After their launch in the US earlier, Amazon’s Echo Buds 2 now have a release and pricing for the UK.
Amazon has introduced the next gen model of its Echo Buds, adding wireless capabilities, new design and custom active noise cancellation.
We gave the original 3.5 stars, finding they offered excellent features but disappointing sound. We’re hoping that Amazon has set about to improve matters with its latest earbud.
When will the all-new Echo Buds go on sale in the UK?
The All-New Echo Buds went on sale in the US May 13th, 2021. The UK will have to wait six months with Amazon confirming a date of November 10th.
That’s quite a long wait, much more so than the original release and presumably down to supply issues. You can pre-order the new model starting today (October 12th).
How much will the all-new Echo Buds cost?
The original Echo Buds had a price of $129.99 / £119.99. In the US 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.
In the UK the prices are lower than anticipated, with the USB-C wired option costing £109.99 and £129.99 for wireless charging version.
If you’re a Prime member you’ll get an introductory price offer. The USB-C wired charging option is priced £79.99 with the wireless charging option £99.99.
Amazon customers can also get a trial of Amazon Music Unlimited. Those without a subscription to the service (past or current) and who haven’t taken up, or are not currently on a free trial of Amazon Music Unlimited, are eligible for six months of Amazon Music Unlimited for free.
What’s new with the Amazon Echo Buds?
The best feature of the original was Bose’s Noise Reduction technology.
There’s no sign of Bose’ handiwork with the new Echo Buds with Amazon stating this solution is a ‘custom’. And Amazon claims the new buds cancel twice as much noise compared to the first gen model, down to Amazon using inner and outer microphones to “intelligently estimate sound pressure in your eardrum” and cancel out background noise.
Press and hold either earbud or say, “Alexa, turn on noise cancellation” and it’ll activate. Along with ANC is a Passthrough Mode if you want to hear what’s around you, and this can also be enabled with a press/hold on the earbud or by talking to Alexa. You can customise how much you hear in the settings area of the Alexa app.
And Alexa herself offers an easy path to your favourite content, whether that’s an Audible audiobook or access to Apple Music, Spotify and others. An incoming feature is the ability to listen to podcasts on Amazon Music by saying “Alexa, play my followed podcasts.” Alexa can also be asked to play music for a set amount of time, stopping playback as soon as you hit the limit.
The Echo earbuds have undergone a redesign, too, available in both black and white variants, and 20% smaller; with a shortened nozzle to help improve comfort over longer periods and new built-in vents to reduce ear pressure. With four ear tip sizes and two wing tip sizes, the earbuds can be tailored for the best fit possible.
What’s the same with the all-new Amazon Echo Buds?
The Ear Tip Sizing Test in the Alexa app is back, confirming if you’ve reached an optimal seal for the best audio and noise cancellation.
There’s no improvement on stamina with five hours in the earbuds and another 15 in the case, though that is with the addition of ANC.
Battery life 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 back, with up to two hours from a 15 minute top-up. One addition is the USB-C cable, which the original didn’t have.
The Echo Buds 2 will again play nice with Siri and Google Assistant if they’re the main digital assistant on your device. Sweat resistance is the same at IPX4 to guard against rain and sweat, which could make these earbuds a solid option 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 presume audio quality is AAC and SBC codecs, but we’ve asked Amazon for confirmation.
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.
Misplace the Echo Buds and they can be located by saying “Alexa, find my buds” to another Alexa-enabled device, or by pressing a button the device settings area of the Alexa app. The earbuds will play a chime alerting the owner to their location.
And what about the Amazon Echo Buds 2 sound?
We’re hoping the Echo Buds 2 will perform better and Amazon are making all the right sounds (as it were). They feature 5.7mm drivers, which Amazon describes as being able to deliver a more dynamic, crisper and balanced sound. We certainly hope so given the original featured soft bass, poor treble and flabby dynamics.
The premium drivers have been optimised for “increased fidelity in bass and treble” in the hope of reducing distortion during media playback, and enabling “vibrant melodies and clear spoken word.”
Amazon have also said the onboard microphones have been optimised to capture lower frequencies, benefitting both call quality and Alexa’s ability to hear you.
The All-New Echo Buds go on sale November 12th in the UK, with the USB-C wired option costing £109.99 and £129.99 for wireless charging version. You can pre-order starting now.