a title it will auto-update to the current position).
I also love being able to access the amazon music library. I do have prime, but not the premium subscription to music. It is still a lot of music and i’m happy with what i can find to listen to.
And live radio stations such as npr work great. The first time you say, ‘alexa play npr’ it will ask what station you want, so you can get your local / preferred station. Afterwards, just saying ‘alexa play npr’ auto-selects that station.
There is an annoyance with the way alexa works with third-party, non-alexa-integrated apps. For example, if i launch a random radio, music, whatever app, it will play fine, and if i say, ‘alexa pause’ it will pause, but if i then say ‘alexa play’ it will start playing the default music app assigned to alexa. In this case, the only way to pause/play is to tap on the earbuds.
** alexa app & privacy **
i’ve seen numerous reviews complaining that location access and/or contacts are required to use the earbuds. In my experience, this is not the case. I did not allow location access or contacts access (ios alexa app) and had zero problems with setting up and using the echo buds.
** the fit of the earbuds **
i find that the earbuds fit quite well and the built-in audio test always gives me good to excellent rating on fit. I am using the default medium (blue) ear tips and the small wings. I find i need the wings to give a more secure fit when i am out hiking. I have also found that to get a solid fit, there is a specific technique i need to use to get the earbud tip securely in my ear canal before twisting it into position. I can’t describe this in words, but if you don’t get this right, the fit will be sloppy.
** touch controls **
two observations: 1) they don’t work consistently well for me. I will tap once and often register no tap at all or it will register as a double-tap. This is annoying. 2) the only tap gesture you can customize is the long-press. I don’t know why you can’t customize all the tap gestures. Perhaps in a software update…
** battery life **
this is a very mixed bag. Overall, i find that i usually get closer to 4 hours of battery life instead of the stated 5 hours. This may be due to volume (i have it about 2/3 of max volume and the amazon battery testing was done at 50% volume). It also may be that i keep the passthrough mode enabled and am usually in a fairly noisy environment (hiking outdoors, wind noise, etc). I think, but am not 100% sure, that more noise means more processing is required and this eats into battery life.
That being said, popping them into the case for 15 minutes quickly recharges them enough for another hour of two of use.
The case only holds two full charges, which isn’t a lot, so i always charge the case after an extended session of use.
One important note is that amazon shows the battery life of both the left and right earbuds. You’ll notice that one bud will drain much quicker than the other. This has to do with which bud is the primary vs secondary. The primary actually communicates with the phone’s bluetooth and then processes and sends a signal over to the secondary. I often find that the primary bud is 15% more drained than the secondary. You can control which bud is primary vs secondary by which one you put in first, but this can be tricky sometimes. I’ve done some testing and can reliably get the left or right bud to be the primary (and thus drain faster).
** the case **
i think the case is really nice. It is small and slim enough to fit into the coin pocket in my pants without bulging too much. One little annoyance is that the lid flips closed too easily, but that is a minor thing. Even with the small wings installed, i have absolutely no problem with getting a solid charge connection every time.
I have experienced a glitch in how the charging seems to work. If i open the case when one bud is fully charged but the other is not, it seems to stop charging even when i close the case again. However, if i just put the buds in the case and leave it alone for a while, both buds are always charged to 100%.
** sound quality **
i think it is quite good! Sure, there are much better sounding buds, for a lot more money. These have decent bass, midrange and treble and sound good with music as well as spoken word (audible books, podcasts).
** active noise cancellation (anc) and passthrough mode **
i think the anc is just ‘okay’, nothing great. It does work to limit some noise, but i can still hear most everything, just at a lower volume. Part of this is due to the nature of an earbud not having a complete seal into the ear canal, but part of it is probably less processing power than some of the major players in this market.
I use the passthrough mode often. I do a lot of hiking in a desert environment and need to be aware of animals, particularly rattlesnakes. The passthrough seems to accentuate treble sounds, which is perfect to hear a rattler. I have it set at level 4, and there is a little hiss, but nothing i find overly annoying.
