This Amazon Echo Buds 2 vs. AirPods Pro face-off breaks down two of the best noise-cancelling earbuds, helping you decide which model best suits your needs and budget.
New to the scene, the Amazon Echo Buds 2 is the highly anticipated follow-up to Amazon’s first-ever true wireless model, the Echo Buds. This version is smaller, has better active noise cancellation, and comes in at a lower price point than the original. Alexa voice integration also expands functionality by offering access to hundreds of Alexa skills.
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The AirPods Pro remains a hot seller for its stellar interconnectivity with Apple devices and wide feature set, which continues to expand via iOS updates. Adaptive sound, customizable fit, great ANC, and excellent call quality are just some of its other noteworthy attributes.
These are two high-performing options that offer different user experiences, and only one is walking out of this battle with a W. Take a look as we break down the Echo Buds 2 and AirPods Pro to help you find the better noise-cancelling investment.
Amazon Echo Buds 2 vs. AirPods Pro: Specs compared
|Amazon Echo Buds 2||AirPods Pro|
|Price||$119.99, $139.99 (with wireless charging case)||$249|
|Wireless Charging Case||Yes, optional||Yes, included|
|Battery Life (Rated)||5 hours (ANC on), 6.5 hours (ANC off), 15 hours (with charging case), 19.5 hours (with charging case and ANC off)||4.5 hours with ANC on, 5 hours with ANC off (24 hours with charging case)|
|Case Size||2.6 x 1.1 x 1.5 inches||2.4 x 1.8 x 0.9 inches|
|Case Weight||1.7 ounces||1.6 ounces|
|Special features||Active noise cancellation, ambient listening mode, Alexa integration, customizable fit, EQ controls, built-in fitness tracker||Active noise cancellation, transparency mode, adaptive EQ, customizable fit, Spatial Audio, audio sharing, “Hey Siri” voice activation|
Amazon Echo Buds 2 vs. AirPods Pro: Price
The difference in price is significant with the Echo Buds 2 being the more affordable option at $119. A wireless charging version is sold for $139, which is still half the price of its competitor. FYI: Amazon had a special promotion before launch that let you pre-order the buds for $99.
Apple launched the AirPods Pro at $249. A wireless charging case is included with the purchase. This product is often on sale with some retailers having dropped the price down to as low as $180.
Winner: Amazon Echo Buds 2
Amazon Echo Buds 2 vs. AirPods Pro: Design
"Minimalist" best describes the designs on these two products; granted, the AirPods Pro does the better job of hitting that sweet spot between fashion and function. The long-stem silhouette is synonymous with wireless earbuds, whether you like it or not, and the all-plastic chassis, while not the most durable, comes with IPX4 water resistance to protect the internals from moisture damage. Tiny details like the smaller stems, black vents, shiny accents at the bottom, and longer sound port make this version distinctive over the previous AirPods.
Amazon gave the Echo Buds 2 a facelift, downscaling its size by about 20% and ditching the glossy panels for a plain surface. Build quality is sturdy and as with the AirPods Pro, IPX4 certification means the buds will survive sweat and splashes of water. Other than the Amazon logo embossed on the front, there isn’t anything else eye-catching about the design.
The charging cases share some similarities: a rectangular design with rounded edges, a flip-top lid, and LED on the front to indicate battery levels. While the AirPods Pro case is sleeker and slimmer, we found the Echo Buds 2 case to be sturdier and just as light to carry around.
Comfort and fit are two areas where the AirPods Pro excel. Its ergonomic design with installed ear tips is an upgrade from the universal fit Apple claimed the older AirPods provided, which was not the case. The tips do make all the difference and keep the buds stabilized on your ears. Apple even went as far as to develop an Ear Tip Fit Test that calibrates the buds and determines which size offers the best fit for true active noise cancellation. You should feel fine sporting them for a good two hours before fatigue sets in.
The Echo Buds 2 is also a pleasant wear with a shortened nozzle designed for enhanced comfort. Multiple tips and wings are included to accommodate different ear shapes, with the aim of forming a decent seal around the ear to prevent slippage. Amazon took a page out of Apple’s playbook and created its own Ear Tip Fit Test that analyzes your ears to find the best tip-and-wing combo. We commend Amazon for the attempt, though Apple’s version is more accurate.
