Skip to main content

Amazon announces new Echo Buds with more powerful ANC and better comfort

Amazon announces new Echo Buds with more powerful ANC and better comfort

/

The second-gen Echo Buds are 20 percent smaller and priced very aggressively

Share this story

Image: Amazon

Amazon is today introducing its second-generation pair of Echo Buds. The new true wireless earbuds improve on the originals with a more comfortable design — they’re now 20 percent smaller — and enhanced active noise cancellation. But Amazon is staying aggressive on price: 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 wireless charging. For a limited time, both are being discounted. The regular set drops under $100 to $99.99, with the wireless charging pair costing $119.99. The new Echo Buds will be released on May 13th.

Aside from shrinking them down, Amazon has also made comfort-focused design changes to the Echo Buds. They now have a vented design (like the AirPods Pro, Pixel Buds, etc.) to reduce unwanted ear pressure. The company has shortened the nozzle so that the Echo Buds don’t sit as deep in your ear canal, and the external depth has been reduced for a more flush fit. The ear tips — four sizes come included — are now oval-shaped, and you also get two sizes of optional wing tips in the box.

Instead of a glossy touch surface like on the original Echo Buds, the outside-facing exterior is now all matte. But Amazon has slapped its logo onto the earbuds this time around, which I could’ve done without. They now come in white in addition to black.

Four sizes of ear tips and two wing tips come included.
Four sizes of ear tips and two wing tips come included.
Image: Amazon

With the first Echo Buds, Amazon borrowed some of Bose’s noise-reduction technology. But this time, it’s doing everything itself. The company says that the second-gen earbuds “cancel twice as much noise” as before. When in passthrough mode, you can adjust the amount of ambient noise you want to come through. Sound quality has also seen some improvements, according to Amazon’s press release:

Echo Buds deliver crisp, balanced sound with extended dynamic range — so you get the most out of your music, regardless of genre. The premium speakers are optimized for increased fidelity in bass and treble, which reduces distortion during media playback, delivering vibrant melodies and clear spoken word.

The second-gen Echo Buds are rated IPX4 for water and sweat, which Amazon says should cover any exercise and “light rain.” And Amazon says the microphones on these earbuds — three on each bud — are improved, too; they’re “optimized to capture lower frequencies compared to the prior generation,” which apparently results in better quality for voice calls. Either bud can be used standalone in mono mode.

Amazon has made comfort a big priority with the second-gen Echo Buds.
Amazon has made comfort a big priority with the second-gen Echo Buds.
Image: Amazon

Battery life is estimated at five hours of listening with noise cancellation enabled, with two additional full charges in the case for a total of 15 hours. (The case now has status LEDs for each individual earbud, which is a handy addition.) If the battery runs low, charging over USB-C for 15 minutes should get you around two hours of playback.

To see just how aggressive Amazon is on pricing, let’s compare the Echo Buds against the wider market of popular true wireless earbuds. Most of these have noise cancellation, though some (like the Pixel Buds) don’t:

$279 Bose QuietComfort Earbuds
$249.95 Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2
$249 Apple AirPods Pro
$229.99 Jabra Elite 85t
$229.99 Sony 1000XM3 earbuds
$199.99 Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro
$179.99 Google Pixel Buds
$179.99 Jabra Elite 75t
$139.99 Amazon Echo Buds with wireless charging ($119.99 for a limited time)
$129.99 Anker Liberty Air 2 Pro
$119.99 Amazon Echo Buds with USB-C ($99.99 for a limited time)

Just like the first model, Amazon hopes a big part of the appeal with the Echo Buds will be the ability to use Alexa everywhere you go. You can ask for a specific artist or song, of course, but Amazon also added the option late last year to ask for music by activity type. You can control your smart home, play an Audible audiobook, ask for transit directions, or even use Alexa’s local search powers to find the nearest COVID-19 testing site.

You can also ask any nearby Alexa device to find your buds, and they’ll play an audible chime to help make them easier to locate. Amazon says “later this year,” it will add the VIP Filter feature that debuted on its Echo Frames, which allows you to choose the notifications you want to hear and avoid the rest.