I do wish there was a way to quickly disable all noise processing (i.e., turn it off) without having to open the alexa app on my phone. For example, a 3-way toggle with long-press would work — anc, passthrough, off.
** conclusion **
there really are quite a few things to nitpick on these earbuds. They are far from perfect and some cheaper buds (half the price of even less) have overall better functionality. However, as i mentioned at the beginning of this feature, hands free alexa is a killer feature and, for me, so awesome that i am easily willing to overlook all the negatives. I do hope that amazon keeps improving these and that the 3rd generation fixes a lot of the issues. Perhaps a software update in the meantime will help with some things.
earbuds stay in ear during running even with heavy sweat
very good sound quality, especially for earbuds
tap controls work well (except in rain)
app works well for device setup and settings management
not reliable to use in rain
active noise cancellation (anc) inconsistent
poor sound isolation in the device itself
300mb app that can use over 500mb of memory, may slow down some phones
potential privacy issues (app wants access to lots of data)
neutral (pro/con depends on your perspective):
many extra features in app that may be useful to some people
alexa hands-free support
fyi: i am using the echo earbuds on a samsung galaxy s9 android phone.
my primary use for earbuds is to listen to a wide range of content while exercising, and especially when running. Every earbud i have tried previously – wired or wireless – tends to fall out of my right ear when i get sweaty. No combination of inserts and eartips has solved this issue for me.
Fortunately, the echo earbuds are a strong improvement. I have exercised a half-dozen times using these earbuds. The earbuds stayed firmly in my ear even when sweating heavily thanks to the eartip design along with the helpful setup & testing walkthrough. The earbuds are not the most comfortable i have used, but it is more important to me to keep the device in my ear. An earbud did fall out once when running in moderate rain – i will discuss problems with rain below.
Audio quality for music is very good with excellent frequency range for earbuds. I listen to rock, pop, and classical music and am happy with the music quality. I am especially happy with the range of voices i can hear in classical music. I have not adjusted the equalizer in the app.
Audio quality for audiobooks/podcasts is good, but not great. Spoken audio is not as clear and crisp as i would like. I have not adjusted the equalizer in the app, but i do not expect them to help because almost all spoken audio will be controlled by a single equalizer slider. Active noise cancellation (anc) can help when it works well, but is inconsistent as described below.
Battery life is long enough that i do not notice. I can listen to music & talk on the phone for hours and the earbuds still have over 50% battery. I could use these 4-5 hours a day and make it through a work week. However, i have all advanced features disabled, so this is best-case battery life.
Using echo earbuds for phone calls and work meetings:
these earbuds generally work well for calls. The audio i hear is good – perhaps slightly better than the audiobook/podcast audio i mentioned above. The other people on the phone call can hear me well. There are a couple of caveats:
1. The beamforming microphones are not exceptional – the people on the phone call can hear some of the noises around me.
2. If you have passthrough enabled, the other person on the call will hear all of the passthrough content.
A couple times i have had issues where it sounds like i drop out of the call briefly, or where the audio is clearly delayed. I have not verified that the issues are caused by the echo earbuds, but it happened in locations where i have not had problems with other bluetooth devices.
Using echo earbuds in the rain:
i was caught in moderate rain during one of my runs with the echo earbuds. This caused two problems:
1. The right earbud fell out once
2. The water triggered the ‘tap’ actions
i went into the app and disabled all of the ‘tap’ actions to work around the 2nd issue.
Amazon alexa and setup:
the amazon alexa android app is very large, nearly 300mb, has used over 500mb of memory, and has far more functionality than is needed to manage earbud settings. I generally view this as a negative. There are some interesting features that may take the place of other apps you use and provide niche benefits when with the echo earbuds. However, most of them seem to be designed to provide more of your personal data to amazon. I have dismissed/disabled all of those extra features.
As other reviewers have mentioned, you must enable location sharing when you activate the echo earbuds. Fortunately, i was able to revoke that permission after earbud activation and have seen no negative impact on functionality. I have also disabled alexa hands-free and have not seen any evidence that the device is listening for verbal commands.
