Amazon’s Echo Buds 2 are already available in the US. The question is, when will they reach the UK?
Amazon’s first attempt received ‘ok’ notices when it launched at the end of 2019. In our review we gave them 3.5 stars, finding that they offered excellent features but disappointing sound.
And it would seem Amazon has set about improving matters with its second-gen true wireless, but we’ll have to wait and see until we get our hands on them as no UK release date has been announced.
So if you’re looking to upgrade from the original, here’s everything you need to know about Amazon’s all-new Echo Buds.
When will the 2nd gen Echo Buds be released in UK?
The Echo Buds 2 went on sale in the US on May 13th, 2021. No release date has been confirmed for the UK, but we’d expect the Echo Buds 2 to follow the same path as the original.
Given the original Echo Buds went on sale in the US Halloween 2019, the UK release was December 11th. If the same was applied to the all-new Echo Buds, then a late June/early July release would seem on the cards.
How much will the all-new Echo Buds cost?
The original Echo Buds had a price of $129.99 / £119.99. The 2nd-gen Echo Buds are available at two price points: $119.99 for the standard version and $139.99 for the version with the wireless charging case.
Considering Amazon’s tendency to price its products the same across pretty much every territory, we can expect the all-new Echo Buds to swap the dollar sign for pound sterling: £119.99 and £139.99.
What features do the all new Echo Buds have?
The best feature of the original true wireless was the implementation of Bose’s Noise Reduction technology. Not to be confused with actual noise cancellation seen in pricier true wireless buds, the Noise Reduction reduced the amount of noise rather than ‘cancelled’ it.
With the new Echo Buds Amazon has bumped the noise reduction up to active noise cancellation, and that makes them one of the cheaper sets on the market alongside the Urbanista London. We’ll have to judge how effective the noise cancellation is once we get a review sample, but Amazon claims the performance is twice as powerful as before. The audio Pass-through feature sticks around for hearing sounds in the surrounding environment.
Stamina appears to be the same: five hours in the earbuds and another 15 in the case. That can be stretched to 6.5 and 19.5 hours respectively if ANC and the Alexa wake word recognition are turned off. Fast charging is once again supported, with up to two hours elicited from a 15 minute top-up. One notable addition is the inclusion of a USB-C cable, a feature the original model didn’t have.
Despite the Alexa focus, the Echo Buds 2 play nice with Siri and Google Assistant if they’re the main digital assistant on your device via a tap on the earbuds. Sweat resistance is the same at IPX4, and works to guard against rain and sweat. In effect, they’d be a solid option to consider for running and workouts.
The earbuds also feature a proximity sensor to pause playback when the earbuds are removed from the ear and restart when they’re popped back in. Bluetooth connectivity is 5.0, and we’d guess that audio quality is restricted to AAC and SBC Bluetooth codecs.
Judging by reviews from the US, the new earbuds sport a different design that look a little less generic and plasticky than before (though to our eye the matte finish still looks cheaper than it should). Colour options have been extended to a choice of black or white and Amazon has daubed the logo on the earbuds to add a bit of identity.
They’re 20% smaller than before and the case has undergone a redesign, looking similar to the Panasonic RZ-S300W‘s and now features a LED status light. The earbuds also come with more ear-tips in different sizes, as well as wing-tips, which should help for a more secure fit when running.
When it comes to the app, it sounds as if it’s more of the same. The Ear-Tip sizing test is included to help the wearer find the best fit/seal with the ear-tips included. It worked well before, we can’t see why it wouldn’t do so again.
The same privacy features are included with Amazon once again stating the Echo Buds have multiple layers of privacy protections and controls to keep your voice recordings safe. This includes a microphone mute option in the Alexa app, allowing users to take control of when and where Alexa is actively listening to them talk.
We’re hoping the Echo Buds 2 will perform better in the sound department. They pack 5.7mm drivers and Amazon describes the sound quality as more dynamic, crisper and balanced. We certainly hope that’s the case, given the original featured soft bass, poor treble and flabby dynamics.