It was a surprise announcement during the huge Amazon event in late September, when the Seattle tech giant revealed the Echo Buds – Amazon’s first set of headphones ever.
Amazon hasn’t waded into the headphones arena with eyes closed, partnering up with headphone veterans Bose to include that brand’s noise cancellation technology.
So what can we expect from the Amazon Echo Buds when the launch later this year?
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Echo Buds design — What features do they have?
The design is quite small and compact and, judging by press images, they fit quite snugly into the ear. They come with three ear tip sizes (small, medium and large) and they’re sweat resistant to IPX4 if you’re thinking about using them for a run.
Battery life is a claimed 5 hours per charge for music playback, with up to 20 hours available in the charging case. That’s not a huge amount – several recently released earbuds can easily provide 24+ hours – but it’s decent. A 15 minute charge grants the earbuds an extra two hours.
It supports all the popular voice assistants with Alexa built in (also hands-free). Siri and Google Assistant are available from a supported device. To activate them, press and hold the Echo Buds.
The most interesting feature is Bose’s Active Noise Reduction. That’s right, noise cancellation. We normally see noise cancellation on more expensive sets (Sony’s WF-1000XM3), but Amazon and Bose have both managed to wrangle it into the Echo Buds. How well they’ll perform remains to be seen, but with its QuietComfort and Noise Cancelling 700 headphones, Bose have good form for noise cancellation.
Privacy is also a big feature of the Echo Buds. Amazon states that they have multiple layers of privacy protections and controls that are designed to keep your voice recordings safe, including muting the microphones in the Alexa app so it’s not always listening.
Related: Sony WF-1000XM3 review
Echo Buds price — How much do they cost?
The Echo Buds appear to see the Apple AirPods as their main competition. As such the price reflects that aim.
The Echo Buds cost $129.99/£119.99, which undercuts the AirPods by around £40 in the UK, costing the same as the Cambridge Melomania 1.
They’re available to pre-order in the US, while on Amazon’s UK page they’re listed as coming soon.
Echo Buds release date — When are they going on sale?
The Amazon UK listing for the Echo Buds has them down as ‘coming soon’. In the US they’re out October 30th.
We’d imagine they’ll be out here in the UK before the end of the calendar year.