I like how the app walked through device pairing, device setup, and testing for fit except for location sharing being required. For me, the eartips are a pain to pull onto each earbud. It took me a minute or two per eartip per earbud, and i chose the wrong eartip initially. The tight fit is probably good in the long-term but is annoying in the short-term.
The app used a lot of battery power during the initial setup. Power usage has been negligble since then.
There is an amazon alexa notification bar item whenever the echo earbuds are connected. This entry is a waste for most users. It duplicates the bluetooth os notification, and selecting it does nothing. It would be useful if selecting it took you to the earbuds setting screen. Amazon probably includes this notification item to prevent the os from auto-closing the app in the background, which may be needed for some of the app features. However, i don’t use those features, so i would prefer not to have the notification bar clutter.
Another frustration is the app takes about five seconds to recognize that the echo earbuds are connected before the earbud settings become accessible within the app. This happens every time the app is opened, even if the app was opened ten seconds earlier and the earbuds were connected the entire time. The notification bar item telling me the earbuds are connected is present – why are the earbud settings not immediately available in the app?
I like how active noise cancellation (anc) and passthrough are managed in the settings. Unfortunately, i do not get much value from either one.
– passthrough works quite well, but these earbuds do not provide enough sound isolation to need passthrough at the listening volumes that i use. There is so much sound leakage through the earbuds that i can hear what is happening around me while running outdoors without using passthrough. On occasion, passthrough also adds noise on the higher settings.
– anc is inconsistent. In some situations it works well – that is, i hear less background noise and i don’t notice it. In other situations i can ‘hear’ the anc, including shifts in the compensation, and it seems like the devices are applying maximum anc even when it is not needed. Hopefully a software update can improve the consistency of anc. As a workaround, an option to manually control the amount of anc would help.
overall i like these earbuds. They are the best earbuds i have tested for running, and i will keep using them for running and exercising except when i am in rain. I am hopeful that future updates will make active noise cancellation (anc) more consistent and enjoyable.
I upgraded to the echo buds 2nd gen from a pair of $50 wireless buds that were my first pair of wireless buds. The sound quality, active noise cancellation, and passthrough are all awesome. At the same time, my echo buds aren’t better in every way than my ‘cheapo’ pair.
> sound quality. I tend to listen to music while i work on less thoughtful tasks. I can’t do that with these buds because the sound quality is so good i get totally immersed in the music. The sound stage is so well balanced i can discern where each recording mic is placed. When i listen to music these buds are a true joy, and i would use them over my wired sony studio headphones. To have this quality cordless is breathtaking.
> anc does what is needed. While the sound quality suffers some when turned on, outside sounds are still filtered out. It certainly won’t block out the world like some of the higher end over-the-ear headphones, though for day-to-day it’s great.
> passthrough. I find the passthrough is best for sounds that are closer to me, or those that are really loud. Chat at me at normal volume from across the room and it doesn’t quite pick up unless i turn the passthrough all the way up, where the sound quality really suffers from ambient white noise. Overall, if i want to walk around and still ensure someone can get my attention the passthrough is pleasant, especially when used at the lower levels.
> form-factor. These are really nicely sized, and the case fits really well in my pocket. Between ear tips and wing tips i’m able to get a really good, comfortable fit. With wing-tips on these are super secure and i can shake my head with abandon and won’t lose my buds. At the same time, wing-tips off and my ears fatigue after about two hours, whereas with wing-tips off they are comfortable all day. If i was using these more for pure athletic activities i would stick with wing-tips on. Given my more sedantary use profile, wing-tips off works fantastic. Glad to have the options here.
> auto-pause. When you take a bud out of your ear it auto-pauses, and when you put them back in, it restarts. Definitely handy! No need to try to pause your music or book when someone wants to chat. Nice little added feature here!
> build quality and materials. These feel like they are made from nice, high quality materials. I expect these will be very durable and be great buds for years to come.
