Amazon Echo Buds (2023) overview: $50 goes a great distance

When Amazon launched its 2nd-generation Echo Buds in 2021, the corporate redesigned them to deal with almost each concern with its first try. They’d true lively noise cancellation (ANC), higher sound and a smaller measurement. Amazon took a a lot totally different strategy for its third model, opting to maneuver from mid-range to a low-cost mannequin with an all-new design that covers many of the fundamental options you’d count on. As all the time, the Alexa trustworthy will get probably the most out of the new $50 Echo Buds, however in plenty of methods you might argue a price range mannequin that does effectively with the necessities is the place Amazon ought to’ve been all alongside.


Whereas the primary two iterations of the Echo Buds had related designs, Amazon utterly modified issues up for the third era. The 2023 mannequin has an AirPods-like stem that extends down out of your ear towards your jaw. The silicone ear ideas are gone as effectively and the buds sit in your ear moderately than utterly closing off your ear canal. There are two units of silicone “covers” included with the Echo Buds that Amazon says will “optimize your match.” They don’t actually change how the earbuds really feel in your ears as a result of they’re so skinny. They only present a tiny little bit of grip to assist them keep put.


Amazon Echo Buds (2023)


  • Very reasonably priced
  • Good sound for the value
  • Multipoint connectivity works effectively
  • Stable mixture of options


  • Requires Alexa app for setup
  • No wi-fi charging
  • Design and match isn’t for everybody
  • IPX2 score

The largely open design is nice for if you may not need to block out the world fully. Nonetheless, they’re solely IPX2 rated for defense from water droplets. The 2nd-gen Echo Buds provided barely higher IPX4 resistance, so I wouldn’t depend on the 2023 mannequin as your exercise associate if you happen to sweat so much.

Amazon didn’t reduce too many corners with regards to controls to maintain prices low, although. The higher, primary a part of the Echo Buds settle for faucets (single, double, triple and lengthy press) for music playback, calls and to summon Alexa manually. The earbuds are additionally outfitted with in-ear detection for automated pausing. You possibly can reconfigure the defaults any variety of methods, together with swapping out core controls for quantity. You’ll want two spots for that although, as quantity up is one gesture whereas down requires one other.

The controls are mirrored on each side out of the field, however you don’t need to preserve them that manner. You can even reassign the lengthy press to mute the Echo Buds mics or activate your telephone’s native assistant. Since these earbuds supply hands-free entry to Alexa, you may technically get each. Nonetheless, the Echo Buds gained’t summon Siri or Google Assistant if the mics are muted, even if you happen to’ve assigned them to the lengthy press motion. The underside line right here is that there’s a lot of customization out there and the earbuds reliably settle for your faucets with out having to repeat a contact command.

Regardless of the longer general design, the charging case with the brand new Echo Buds stays small. This one will simply tuck in a tiny pocket. The Bluetooth pairing button is on the skin up entrance, sitting just under an LED standing indicator, and a USB-C charging port resides on the correct facet.

Software program and setup

Amazon Alexa app

Photograph by Billy Steele/Engadget

One of many largest points I’ve with the Echo Buds is that they require the Alexa app for a full setup. I’m effectively conscious earbuds and headphones want apps to get probably the most out of their options, however the Alexa app is bloated because it handles all types of sensible units past simply the Echo Buds. There’s so much to deal with right here simply to tweak your settings. Amazon has put the earbuds data up high so that you don’t need to go on the lookout for it, however there’s nonetheless so much to get misplaced in down under.

The Alexa app shows battery life percentages for each earbuds individually and the case proper on the house display screen, in addition to an simply accessible mute button for the microphones. Tapping additional into the settings exhibits you Bluetooth connections and offers you the choice to disable Alexa hands-free. Word that this doesn’t mute the mics and you’ll nonetheless manually summon Amazon’s assistant with an extended press on the Echo Buds. The earbuds additionally assist multipoint connectivity for 2 units without delay, and in my expertise switching is fast and dependable.

Because it has prior to now, the corporate lets you activate and modify Sidetone. That’s the quantity of your individual voice you need to hear throughout a name. VIP Filter returns as effectively, which helps you to determine which contacts and apps you need to obtain notifications from. EQ customization comes within the type of three sliders for bass, mids and treble, simply above the choice to reconfigure the faucet controls. Amazon has included a Discover My software within the app and there are function classes for Leisure, Communication and Location & Maps that assist to additional personalize the Echo Buds Setup.

Sound high quality

Amazon Echo Buds (2023) review

Photograph by Billy Steele/Engadget

In the case of open-type earbuds, sound high quality can fluctuate wildly from mannequin to mannequin. It’s comprehensible that some corporations wrestle to ship the very best audio with out sealing off your ears and the wearer’s ear form can dramatically impression the outcomes. However Amazon tackled each of these challenges admirably and created a sound profile that’s fairly good in a set of $50 buds.

