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Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen) Review

A quality, high-scoring product with a price tag that won't break the bank
Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen)
Credit: Amazon
Best Buy Award
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Price:   $120 List | $119.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Great price for high performance, good sound quality, portability, charging case
Cons:  Bulky, uncomfortable for long periods
Manufacturer:   Amazon
By Michelle Powell and John Giammona Wilber  ⋅  Jul 29, 2021
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 14
  • Sound Quality - 30% 8
  • Comfort - 20% 7
  • Athletic Performance - 20% 7
  • Battery Life - 15% 6
  • Portability - 10% 9
  • Ease of Use - 5% 8

Our Verdict

Curious about true wireless earbuds but wary of the hefty investment they often require? Look no further than the Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen). These buds are one of the overall top scorers during our testing yet cost about half that of several other award-winning Bluetooth earbuds. These earbuds also stand out for their portability, being lightweight and having a slick and protective charging case. Neat features like "find my buds" help you track down your missing pair if you can't find them, and there are noise cancellation and transparency modes. These buds also scored exceptionally in our sound quality and ease-of-use, but do lack in battery life compared to other models. These buds come very close to the high-end performance of the earbud market, but cost significantly less, making them one of our favorite value purchases in this category.

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Pros Great price for high performance, good sound quality, portability, charging caseGood for working out, low profile design, relatively inexpensiveGreat sound quality, keeper clip on wireComplete awareness or surroundings, secure fit, lightweightInexpensive for a truly wireless pair, fairly portable
Cons Bulky, uncomfortable for long periodsMay not fit large ears well, average sound quality and comfort, not true wireless, no charging caseSome find bulky design awkward and uncomfortableExpensive, subpar sound qualityNot comfortable for extended wear, insecure when used for athletic endeavors
Bottom Line A quality, high-scoring product with a price tag that won't break the bankDecent performance at a mid range price, this model is likely to have most appeal among athletes who don't mind the wireGreat sound in an otherwise average packageA good choice for those that really want to listen to music while leaving their ears uncoveredInexpensive earbuds that work well for light use
Rating Categories Amazon Echo Buds (2... JBL Reflect Mini 2 Bose SoundSport AfterShokz Air Anker Soundcore Lib...
Sound Quality (30%)
8.0
5.0
8.0
3.0
7.0
Comfort (20%)
7.0
6.0
6.0
5.0
4.0
Athletic Performance (20%)
7.0
8.0
6.0
8.0
3.0
Battery Life (15%)
6.0
9.0
6.0
7.0
4.0
Portability (10%)
9.0
6.0
5.0
5.0
8.0
Ease Of Use (5%)
8.0
7.0
8.0
6.0
7.0
Specs Amazon Echo Buds (2... JBL Reflect Mini 2 Bose SoundSport AfterShokz Air Anker Soundcore Lib...
Weight (oz) 0.47 0.54 0.82 1.06 0.4
Waterproof Rating IPX4 IPX5 IPX4 IP55 IPX5
Measured Battery Life (hours) 5 11.5 6.5 7.5 3.5
Claimed Battery Life (hours) 5 10 6 6 3.5
Carrying Case? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Charging Carrying Case? Yes No No No Yes
Wireless Charging Option? Yes No No No No
Microphone? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

Our team of experts designed a series of objective tests meant to comparatively score Bluetooth Earbuds based on six distinct metrics. We tested the Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen) for sound quality, comfort, athletic performance, battery life, portability, and ease of use. These earbuds' consistently high performance across the metrics at its low price point prompted us to applaud them as a top value option. Further, these 2nd Gen Earbuds outscored their predecessor (the Echo Buds) in terms of portability and ease of use.

Performance Comparison


Hey Alexa, these earbuds are exceptionally good for their price point.
Hey Alexa, these earbuds are exceptionally good for their price point.
Credit: Laura Casner

Sound Quality


As mentioned, the Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen) scored exceptionally well during our sound quality tests. Audio is a very nuanced phenomenon, so we broke down our sound quality tests to measure four core sub-metrics. Those are: clarity, fullness, bass, and microphone quality (call quality.)


The most impressive aspect of the Echo Buds (2nd Gen)'s sound quality is their bass. The second-generation model lives up to the standard set by the original Echo Buds. The quality and impressiveness of the bass on these buds are rare in the earbud world (even rarer in the wireless earbud world), and it is extremely fun to blast pump-up tunes throughout a workout with the 2nd Gens.

Impressive bass tones pour through these earbuds, an uncommon feat...
Impressive bass tones pour through these earbuds, an uncommon feat in this price bracket.
Credit: Laura Casner

These buds score mid-to-high range in terms of both clarity and fullness. The bottom line is that despite offering a reliably reasonably clear sound and a reliably moderately full sound, the earbuds can be a little fuzzy sometimes just as they can sound sort of distant sometimes. These earbuds also made reasonably good quality calls scoring mid-to-high from the testers on the receiver end to the testers on the earbud user's end. The Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen) deliver—they offer good quality sound when listening to podcasts, excellent bass when listening to music, and reliable, hands-free phone calls.