> connecting one headphone at a time is mostly not possible. I frequently use only one bud at a time when listening to audio-books, or to save battery during extended listening sessions. While ‘possible’ with the echo buds, at the time of review, it’s such a hassle that it’s not worth attempting. I have to remove both buds from the case and put them in my ears, then remove the one i don’t want, and then tell the remaining bud to unpause my book. On one hand, i appreciate that the normal use case is both buds, on the other hand, i just want to connect one bud sometimes so maybe don’t make it such a hassle?
> touch ‘button’ on buds aren’t programmable for 1, 2, or 3 taps. Only the ‘long press’ may be changed.
> touch controls don’t have an ‘optimized for audible’ option. I want a pair of buds that let me ‘go back 30 seconds’ or ‘go forward 30 seconds’ without needing to open the app. Audible is owned by amazon and i’m disappointed there’s not a tighter integration between the buds and commonly used audible buttons when the audible app is open.
> battery life is ‘fine’ though the buds and case both have a shorter life than my $50 pair did, while also providing more clarity on the charge level. It’s probably a worthy trade-off for the smaller form factor, though still sad to have the reduced life. Doesn’t impact me all too often though, so i guess it’s fine? If i’m going on a trip i just know i have to have a charger. At least it’s usb c!
> the lid on the case only flips ‘up’ not ‘over’. I’m constantly trying to squeeze my fingers in amongst the phones in the case and often think about turning the case over and trying to shake the buds out. Someone did a dirty on the case lid design here and it stands out like a sore thumb every time i want to use my buds.
> the auto-un-pause isn’t always reliable.
> the touch ‘buttons’ aren’t always reliable.
> the buds play a start-up sound when pulling them out of the case, though it’s crackly/static-y, as if the sound is too high-fidelity for the connection. Like when you’re on bad hold music contacting customer service somewhere and the audio file sample rate exceeds the sample rate of the phone network. Just… Why? This is the first thing i hear every time i put a bud in and every time it’s a sound that is lower quality than everything else that comes out of this device. For a device that is so nicely put together, this bit is just disappointing. Hopefully something that can get fixed via software update!
> not waterproof. Okay, i was aware of this before i purchased these. Primarily calling this out because i could wear my previous buds in the shower, which i actually did from time to time. I do miss this functionality and feel this was a poor design decision to have such a low ip water proofing rating of only ‘sweat proof’. To which, by the way, it isn’t even really sweat proof because you have to clean off your sweat before you charge the buds or risk degrading the charging pins.
Overall, great buds. Am pleased. Hopefully some of the software bits will get worked out and continue to round out an exceptionally nice little piece of technology.
Before providing my in depth review, i’ll provide a summation for those who prefer reviews to get to the point.
1. Battery life: 4 hours 32 minutes average per charge, and 14 hours +/- 5 minutes with case.
2. Noise cancelling is full on and very good.
3. Touch controls work absolutely flawlessly, but i would prefer they were more customizable.
4. Voice controls are perfect.
5. Sound quality is better than gen 1. Treble is very clear, and doesn’t scream even when volume is maxed. Bass is rich for a wireless earbud, and on par with most wireless earbuds under $250.
6. Bluetooth connection remains strong, even when outside on windy days. I’ve not once experienced cutting out, even while cycling in high wind conditions.
7. In ear comfort is wonderful. These earbuds are extremely close to being as comfortable as pixel gen 2 wireless buds. They’re also quite secure, and fit is customizable.
i own gen 2 pixel wireless buds, galaxy buds, and a half dozen pairs of soundcore buds. These earbuds are essentially a combination of the nearly perfect fit and touch controls of pixel gen 2 buds, with the sound quality of galaxy buds, and the absolutely flawless bluetooth connection of most high end soundcore buds. Add in the fact that alexa works perfectly on these buds, and amazon has hit a home run with these earbuds.
With that said, they’d be an absolute grand slam if touch controls were more customizable, and battery life was 20+ hours with case.
bluetooth pairing and connection strength:
when initially pairing these buds, you’ll be prompted to set them up via the alexa app. After a brief tutorial and setting adjustments, they’ll be ready to go. This process takes around 7 minutes.
