Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen) Review: The Alexa Experience, in Your Ears


Among the many three hottest voice assistants for smartphones and good gadgets, Amazon’s Alexa is in my expertise extra versatile and dependable than Google Assistant and Apple’s Siri. It really works nicely on each Android and iOS in addition to the corporate’s personal good audio system and good shows, plus third-party gadgets together with wi-fi audio system, televisions, and varied IoT devices and home equipment. With the Amazon Echo Buds, Alexa now involves the ultra-portable type issue of true wi-fi earphones.

The concept of a voice-assistant on a real wi-fi headset is not new; each Apple and Google leverage their voice assistants in the AirPods vary and Google Pixel Buds sequence respectively. Nonetheless, with the Echo Buds (2nd Gen), Amazon hopes to supply a way more full expertise in phrases of options and capabilities, at a extra engaging value.

The Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen) is priced at Rs. 10,999 onwards, and options lively noise cancellation, non-compulsory wi-fi charging, and hands-free Alexa voice controls. Is that this the very best ‘good’ true wi-fi headset you should buy proper now? Discover out in this evaluation.

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The Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen) goes up towards the Google Pixel Buds A-Sequence and Apple AirPods (third Gen)

 

The Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen) supply the full-fledged Alexa voice assistant expertise

With the worth of the Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen) beginning at Rs. 10,999 in India, the feature-set and give attention to Alexa places these earphones in competitors with choices such because the Apple AirPods (3rd Gen) and Google Pixel Buds A-Series. Nonetheless, the Echo Buds (2nd Gen) are at a slight benefit right here, due to lively noise cancellation which is not current on both of the aforementioned rivals.

I acquired the wi-fi charging variant of the Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen) for evaluation, which is priced at Rs. 12,999. Qi wi-fi charging assist for the case is the one distinction between the 2 variants, and the headset is offered solely in black in India. The gross sales bundle features a lengthy USB Kind-A to Kind-C charging cable, 4 pairs of silicone ear suggestions of various sizes, and two pairs of wing suggestions of various sizes.

In contrast to Google Assistant and Siri, that are constructed round their respective builders’ product and repair ecosystems, Amazon Alexa has all the time been machine agnostic and accessible for each iOS and Android, in addition to Amazon’s personal {hardware} merchandise and a few third-party gadgets. Which means that the Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen) can be utilized reliably on both Android or iOS, and I certainly discovered the utilization expertise to be just about an identical with each platforms.

The earpieces of the Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen) are small and spherical, and look respectable. There’s an Amazon emblem on the outer aspect of every one, and every supplies a correct in-canal match. The internal sides have proximity sensors for put on detection, and the contact factors for them to cost when positioned in the charging case.

The earphones are IPX4 rated for water resistance, and are comfy to put on. The match was good, with sufficient noise isolation in my expertise. I most well-liked to make use of these earphones with out the wing suggestions, however you would possibly discover them helpful for those who want a safer match, particularly when utilizing the earphones whereas strolling or operating.

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The Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen) have contact controls, which may be customised utilizing the Alexa app

 

The outer sides of the earpieces have touch-sensitive areas, and controls are customisable by means of the Alexa app. You’ll be able to assign particular features for a single-tap, double-tap, triple-tap, and long-press. The choices embody controls for playback, quantity, invoking Alexa or your smartphone’s default voice assistant, biking by means of lively noise cancellation and pass-through modes, and extra. When receiving a telephone name or when on an lively name, a double-tap will reply it or grasp up.

I wasn’t notably impressed with the charging case of the Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen). It is gentle and sufficiently small to conveniently slip right into a pocket, however the hinge and lid felt a bit flimsy. I additionally observed grime and fingerprints have been simply seen on the floor. The pairing button and USB Kind-C port are on the again, and the underside has the wi-fi charging coil (on the Rs. 12,999 variant). There is a single LED indicator on the surface of the case, and two extra on the within to point the cost standing of the case and earpieces.

Similar to different Amazon Echo merchandise, the Echo Buds (2nd Gen) makes use of the Alexa app for setup and configuration. The app does, after all, deal with much more than simply the earphones, however there’s a helpful panel as quickly because the app is opened that shows the battery ranges of the earpieces and the case. It additionally presents fast entry to ANC and microphone controls, the settings menu, and train options reminiscent of beginning a exercise session.

The detailed Settings menu for the Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen) has lots extra choices that will help you arrange the earphones to your liking. This consists of equaliser and management customisation, enabling hands-free Alexa, and switching between ANC and pass-through modes. It is nicely built-in on the entire, with the earphones registering as an adjunct in the app alongside some other Echo and Fireplace TV gadgets you may need.

The Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen) have 5.7mm dynamic drivers, and use Bluetooth 5 for connectivity. It has assist for the SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs. There are three microphones on every earpiece; two dealing with outwards for voice and ANC, and a 3rd on the within to help with ANC.

