Amazon unveiled loads of exciting product updates at its September event but few were expecting the Echo Buds true wireless in-ears. The earbuds mark Amazon’s first step into the headphone market as the online retailer works to expand its ever-growing range of hardware.
Luckily for Amazon, the company won’t be walking into the audio world totally blind. The company has partnered up with established headphone brand Bose to bring its own developed noise cancellation tech to Amazon’s first cans.
Here’s everything we know about the Amazon Echo Buds ahead of the launch later this year.
Related: Best true wireless earbuds
Echo Buds design — What features do they have?
Going by the images Amazon has shown us, the Echo Buds will be small and compact, allowing them to slide snugly into the ear. The buds come with three ear tip variants – small, medium and large – and are sweat resistant to IPX4 standards, meaning they should be capable of standing up to a run.
The Echo Buds will likely rely heavily on the power of Alexa, being part of the Echo family. There aren’t any visible buttons on the earbuds so if you’re thinking of picking up a pair, you might have to ask Alexa to turn down the volume or skip to your favourite song. Aside from the built in Alexa, the Echo Buds also support several on-device voice assistants including Siri and Google Assistant which can be activated by pressing and holding the earbuds.
The earbuds also feature an onboard sensor meaning the music will pause when you take them out your ears and continue when you pop them back in.
Bose’s Active Noise Reduction is certainly the most interesting feature we’ve seen so far. While noise cancellation is more often than not reserved for the pricier sets – Sony’s WF-1000XM3 for example – Amazon and Bose have teamed up to squeeze the tech into the new Echo Buds. Obviously, we’ll have to wait a little longer to find out how they perform, but Bose’s noise cancellation foster is solid with the QuietComfort and Noise Cancelling 700 headphones both having impressed us in the past.
The buds have a pretty average battery life – five hours per charge in the headphones and 15 in the charging case equals 20 hours of playback time total. There are countless earbuds out there with better battery lives, including several that stay juiced for over 24 hours, but it’s still decent. A Micro-USB cord will allow you to get two hours of battery out of a 15 minute charge which, while we’re disappointed they don’t use USB-C, is nevertheless pretty fast.
As far as privacy is concerned, Amazon has stated that the Echo Buds have multiple layers of privacy protections and controls designed to keep your voice recordings safe. Among these options is the microphone mute option in the Alexa app, allowing users to take control of when and where Alexa is actively listening to them talk.
Related: Sony WF-1000XM3 review
Echo Buds price — How much do they cost?
Amazon likely sees Apple’s AirPods as its main competition and the price reflects that.
The Echo Buds are priced at $129.99 or £119.99, undercutting Apple by about £40 in the UK and matching Cambridge Audio’s £119 Melomania 1 in-ears.
Echo Buds release date — When are they going on sale?
While the earbuds are already available to order in the US, having seen an official release on October 30, we’ll have to wait a little longer to get our hands on them overseas.
Amazon’s UK page still has the Echo Buds listed as “Coming Soon”, though we imagine they’ll definitely be out by the end of the year.