Active Noise Reduction


These earbuds feature ANR (Active Noise Reduction), passthrough sound, or the ability to disable both. ANR is synonymous with active noise cancellation in the audio world. While the ANR only has one level, the passthrough has a range of one to five. We enjoyed the Sidetone feature which allows you to adjust how much of your own voice you hear on phone calls. Additionally, there is a "find my buds" feature that allows you to track the location of your buds so long as Bluetooth is turned on and in range of your phone.

Comfort


Even the most technically impressive earbuds tend to go unused when it hurts to keep them in your ears. The somewhat bulky appearing Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen) fit surprisingly snuggly in the ears. These buds have an extremely customizable fit. They come with four uniquely sized earpieces and two distinct earfin sizes, so you can mix and match them to fit securely in your ears. Our testers were able to consistently get these buds to fit so securely that the physicality of the buds aided the Ambient Noise Control feature in pretty thorough noise cancellation.


This consistent customizable secure fit comes at a cost, however, as one of our testers who have very sensitive ears could only wear the Echo Buds for about thirty minutes at a time. Other testers who were regular earbud users found them fairly comfortable but forewarned that this can be an issue for you if you have sensitive ears.

These earbuds are lightweight, and the small charging case slips...
These earbuds are lightweight, and the small charging case slips into pockets and packs easily.
Credit: Laura Casner

Athletic Performance


Like their First Generation predecessor, the Echo Buds (2nd Gen) do a fair-to-good good at providing comfort and security during physical activity and exercise. The earfins do a pretty good job at keeping the earbuds in place. However, especially during intense exercise and sports, these buds could wiggle out of place.


While the earfins are consistently good at doing what it says on the tin, they do tend to get a bit uncomfortable after long periods of athletic activity. These buds carry an industry typical IPX4 water resistance rating, meaning that while they aren't waterproof and shouldn't be submerged, the Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen) are sweat resistant. While these buds might not be very top of the class in terms of Athletic Performance, they routinely offer satisfactory performance at the gym, and at their notably light price point, this very well may be an acceptable trade-off.

The Echo Buds remaining securely in our ears during an electric...
The Echo Buds remaining securely in our ears during an electric scooter ride.
Credit: Laura Casner

Battery Life


The specs on the Echo Buds (2nd Gen) list six hours of continuous play. With ANC turned off, we ran these buds continuously for five hours before they died. This puts these buds in the middle of the class in terms of this metric. If continuous battery life is something you prioritize in earbuds, other models may be more up your alley. That said, we appreciate that the charging case provides multiple charges for your earbuds without having to physically plug them into an outlet.


Portability


Portability is where the Echo Buds (2nd Gen) really shine. These buds are incredibly lightweight at only 0.47 ounces. This is a delightful surprise for these sort of large beetle-shell-esque true wireless earbuds. Like most products in this true wireless category, the Echo Buds come with a hard, charging case that, at just slightly larger than an AirPods carrying case, is convenient to stick just about anywhere. The 2nd Gens are a super convenient option for wherever you may need to bring earbuds.


Hey Alexa? How do you pack so much power and performance into such a...
Hey Alexa? How do you pack so much power and performance into such a small piece of tech?
Credit: Laura Casner

Ease of Use


The Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen) have an interface that utilizes touch sensors. They work well and are easy to find. However, these touch sensors don't give any tactile or audio feedback when they recognize a tap. These buds also require you to set up Amazon Alexa to use, which can be pretty annoying if you aren't keen on the idea of Alexa.


While the touch sensors don't utilize any sort of feedback mechanism, they are reliable and accurate. However, they are extremely sensitive and are quite easy to brush or bump on accident. These earbuds are reasonably easy to use and sport numerous useful features, but they could quickly become annoying to somebody who gets easily frustrated by technological inconveniences.

Touch sensors (instead of buttons), find my buds, a charging...
Touch sensors (instead of buttons), find my buds, a charging case, and Alexa voice assistant are all features that add to this product's convenience.
Credit: Laura Casner

Value


The Echo Buds (2nd Gen) represent one of the best values in true wireless earbuds on the market today. Competing earbuds of comparable quality and features often cost double, if not more, than these buds' price tag. These earbuds are an excellent choice for anyone who is new to true wireless buds, looking for the best quality tech at the lowest price, or appreciates consistent reliable audio tech in general.

Conclusion


With sound quality, portability, and ease of use which exceed standards at a sub-standard price, the Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen) offer one of the best deals in true wireless earbuds.

Michelle Powell and John Giammona Wilber