Battery life on the Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen) was acceptable, however the case fell brief in comparison with rivals. The earpieces ran for an affordable 4 hours and half-hour with ANC on and periodic use of hands-free Alexa, however the charging case added solely two extra fees for a complete of round 13-14 hours per cost cycle.

The Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen) is an all-rounder

Voice assistant assist on true wi-fi earphones is pretty widespread, however most headsets are inclined to solely work with the default voice assistant in your smartphone. When you’re closely invested in the Alexa ecosystem in the type of good audio system and IoT home equipment, the Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen) ship a less complicated and simpler expertise with the Alexa voice assistant.

You’ll be able to management home equipment in your house, stream music and different audio content material from numerous providers reminiscent of Apple Music, Spotify and Audible, and even management playback and different machine features utilizing solely your voice. All of this works nicely with the headset. Efficiency with music and lively noise cancellation, though not distinctive, was respectable.

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The Rs. 10,999 variant solely has USB Kind-C charging, whereas the Rs. 12,999 variant additionally has Qi wi-fi charging

 

Utilizing Alexa on the Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen) was a breeze. It labored nicely in hands-free mode, or utilizing gesture controls. This does, after all, depend on your paired smartphone’s Wi-Fi or cell knowledge connection, since Alexa wants Web connectivity to parse voice instructions and act on them. Fortunately, you need not have the Alexa app operating in your smartphone in the background for this to work.

Alexa labored for nearly every thing on the Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen), simply in addition to it could on an Echo good speaker. This included taking part in particular tracks or playlists by means of my linked Apple Music account, answering queries, controlling IoT gadgets in my dwelling such because the Dyson Purifier Cool, and in addition ordering the Fire TV Cube to play particular content material on my TV.

I used to be additionally ready to make use of Alexa for fundamental hands-free instructions to manage playback and quantity on the earphones, and even to position calls. Certainly, when correctly arrange and with a great Web connection on the paired smartphone, the Echo Buds (2nd Gen) are virtually nearly as good as a sensible speaker in terms of voice assistant capabilities, and have the benefit of having the ability to work with the apps and providers in your smartphone.

Sound high quality is not distinctive when in comparison with different true wi-fi earphones in this value vary. That is to not say that there was something misplaced right here; the Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen) sounded respectable sufficient with most genres, and had a fairly entertaining sonic signature. Nonetheless, I felt that it lacked a bit on the top-end, notably when it got here to the standard of the tuning. It did not ship the sense of eagerness and drive that I’ve heard on choices such because the OnePlus Buds Pro and Samsung Galaxy Buds 2.

Listening to Dance Wiv Me by Dizzee Rascal and Calvin Harris, the sound was completely inoffensive and comfy, however felt a bit fundamental on the entire. The lows lacked vitality and assault, and the mid-range and highs lacked sparkle and cohesiveness. The general sound felt a bit underwhelming, and was just like what I might count on from rather more inexpensive true wi-fi headsets.

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The SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs are supported on the Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen)

 

Turning the quantity as much as across the 80 % degree made the earphones sound a bit higher, however this additionally prompted some listener fatigue. I discovered the 70 % mark to be splendid for comfy listening throughout lengthy classes. Thrilling and well-put-together tracks reminiscent of Snitch by Netsky and Aloe Blacc helped carry out a bit extra drive and really feel in the sound. Nonetheless, the Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen) usually performed it a bit too protected with the sound, making for a listening expertise that by no means felt disagreeable, however undoubtedly got here throughout as boring and plain at occasions.

Similar to sound high quality, lively noise cancellation on the Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen) wasn’t notably spectacular, nevertheless it wasn’t dangerous both. There was a noticeable discount in noise in each indoor and outside environments, nevertheless it did not really feel as competent because it ought to have. Whereas it did make listening a bit simpler and extra targeted, notably once I was listening to audiobooks throughout my each day train routine, noise cancellation wasn’t fairly as spectacular as on different earphones in this value vary.

Apparently, the Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen) additionally helps exercise monitoring. This makes use of location providers in your smartphone to help with counting steps. The step monitoring was moderately correct, with the earphones measuring 1,030 steps once I manually counted 1,000 steps. This is likely to be helpful to some, however true wi-fi earphones aren’t one thing you put on on a regular basis like a smartwatch, so there’s restricted usefulness for a function like this in my opinion.

Name efficiency and connection stability on the Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen) have been respectable sufficient, and I discovered it notably helpful to have the ability to use Alexa to position calls with voice instructions.

Verdict

The Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen) is a formidable pair of true wi-fi earphones in some ways, providing an all-round competent expertise with every thing it units out to perform. Like different Echo merchandise, the core capabilities revolve round Alexa, and for those who’re already invested in Amazon’s ecosystem, this could possibly be the best pair of true wi-fi earphones for you. You get so much for the worth, making this a value-for-money possibility.

Nonetheless, sound high quality and lively noise cancellation efficiency aren’t fairly up to speed,  in comparison with different choices in this value vary, notably the OnePlus Buds Pro which presents a much better listening expertise. Battery life can be lower than splendid on the Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen).




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