Look out AirPods! Amazon updates Echo Buds with new design, better sound, and £80 price


Amazon only recently held a blockbuster event where it revealed a new Alexa-equipped picture frame, a smart thermostat, and a small robot that follows you around at home and can launch video calls to friends and family. As the curtain on the keynote fell, we assumed that Amazon has finished announcing new gadgets for the year – but we were wrong. The online retailer has just revealed its second-generation Echo Buds.

These wireless earbuds arrive with a new design, improved audio quality, and a much more affordable price tag …albeit for a limited time only.

First up, that new look. Amazon has managed to shrink its all-new Echo Buds by 20 percent compared to the previous generation. As such, these new ‘buds are smaller and more comfortable to keep in your lugholes all-day when listening to music, making calls, or asking Alexa questions. Despite the diddy footprint, Amazon has still managed to include an IPX4 rating, which means the Echo Buds can withstand splashes, sweat, or light rain.

Amazon says its new shortened nozzle design will improve comfort and built-in vents reduce ear pressure during use, so the Echo Buds will feel natural in your ear. Like the first-generation Echo Buds, this new pair arrives with a selection of four silicon tip sizes, so you’ll be able to find the right fit for your ear. You’ll need a solid seal to ensure the best listening experience. Amazon has created an Ear Tip Sizing Test inside the Alexa app on your iPhone or Android handset that will confirm whether you have the right seal too.

The first Echo Buds didn’t sound bad by any stretch, but Amazon is making some big claims about the audio quality of this new pair.

The online retailer says it has included a high-performance driver in each earbud to deliver balanced sound with “extended dynamic range,” Amazon says. The company has tuned the components to improve audio, regardless of genre. Unlike Apple’s best-selling £159 AirPods, Amazon includes active noise-cancellation with its earbuds. With this new pair, the company has redesigned the system. As such, it says the second-generation Echo Buds can cancel twice as much background noise compared to the previous pair, which should quash the rumble of the commuter train, plane engines, or the whirr of the photocopier for those back in the office.

Amazon says its new active noise-cancellation system uses the inner and outer microphones to estimate the amount of sound pressure in your eardrum, which correlates to how you hear sound around you, to generate the inverse of that signal and cancel out unwanted noise, helping you stay immersed in your audio. We’ll have to get a pair in our ears to work out whether this new system is a step-up, but it sounds promising.

As with the first-generation Echo Buds, these wireless earbuds bring the smarts of AI assistant Alexa wherever you go.

Just ask the chatty AI to listen to your favourite Audible audiobook, find your next favourite artist on Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, and more. You can also ask any general knowledge queries that pop into your head, as well as the latest news and weather. You can also ask Alexa to play music for a set amount of time, for example, when you want to take a short walk to soak in the sun say, “Alexa, play relaxing music for 15 minutes.” When the tunes stop, it’s your cue to head home.

Echo Buds arrive in a carry case that can recharge the ‘buds two times for a total of 15 hours of music playback. If you’re in a hurry, a 15-minute quick charge will give you up to two hours of music playback.

To check the battery status, flip open the carry case with the Echo Buds inside and new LED lights fitted in front of each earbud will show the battery status of your ‘buds. Echo Buds have two charging options available: via USB-C or a Qi-certified wireless charging pad. To herald the arrival of wireless charging, Amazon has teamed-up with Anker to build a “Made for Amazon Anker PowerWave Pad for Echo Buds”, which is sold separately.

Echo Buds are £109.99 for the USB-C wired charging option, or £129.99 for wireless charging. The USB-C wired charging option will be available for an introductory price of £79.99 and the wireless charging option will be available for an introductory price of £99.99 for Prime Members. Customers who pre-order and qualify will also receive six months of Amazon Music Unlimited for free.

New Echo Buds are available in a choice of either Black or Glacier White.

Speaking about the all-new ‘buds, Eric Saarnio, Vice President of Amazon Devices EU, said: “The all-new Echo Buds are better in so many ways—a smaller design, a more comfortable fit, Active noise cancellation technology, a new colour and wireless charging option, and high-performance drivers for dynamic audio. It’s never been easier for customers to bring Alexa with them throughout their day—whether at home or out and about, all they have to do is ask to play music or podcasts, call to check in on a loved one, add an item to their to-do list, and so much more.”

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