Connection strength is very impressive. One of the reasons i own so many wireless earbuds is that when i use earbuds while cycling, i often run into the buds cutting in and out, or voice commands not being recognized. However, with these buds, that is absolutely not an issue. I’ve worn these while cycling into 15+ mph winds and have never once experienced cutting out. Also, i’ve yet to have an issues using voice commands in windy conditions either.
Touch controls and customization of controls:
the touch controls on these earbuds are very simple and straight forward. You have basic controls to skip songs forward and back, pause, volume up and down, take or decline a call, and noise cancelling on or off. Every single tap setting works perfectly and the earbuds recognize the taps every single time.
On the other hand, there’s very little customization on the function the taps perform. Only the long press is customizable on each earbud. While the touch controls definitely provide all basic functions, it’s annoying not to be able to customize what i want one tap, two taps, and three taps to do.
Battery life and charging:
per charge: 4 hours 32 minutes
multiple charges via fully charged case: 14 hours +/- 5 minutes.
Outside of the above, i’ve found that the quick charge listed times and fully charged case times are both spot on.
In ear fit:
these buds are as comfortable as any i’ve ever worn. In fact, they’re pretty close to being as comfortable as pixel gen 2 buds. I’ve worn these buds for 5+ hours straight without experiencing any discomfort.
Fit customization is very good. In the box, you’ll get multiple tip ends as well as multiple wing ends.
As i said above, i’ve worn these while cycling. At no time during my ride have i ever felt like these buds were anything less than fully secure within my ears.
sound quality will always have limitations in wireless earbuds, due to their size and batteries. With that said, the sound quality of these earbuds is on par with any pair of earbuds i’ve owned below $250.
Treble is very clear and doesn’t scream at all when volume is maxed.
Bass is quite robust for wireless earbuds, and helps provide a richness of overall sound quality.
You also have low, mid, and high eq settings that can be customized via alexa app.
using alexa commands on these earbuds is very simply and dependable. Basically, alexa voice commands on these earbuds works as well as any home based echo alexa device. In fact, alexa works so well on these earbuds, that i almost never use the touch controls to perform functions.
as i’ve said above, these earbuds are a home run, that could be a grand slam if the touch controls were most customizable and case battery life exceeded 20 hours.
In my opinion, these earbuds are on par with any pair of earbuds at or below $250. In fact, i feel they’re better than anything else on the market that’s priced at or below $180.
Without question, highly recommended
I bought these earbuds at the end of july 2022 they look and feel premium and they sound great. I usually get around 5-6 hours of continuous use out of them and because i mainly use them while at work we’re not allowed to have both earbuds in at the same time so i use the right side and when the battery goes down i put in the case and start using the left side until my shift ends.
So around october/2022 i started having problems with the right side making a very loud screeching noise and i reached out to amazon and i was told to use a cloth and warm water and just clean them, so instead i just used alcohol to give them a thorough scrubbing and the noise stopped and they’re working like new again hopefully this will resolve the problem once and for all.
Overall they’re very comfortable in the ears, they connect to my samsung galaxy phone as soon as i put them on, the sound quality is very good and they’re built like a premium product i am very satisfied overall.
Picked these up for $80 to replace my old soundcore liberty neos, since they’ve been having connectivity issues the past few months. I was hoping for more from the noise cancelling. It does really well blocking out idle chatter in the lunch room, but i work in a tire shop and rely on my ear buds to block the sound of air guns and tire inflation cheaters. The tips that come with the echo buds just don’t block sound as well, or seem to sit as deep, as what i’m used to.
They’re pretty alright for listening. I mostly do podcasts and youtube videos with earbuds, but i’ve got some boston going right now and it’s alright.
I don’t use alexa for anything, so that doesn’t matter much to me. Works fine to pull up the google assistant for map directions and weather, the only things i use them for. The touch controls are less annoying than i had expected, so that’s nice.
Oh, and i almost forgot. The optional fitment wings make it a real pain to get these in and out of the case. Unless you have them fitted exactly, the buds won’t drop in right and the case won’t close, and when they’re on you don’t have enough space to get leverage to pull up against the magnets, making them a real pain to get out.