Winner: AirPods Pro
Amazon Echo Buds 2 vs. AirPods Pro: Controls
If we’re talking voice activation, then, yes, these products match up evenly. However, Apple’s new force sensor system is the deciding factor in the category, as well as the best input method for wireless earbuds. Every press produces great tactile feedback to ensure intended commands are met, though you’re limited to the number of controls that can be assigned to each bud. Luckily, the “Hey Siri” feature helps to expand the control scheme and works flawlessly to register and respond to voice commands. Apple’s mic array is highly intelligible and doesn’t miss a word, something you’ll immediately notice when spewing long-winded requests. It is annoying that the feature remains exclusive to Apple products, though Siri can be manually triggered on Android devices via third-part apps like Assistant Trigger.
Alexa voice activation is just as impressive, registering and answering inquiries with precision. Amazon also grants you the option of making Google Assistant or Siri your default digital assistant, though Alexa is specifically programmed to offer the best digital assistant experience on these buds.
We did notice one issue with the function: latency. It takes about 3 seconds to receive responses after speaking a voice command. The Echo Buds 2 also comes with touch sensors that are highly responsive and support a full suite of media controls.
Winner: AirPods Pro
Amazon Echo Buds 2 vs. AirPods Pro: Sound quality
The AirPods Pro wins this round based on its versatility and special modes. Apple’s adaptive EQ alone makes this the best sounding AirPods on the market, which adjusts the lows and mids based on your ear shape and so incredibly well. Bass is emphasized, while vocals and effects (e.g., claps, synths) sound clean and rich. But it’s the addition of spatial audio that gives the AirPods Pro sonic appeal, reproducing 3D sound to create a more immersive soundscape.
The Echo Buds 2 does sound better than its predecessor, with Amazon giving its neutral sound profile a slight bump in bass. With the right record, you’ll enjoy punchy lows and great treble on boomy tracks. Overall, we feel the sound quality is adequate for commutes or when listening to music around the house, though the lack of clarity on certain tracks, specifically lo-fi recordings, won’t sit well with audiophiles.
Winner: AirPods Pro
Amazon Echo Buds 2 vs. AirPods Pro: Active noise cancellation
Of the two, the AirPods Pro is the better noise canceller. Apple’s mics are resilient at silencing numerous ambient noises, while helping drown out louder, higher-frequency sounds. The technology is useful for wanting to block out common household distractions like door buzzers, kitchen appliance timers, and loud TVs, plus it can reduce jet engine humming. Crying babies and car alarms can be heard from a distance, though they won’t draw you away from whatever you’re doing. Apple’s transparency mode is solid for when you want to gain better awareness of surroundings.
Amazon strengthened the noise reduction on its buds. It isn’t strong enough to compete with Apple’s ANC circuitry, but it’s serviceable for when you want to block out environmental fracas. The three-mic array can handle multiple noises in different environments, blocking out about 75% of unwanted sounds. Wind resistance is reputable to minimize the harmful whooshing effect that even the best cheap wireless earbuds can produce. Passthrough mode is Amazon’s version of ambient listening and it works well, picking up voices clearly to engage in brief chats with baristas or family members. We also like that the Alexa app lets you adjust how much noise you want to let in, which helps greatly when trying to hear what’s happening outside.
Winner: AirPods Pro
Amazon Echo Buds 2 vs. AirPods Pro: Special features and apps
This category should really be called Alexa vs. Siri, but even if you remove the AI bots from this conversation, you’re still looking at two of the most feature-laden models out there. There is more than enough functionality to play around with on both sets of buds.
The Echo Buds 2 is tied into the Alexa ecosystem, which automatically gives you access to a plethora of Alexa skills that expand into numerous territories. These include music services, productivity tasks, control of all Echo products, and managing other compatible devices directly from the buds. That’s just to name a few.
There are two noteworthy features that will appeal to fitness buffs. The first is the aforementioned Ear Fit Tip Test and the other is Workout mode. This transforms the Echo Buds 2 into a fitness tracker that keeps tabs on your performance by recording your steps, distance, duration, calories, and pace. It’s no real substitute for your Fitbit or Apple Watch, but it’s something.
Amazon also added an EQ to personalize sound by adjusting the bass, mid-range, and treble. Other stuff you’ll find in the Alexa app are a Find My Buds mode, toggle controls to easily switch between listening modes, and battery level indicators for both buds and the charging case.