The very first thing that impressed me with the Echo Buds was the readability and element. Softer and acoustic genres like bluegrass, folks and lighter nation sound nice, with the nice and cozy strums of Zach Bryan’s guitars and vocals on American Heartbreak reducing by the combo. Swap over to the electro-pop-rock of PVRIS’ Evergreen and also you’ll discover that these earbuds do lack a little bit of low-end thump. That’s widespread with open designs, so it’s not shocking. If I press the buds in barely, the bass is extra current. Sadly, which means audio high quality could fluctuate primarily based on how the Echo Buds sit in your ears.

Total, the tuning is well-balanced throughout genres. At occasions, there’s a heavier dose of treble, nevertheless it’s not a continuing concern. However usually the Echo Buds ship higher audio high quality than a lot of the $50 competitors. They pickup loads of delicate reverb when it’s current and there’s good texture to drums and distorted guitars throughout hip-hop and steel respectively. They even adequately render all the layered and distinctive sounds of the KAYTRAMINÉ album.

Not like the earlier model of Echo Buds, there’s no lively noise cancellation right here. As a result of semi-open design it might be largely wasted anyway. This implies the brand new Echo Buds gained’t do a lot to dam a loud espresso store or air conditioner, however they need to preserve you from lacking bulletins, warnings or every other essential data which may in any other case go unheard.

Battery life

Amazon Echo Buds (2023) review

Photograph by Billy Steele/Engadget

Amazon says you may count on as much as 5 hours of use on these Echo Buds. You possibly can lengthen that determine by one hour if you happen to decide to disable hands-free entry to Alexa. There are three extra fees within the case and a quick-charge function will provide you with as much as two hours of listening time in quarter-hour. The Echo Buds are replenished through the USB-C port on the correct facet as there’s no wi-fi charging right here. Amazon doesn’t embrace a cable both, citing its Local weather Pledge Pleasant dedication, however chances are high you have already got one. If not, the corporate presents the choice to bundle it for $10 extra.

Throughout “common” use, I nonetheless had eight % left within the tank after 5 and a half hours. That’s a mixture of taking part in music, taking calls and leaving the buds on my desk outdoors of the case a few occasions. I additionally had the wake phrase lively, so I went past the corporate’s acknowledged quantity. 5 hours is close to the trade common today, particularly for extra reasonably priced fashions, nevertheless it’s good to see Amazon barely overdelivering.

Name high quality

To help with calls, Amazon put in two mics and a voice accelerometer on every earbud. As all the time, corporations’ claims about name efficiency are sometimes exaggerated to some extent with guarantees of “crystal clear” high quality. That’s precisely what Amazon says concerning the Echo Buds, however general readability isn’t notably nice. Your voice comes throughout barely muffled, although it’s completely high-quality for normal video and voice calls. I wouldn’t do any recording with these – not that you’d with most earbuds anyway. The Echo Buds do a good job combatting background noise, together with a loud fan that got here by as tender white noise as an alternative of its raucous rumble and a close-by sport of Mario Kart 8 wasn’t picked up in any respect.

The competitors

Amazon Echo Buds (2023) review

Photograph by Billy Steele/Engadget

At $50, Amazon is considerably undercutting its competitors from the most important names in wi-fi earbuds. Sony’s most cost-effective choice, the WF-C500s, are $100 and Samsung’s Galaxy Buds 2 are solely about $10 much less. Apple’s 2nd-generation “common” AirPods are $129, however there’s a pricier, redesigned mannequin of people who debuted in 2021.

For extra apt comparisons, you’ll need to look to the likes of Jabra and Anker for the best budget wireless earbuds. The Jabra Elite 3 are my high reasonably priced decide attributable to its spectacular sound high quality for the value ($80), good battery life, cozy match and dependable contact controls. There’s no automated pausing and EQ changes are restricted to presets, however the audio is nice out of the field. My colleague Jeff Dunn prefers Anker’s Soundcore Space A40. For $75, you get respectable ANC, customizable sound, eight hours of battery life and nearly all the necessities.


Amazon’s new strategy to Echo Buds has produced attention-grabbing outcomes. The corporate was solely going to enhance issues a lot at its earlier mid-range worth level, there’s a restrict to how a lot tech you may add to a $150 set earlier than the value has to go up. Going for the price range consumers as an alternative of constructing a high-end set of $300 earbuds makes extra sense contemplating its strategy to different units. Nonetheless, the corporate managed to create low-cost Echo Buds with sound high quality that punches above the value level whereas nonetheless together with all the fundamental performance. Alexa customers even get a hands-free assistant, which isn’t all that widespread on $50 earbuds. There are actually some omissions, however on the entire, Amazon’s option to go price range pleasant looks as if the correct name.

Gallery: Amazon Echo Buds (2023) overview | 12 Photographs

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