Published on Amazon in early 2020weren’t as exciting as I’d hoped, but I found that I liked a lot about them – and a few things they could do better. Now Amazon has unveiled “brand new” second generation Echo Buds, which the company claims have a smaller design, improved sound and noise cancellation, and better voice call performance.
In fact, unlike some Amazon devices that are receiving small upgrades, most of which are in-house, these new Echo Buds are completely new. While they’re expected to ship in May and have the same list price ($ 130; £ 120) as the originals, Amazon is offering them at a pre-order price of $ 100. A version with a wireless charging case costs $ 20 more to pre-order. Also new: these Echo Buds are now available in two color options – black or glacier white.
I haven’t had a chance to try out the new headphones so I can only share their specs and features for now. As you’d expect, like the originals, these new Echo Buds are hands-free AlexaThis means that you can just say the Alexa wake-up word and Amazon’s voice assistant will be there for you and ready to accept your voice command (one of the following) whatever). They also have a similar battery life to the originals – around 5 hours with noise cancellation on or 6.5 hours with off. A 15-minute charge gives you two hours of battery life.
As mentioned earlier, according to Amazon, the buds are more compact – they’re 20% smaller and the case 40% smaller – and have a shorter nozzle so the tips don’t dip as deep into your ear canal as the originals. According to Amazon, the buds are designed to fit better and more comfortably. As many of you already know, a tight seal is critical for optimal sound quality and noise cancellation performance.
Amazon says both are improved. With the original Echo Buds, Bose provided the noise cancellation technology, but this version doesn’t require it. The staff at Amazon told me that the new noise cancellation makes twice as much noise as the noise cancellation on the previous Echo Buds. There is also a pass-through mode that lets in ambient noise and is similar to the on-screen transparency mode. And like the AirPods Pro, the buds are ventilated to avoid the feeling of occlusion you can get from noise isolating in-ear headphones.
The 5.7mm drivers are new and Amazon uses a Realtek chipset with Bluetooth 5.0. The combination is said to produce better sound with more sheen in the highs and better bass definition. Of course, I’m curious, try to judge how the sound matches other buds in this price range.
Each bud has 3 microphones designed to help with noise reduction during a call as well as voice recording when issuing Alexa commands. And these also have a sidetone feature that lets you hear your voice in the earbuds while you speak, so you can modulate your voice during the call so you don’t scream.
The touch controls are returning – they’re programmable, with the option of whether or not to use the volume controls – and the new Echo Buds keep thoseFrom the originals added in late 2020. As for the new features, there is now a “Find My Buds” feature that lets you find one or more lost buds (when you are within reach, your buds will chime off). Multipoint Bluetooth pairing is currently not supported. This feature allows you to pair the buds with two devices such as a PC and a smartphone at the same time.
While I haven’t tried them yet, at a pre-order price of $ 100, the new Echo Buds seem like a good value if the noise and noise cancellation has actually improved. I would have loved to see battery life go up a bit, but shrinking a product while also increasing battery life is always a challenge. While some true wireless earbuds have seen increased battery life – some new buds break the 10 hour mark – many true wireless noise-canceling earbuds get stuck in the 5 to 6 hour range. This also includes the AirPods Pro.