Amazon is at this time introducing its second-generation pair of Echo Buds. The brand new true wi-fi earbuds enhance on the originals with a extra snug design — they’re now 20 p.c smaller — and enhanced energetic noise cancellation. However Amazon is staying aggressive on worth: the 2021 Echo Buds are priced at $119.99 for the earbuds and a USB-C charging case or $139.99 for an upgraded case with wi-fi charging. For a restricted time, each are being discounted. The common set drops below $100 to $99.99, with the wi-fi charging pair costing $119.99. The brand new Echo Buds can be launched on Might thirteenth.
Other than shrinking them down, Amazon has additionally made comfort-focused design modifications to the Echo Buds. They now have a vented design (just like the AirPods Professional, Pixel Buds, and many others.) to cut back undesirable ear stress. The corporate has shortened the nozzle in order that the Echo Buds don’t sit as deep in your ear canal, and the exterior depth has been lowered for a extra flush match. The ear suggestions — 4 sizes come included — are actually oval-shaped, and also you additionally get two sizes of optionally available wing ideas within the field.
As an alternative of a shiny contact floor like on the unique Echo Buds, the outside-facing exterior is now all matte. However Amazon has slapped its brand onto the earbuds this time round, which I may’ve accomplished with out. They now are available in white along with black.
With the primary Echo Buds, Amazon borrowed a few of Bose’s noise-reduction expertise. However this time, it’s doing every thing itself. The corporate says that the second-gen earbuds “cancel twice as a lot noise” as earlier than. When in passthrough mode, you possibly can regulate the quantity of ambient noise you need to come by way of. Sound high quality has additionally seen some enhancements, in line with Amazon’s press launch:
Echo Buds ship crisp, balanced sound with prolonged dynamic vary — so that you get essentially the most out of your music, no matter style. The premium audio system are optimized for elevated constancy in bass and treble, which reduces distortion throughout media playback, delivering vibrant melodies and clear spoken phrase.
The second-gen Echo Buds are rated IPX4 for water and sweat, which Amazon says ought to cowl any train and “mild rain.” And Amazon says the microphones on these earbuds — three on every bud — are improved, too; they’re “optimized to seize decrease frequencies in comparison with the prior era,” which apparently leads to higher high quality for voice calls. Both bud can be utilized standalone in mono mode.
Battery life is estimated at 5 hours of listening with noise cancellation enabled, with two further full fees within the case for a complete of 15 hours. (The case now has standing LEDs for every particular person earbud, which is a useful addition.) If the battery runs low, charging over USB-C for quarter-hour ought to get you round two hours of playback.
To see simply how aggressive Amazon is on pricing, let’s examine the Echo Buds towards the broader market of widespread true wi-fi earbuds. Most of those have noise cancellation, although some (just like the Pixel Buds) don’t:
$279 Bose QuietComfort Earbuds
$249.95 Sennheiser Momentum True Wi-fi 2
$249 Apple AirPods Professional
$229.99 Jabra Elite 85t
$229.99 Sony 1000XM3 earbuds
$199.99 Samsung Galaxy Buds Professional
$179.99 Google Pixel Buds
$179.99 Jabra Elite 75t
$139.99 Amazon Echo Buds with wi-fi charging ($119.99 for a restricted time)
$129.99 Anker Liberty Air 2 Professional
$119.99 Amazon Echo Buds with USB-C ($99.99 for a restricted time)
Similar to the primary mannequin, Amazon hopes an enormous a part of the attraction with the Echo Buds would be the potential to make use of Alexa all over the place you go. You may ask for a particular artist or music, in fact, however Amazon additionally added the choice late final 12 months to ask for music by exercise sort. You may management your good dwelling, play an Audible audiobook, ask for transit instructions, and even use Alexa’s native search powers to seek out the closest COVID-19 testing website.
You can too ask any close by Alexa machine to seek out your buds, and so they’ll play an audible chime to assist make them simpler to find. Amazon says “later this 12 months,” it’ll add the VIP Filter characteristic that debuted on its Echo Frames, which lets you select the notifications you need to hear and keep away from the remaining.
If the noise cancellation enhancements are as important as Amazon claims, the second-generation Echo Buds may show fairly compelling — particularly at their low worth versus the competitors. Keep tuned for a full evaluation within the subsequent few weeks.