Amazon took two years to follow up on its first-gen Echo Buds. And it’s taken another six months for the fresh 'phones to finally reach the UK.
Announced way back in April, the retail giant has finally confirmed that its redesigned Echo Buds will start shipping in the UK from 10 November – and you can pre-order a pair from today. So you’ll be able to get Alexa’s new home in your ears, just in time for Christmas.
The good news for patient purchasers? Amazon’s second-gen true wireless in-ears do plenty to improve on their predecessors, making them a much closer rival to the AirPods Pro – without the Apple price tag.
Old news but all-new
More than an incremental upgrade, the second-gen Echo Buds – officially the All-New Echo Buds, despite their existence since spring – deliver a raft of improvements over Amazon’s original wireless earphones.
The revamped Buds are some 20% smaller than the overweight originals – and lighter to boot. A shortened nozzle also promises improved comfort, while new air vents reduce pressure in the ear during longer listening stints (a trick picked up from the AirPods Pro).
The Echo Buds are set to ship with four sizes of ear tip, along with two wing tip options, so finding the right fit should be assured. Not sure which size is right? Fire up the Alexa app on your smartphone and you’ll be able to take an Ear Tip sizing test.
Once you’ve settled on a secure fit, you’ll be free to wear the Echo Buds through rain showers and sweaty sessions alike, thanks to IPX4 water-resistance.
Cut the cords for more
Like the originals, the key selling point of the revamped Echo Buds is the promise of hands-free Alexa interaction. That means you can control your tunes, call your buddies, check the news and manage your calendar – all without reaching for your phone.
You can also ask Alexa to activate noise cancellation, which Amazon reckons is twice as effective on the second-gen Echo Buds – courtesy of mics inside and out, which counteract background sounds based on the pressure in your eardrum. You can also choose to enable Passthrough mode, to adjust the strength of the active cancellation.
On paper, battery life is actually less than the original Echo Buds. You still get five hours of music playback with ANC enabled, but the charging case now tops out at 10 additional hours. Still, at least the new LED lights on the front of each earbud should make it easier to keep an eye on longevity.
For refuelling the Echo Buds, you’ve got two choices: wired or wireless. Opt for the former and you’ll save some cash: the USB-C option costs £110, with a special introductory price of £80 for Prime Members. Keen to cut the cords? The Qi-compatible wireless charging variant will set you back £130 (or £100 for eager Prime Members).
Available in black or white, you can pre-order the All-New Echo Buds from Amazon today.