Apple chose software over hardware when developing the AirPods Pro, which has allowed itself to maximize performance through firmware updates and extend the earbuds’ shelf life. That isn’t to say the AirPods Pro doesn’t have some serious horsepower underneath its porcelain sheath. Apple’s H1 chip runs the show and welcomes numerous perks, including instant connectivity to iPhone and iPads, hands-free “Hey Siri” assistant activation, audio sharing between two Apple/Beats headphones and longer talk times.
For recently added features, there's the spatial audio mode, automatic switching, battery notifications, optimized charging, and Headphones Accommodations to analyze your hearing for personalized sound. iPhone/iPad owners can customize sound as well by choosing from 20 presets in the iOS settings. Here is a lengthier list of AirPods Pro tricks worth checking out.
Wireless performance is solid on the Echo Buds 2, but instantaneous on the AirPods Pro. Range is equally sufficient at about 35 feet. Neither of these models comes with multipoint technology to connect to two devices simultaneously.
Amazon Echo Buds 2 vs. AirPods Pro: Call quality
Only one of these devices comes second to the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds in call quality, and that is the AirPods Pro. Apple’s buds do a fantastic job of capturing vocals and minimizing environmental fracas during calls and video chats. Don’t expect the same neutralization as you would listening to music with ANC on, but feel assured knowing that most distractions will remain out of your conversations. As a reminder, the H1 processor gives you 50% more talk time, something you’ll be grateful for considering how low battery life is on these danglers.
The Echo Buds 2 is a decent calling headset — just not on the same level as the AirPods Pro. The sidetone feature allows users to hear their voice louder when speaking. Noise reduction is a step up from the original, but still requires some improvement, as blaring noises are audible on both ends. You’ll also need to make sure that ANC mode is always on, as turning off the feature, which is ideal for power preservation, makes ambient noise harsher on the ears.
Winner: AirPods Pro
Amazon Echo Buds 2 vs. AirPods Pro: Battery life
Do you want a pair of buds that can last several days without recharging? Well, look elsewhere. These two offerings have some of the lowest battery life in the category. The Echo Buds 2 (5 hours) narrowly edges out the AirPods Pro (4.5 hours) based on official manufacturer ratings, but realistically, it provides similar playtime with ANC and Alexa on. Disabling these features will extend playtimes to 6.5 hours, and quick-charging nets you 2 hours of a 15-minute charge. Where Amazon really dropped the ball is the charging case, as it only holds between 15 (ANC on) to 19 hours (ANC off) when fully charged.
To see the AirPods Pro carry shorter battery life than the regular AirPods (5 hours) is disappointing. Despite this, Apple deserves credit for giving its flagship buds stellar battery management that squeezes every bit of juice out of the battery, and that is with numerous programs and functions operating in the background simultaneously. Turning off ANC pushes playtime up to 5 hours and Apple’s quick-charging technology is more efficient, generating 1 hour of use on a 5-minute charge. The charging case is stronger too, maxing out at 24 hours fully charged.
Wireless charging cases are available for either model, though Apple includes it with the AirPods Pro as standard, whereas Amazon asks a $20 premium for it.
Winner: AirPods Pro
Amazon Echo Buds 2 vs. AirPods Pro: Verdict
As much of an upgrade as the Echo Buds 2 is, it’s still a few tiers below the AirPods Pro. Apple’s commitment to improving performance and adding extra features through software updates can’t be overstated. Siri is excellent and encourages users to call on her for the most meaningless tasks. Furthermore, Apple’s ANC technology is first-rate, and the adaptive EQ combined with spatial audio helps to deliver engaging sound. Could the battery life and design be better? Absolutely. But until the AirPods Pro 2 drops, your money will be well spent on this first-gen classic.
|Amazon Echo Buds 2||AirPods Pro|
|Price and value (5)||5||3|
|Audio quality (20)||15||17|
|Active noise cancellation(20)||15||17|
|Special features and apps (15)||13||13|
|Call quality (5)||3||5|
|Battery life (10)||6||7|
|Total score (100)||76||83|
Kudos to Amazon for offering plenty of performance at a lower cost. Having the full-on Alexa experience available at the tip of your tongue is awesome. Noise cancellation is stronger and surprisingly effective for the price. The smaller design, while not the most stylish, should be applauded as well for creating better comfort. However, there are still some areas where the Echo Buds 2 require tune-ups, audio and battery life in particular. It is still a splendid pickup for those on a tight budget, but if at all possible, it's better to splurge on the AirPods Pro.
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