Amazon Echo Buds 2 review

Ear we go again

₹ 12,999

(with wireless charging case)

Alexa has permeated into our household faster than dust, and the smart assistant has made its presence felt in everything from our television, speakers, cars, and a few home appliances. It now even sits in our ears waiting for us to call out and ask for help. 
Amazon’s second-gen Echo Buds are a pair of truly wireless earbuds that are packed with features, won’t break the bank, and most importantly have hands-free Alexa integration. We’ve spent the past few days using the earbuds, and here’s our review.

Design: Boring, but comfortable

Where the see-through Nothing Ear (1) stands out for their design, the Echo Buds keep things simple – a bit too simple actually. It’s not unappealing but just plain boring with a generic design, a mix of matte and gloss finishes, and Amazon’s smile logo embossed in a slightly different shade. 
The surface of the buds are touch-enabled, and by default, you can tap once for play/pause, twice for the next track or answer calls, thrice to go to the previous track, and hold for enabling ANC. The touch functions work as advertised, and each of them can also be customised via the app. 
The charging case is the size of a TicTac box and is equally nondescript. The compact form factor and rounded edges make it easy to hold and help it slip into the skinniest of jeans.

The earbuds are quite lightweight and comfortable to wear for hours. Amazon is offering various sized tips and even wingtips for those looking at a more snug fit. The Alexa app has a simple, yet brilliant fit test for you to find the right tips for the perfect fit. 
Comfortable though they are, the design makes the buds stick out of the ears, which may not be to everyone’s liking. In comparison, Samsung’s Galaxy Buds 2 and even the OnePlus Buds Pro with the stem design are more discreet.

Performance: Keeping it natural

Right out of the box, the Echo Buds 2 sound balanced and quite natural, which should please just about everyone. When listening to Spaceship, AP Dhillon’s vocals are clear with no extra bass to muddle his voice. There’s also a sense of depth when listening to songs, which is far more perceptible when watching videos. Keen eared audiophiles won’t find anything exciting here, but at least there’s an equaliser to tweak the sound to one’s liking. 
There’s also built-in active noise cancellation on board, which does an acceptable job at best. It drowns out the sound of the air conditioner and even the vehicles on the street, but there were times when it failed to drown out the clacking of my mechanical keyboard. There were also times when I couldn’t really tell whether the ANC was switched on or not. The likes of OnePlus Buds Pro, and even the more affordable Nothing Ear (1) offer much better noise isolation.

There’s a pass-through mode where you can hear your surroundings at an acceptable volume while listening to music. Answering calls on the earbuds was easy, and our friend on the receiver’s end could clearly hear us. 
The highlight of the Echo Buds is the hands-free Alexa integration. You can just say ‘Alexa’, and the smart assistant will be ready to do your bidding. Unlike the AirPods, there’s no sound to indicate that the assistant has heard you, so you can just say Alexa and give a command without waiting for feedback, making the experience more natural. 
Alexa is smart as on any other compatible smart device, so you can ask her to play/pause music, tell you the weather or even read you the news headlines. The overall experience is seamless, and that is what separates it from most other wireless earbuds.

Verdict: Should you buy?

Amazon’s Echo Buds 2 may not be the best to look at, but there’s a lot to like about them. They sound good out-of-the-box, come with loads of features, and hands-free Alexa is a big differentiator. 
Yes, there are other better sounding TWS available in the same price segment and even lower. So the choice ultimately comes down to the buyer’s preference for outstanding audio or good audio quality with a host of smart features.

Stuff Says

Value-for-money TWS with decent audio chops, ANC, and hands-free Alexa.
Good stuff
Bad stuff
  1. Natural sounding audio out-of-the-box

  1. Multiple ear tips and a great fit test on the app

  1. Hands-free Alexa integration

  1. Noise-cancelling isn’t the best

  1. Generic (read: boring) design

  1. So-so battery life

Drivers: 5.7mm dynamic
Noise cancellation: ANC
Voice assistants: Alexa (hands-free) / Google Assistant, Siri (tap)
Battery: Up to 5 hours (ANC, Alexa) / Additional 15 hours (case)
Charging: Up to 2 hrs usage in 15 mins
Features: IPX4 splash proof
Weight: 5.7 grams (earbuds) / 47.6 grams (wireless charging case)