I loved these at first! So easy to set up and has great sound quality, especially when it kicks into auto noise cancelation. Its hard to find the right fit for working out though. It comes with adaptors to wear that are supposed to slide under the ear cartilage, but no matter what size i try it will not stay in place and the buds will slowly slip out. I won’t use them for running or high intensity workouts, only lifting, walking, stationary bike, etc. Even when i’m lifting i feel that i have to keep twisting or adjusting. Maybe my ears just reject these types of ear buds, but i do love the sound quality and ease of connection with alexa.
I am a iphone user so i was hesitant purchasing something with alexa. I love the alexa feature. I have echos dots and firetvs and shop on amazon a lot..alexa feature works great with ios.
The sound is great.
Noise cancelation and hear through is great.
Battery doesn’t last that long in the earbuds..they can be used independently so rotating them in the case allows you to use longer.
The fit. The wingtips make them secure so they don’t fall out but i can’t keep them in longer then 30 minutes without my ears really hurting. Tried every size earbud tip and other brands but they don’t stay in my ears without wingtips.
I really wanted them to fit because i like them.
If you don’t have small ears these are great earbuds.
I bought these hoping for an upgrade over the original buds and believe they have indeed improved. Most of the improvements were nominal aside from a few things that really stood out.
Marked improvements over gen1:
– pressure relief vent
– weight / comfort
– touch controls
the pressure relief valve is by far the biggest improvement in my eyes. The original echo buds would usually create a vacuum in my ear, which was uncomfortable. I would have to wiggle and shift the buds around until the pressure would seep out the side, until of course i have to remove and reinsert the bud. The new buds have never once caused the vacuum effect in my ear and that alone was worth the price to me.
The buds fit way better too. The original echo buds would occasionally fall out of my ears, even with the proper sized ear tips. The wings were always too uncomfortable so i just dealt with the occasional drop. To their credit, they always held up and never had any issues regardless of the drops. Because the old buds would shift i also found myself having to push the bud back in my ear fairly often, which would not only recreate the vacuum issue, but would also typically sense a single tap pause my music or end my call accidentally. Both of these issues seem to be gone completely. The buds fit great, and won’t fall out of my ears. They never even feel like they’re going to fall out. And on top of that, in the rare case i need to adjust the new echo buds the tap controls don’t accidentally trigger, nor do i get the vacuum effect.
The touch controls are greatly improved over the original echo buds. They are much more responsive, and have added a triple tap that was sorely missed on the gen 1 buds. I commonly only wear one bud at work, and not being able to play/pause, skip songs, and toggle anr on a single bud was inconvenient. Now i can program 4 separate tap functions (single, double, triple and long press) to each earbud. So regardless which one i’m wearing i can fully control my music.
There were a few issues with the new buds as well.
– less battery life
– case lid closes too easily
– anc not as good as anr
the biggest drawback is the lesser battery life. I wear my buds at work almost every day, and find the buds chiming in much earlier in the day to tell me they are running low on battery. Typically i only have one bud in, so this just means i need to swap buds, but still is a problem especially when using both buds. The case of course got much smaller and sleeker but with that tradeoff comes less charging power. I’ve found i need to charge these daily where my old echo buds would make it typically a full two days.
This may seem silly but i wish the lid would hinge open and stay open. I have large hands and find it very difficult to open this case without accidentally closing the lid by bumping it with the fingers that are.hilsomg the caae as i reach to grab a bud. This is fixed by tipping the case back a bit to allow gravity to hold the lid open for me. Problem is i don’t always remember to do that and end up closing the case on myself at least every other time i use it.
I have also found the noise cancellation to be better on the original echo buds even though it’s not true cancellation. The bose active noise reduction worked fantastic. I have compares the two buds directly in the same environment, connected to the same phone. There’s no doubt the originals work better. My eartip size and fit is the same on both old and new buds as well, so that’s not it.
All and all this is an upgrade. The pressure vent was worth the price to me but i do wish the anc worked better.