If the noise cancellation improvements are as significant as Amazon claims, the second-generation Echo Buds could prove quite compelling — especially at their low price versus the competition. Stay tuned for a full review in the next few weeks.

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed 5:33 PM UTC Striking out

A
Youtube
Andrew Webster5:33 PM UTC
Look at this Thing.

At its Tudum event today, Netflix showed off a new clip from the Tim Burton series Wednesday, which focused on a very important character: the sentient hand known as Thing. The full series starts streaming on November 23rd.


A
The Verge
Andrew Webster4:28 PM UTC
Get ready for some Netflix news.

At 1PM ET today Netflix is streaming its second annual Tudum event, where you can expect to hear news about and see trailers from its biggest franchises, including The Witcher and Bridgerton. I’ll be covering the event live alongside my colleague Charles Pulliam-Moore, and you can also watch along at the link below. There will be lots of expected names during the stream, but I have my fingers crossed for a new season of Hemlock Grove.


A
Andrew Webster1:05 PM UTC
Looking for something to do this weekend?

Why not hang out on the couch playing video games and watching TV. It’s a good time for it, with intriguing recent releases like Return to Monkey Island, Session: Skate Sim, and the Star Wars spinoff Andor. Or you could check out some of the new anime on Netflix, including Thermae Romae Novae (pictured below), which is my personal favorite time-traveling story about bathing.


A screenshot from the Netflix anime Thermae Romae Novae.
Thermae Romae Novae.
Image: Netflix
J
Twitter
Jay PetersSep 23
Twitch’s creators SVP is leaving the company.

Constance Knight, Twitch’s senior vice president of global creators, is leaving for a new opportunity, according to Bloomberg’s Cecilia D’Anastasio. Knight shared her departure with staff on the same day Twitch announced impending cuts to how much its biggest streamers will earn from subscriptions.


T
Twitter
Tom WarrenSep 23
Has the Windows 11 2022 Update made your gaming PC stutter?

Nvidia GPU owners have been complaining of stuttering and poor frame rates with the latest Windows 11 update, but thankfully there’s a fix. Nvidia has identified an issue with its GeForce Experience overlay and the Windows 11 2022 Update (22H2). A fix is available in beta from Nvidia’s website.


A
External Link
If you’re using crash detection on the iPhone 14, invest in a really good phone mount.

Motorcycle owner Douglas Sonders has a cautionary tale in Jalopnik today about the iPhone 14’s new crash detection feature. He was riding his LiveWire One motorcycle down the West Side Highway at about 60 mph when he hit a bump, causing his iPhone 14 Pro Max to fly off its handlebar mount. Soon after, his girlfriend and parents received text messages that he had been in a horrible accident, causing several hours of panic. The phone even called the police, all because it fell off the handlebars. All thanks to crash detection.

Riding a motorcycle is very dangerous, and the last thing anyone needs is to think their loved one was in a horrible crash when they weren’t. This is obviously an edge case, but it makes me wonder what other sort of false positives we see as more phones adopt this technology.


A
External Link
Ford is running out of its own Blue Oval badges.

Running out of semiconductors is one thing, but running out of your own iconic nameplates is just downright brutal. The Wall Street Journal reports badge and nameplate shortages are impacting the automaker's popular F-series pickup lineup, delaying deliveries and causing general chaos.

Some executives are even proposing a 3D printing workaround, but they didn’t feel like the substitutes would clear the bar. All in all, it's been a dreadful summer of supply chain setbacks for Ford, leading the company to reorganize its org chart to bring some sort of relief.


E
TikTok
Spain’s Transports Urbans de Sabadell has La Bussí.

Once again, the US has fallen behind in transportation — call it the Bussí gap. A hole in our infrastructure, if you will.


J
External Link
Jay PetersSep 23
Doing more with less (extravagant holiday parties).

Sundar Pichai addressed employees’ questions about Google’s spending changes at an all-hands this week, according to CNBC.

“Maybe you were planning on hiring six more people but maybe you are going to have to do with four and how are you going to make that happen?” Pichai sent a memo to workers in July about a hiring slowdown.

In the all-hands, Google’s head of finance also asked staff to try not to go “over the top” for holiday parties.