Amazon Echo Buds Review Roundup: Better Value Than AirPods

Amazon Echo Buds
(Image credit: Future)

The first reviews for the Amazon Echo Buds are out. Reviewers are generally positive on these wireless earbuds, which have Alexa built in, as well as Bose active noise reduction technology, which helps reduce ambient sounds. The best part is the price.

At $129, the Echo Buds are $70 less than the AirPods 2 with wireless charging case and $120 less than the new AirPods Pro. Based on the early reviews, it looks like the Echo Buds are going to be one of the best wireless earbuds for the price.  

David Carnoy, CNET

David Carnoy of CNET really liked the Echo Buds, bestowing a rating of 4/5 stars. He too, thought they sounded good for the price, and noted that you can adjust the equalizer settings to your liking. However, he found that Alexa didn’t always activate in noisier environments, and didn’t like that the charging cases uses microUSB, rather than USB-C.

“There's a lot to like about these earphones,” Carnoy wrote. “They have similar features to higher-end models like the new AirPods Pro, sound decent and cost less.”

Chris Welch, The Verge

Chris Welch of The Verge gave the Echo Buds an 8/10 rating, and was surprised at how good they sounded. He even preferred them to Samsung’s Galaxy Buds and the Jaybird Vista, the latter of which was his previous top pick in this price range. However, he did note that you can’t use touch controls to change the volume—you need to ask Alexa or use your phone—and he was put off by the microUSB port on the case.

“The Echo Buds have exceeded my expectations and definitely warrant some excitement,” he wrote. “Even if you never bother using any of the Alexa functionality, these are worth serious consideration.”

Will Greenwald, PCMag

Will Greenwald of PCMag gave the buds 4 stars out of five, praising the hands-free Alexa control, and noting that you can use it for turn-by-turn directions.  He also really liked the fit of the buds, and while there were weak highs and lows, audio on the whole was clear and balanced. Greenwald wrote that the Buts don’t completely eliminate background noises, but reduce them quite a bit. 

“The Amazon Echo Buds offer more for the price than any other pair of wire-free earphones we've tested, with a comfortable, exceptionally secure fit, hands-free Alexa voice control, and solid active noise reduction for $130.”

Todd Haselton, CNBC

Todd Haselton at CNBC didn’t like the fit as much in his Echo Buds review, and thought that the charging case for the “feels and looks like cheap plastic.” He also noted that the touch controls on the Buds were a bit finicky. Still, he thought the noise reduction worked well, as did the Alexa integration. 

“I think they’re a good option for folks who haven’t bought or don’t care for AirPods,” Haselton wrote. “They’re an especially good option for Android users, maybe even the best option.”

Mike Prospero
U.S. Editor-in-Chief, Tom's Guide

Michael A. Prospero is the U.S. Editor-in-Chief for Tom’s Guide. He oversees all evergreen content and oversees the Homes, Smart Home, and Fitness/Wearables categories for the site. In his spare time, he also tests out the latest drones, electric scooters, and smart home gadgets, such as video doorbells. Before his tenure at Tom's Guide, he was the Reviews Editor for Laptop Magazine, a reporter at Fast Company, the Times of Trenton, and, many eons back, an intern at George magazine. He received his undergraduate degree from Boston College, where he worked on the campus newspaper The Heights, and then attended the Columbia University school of Journalism. When he’s not testing out the latest running watch, electric scooter, or skiing or training for a marathon, he’s probably using the latest sous vide machine, smoker, or pizza oven, to the delight — or chagrin — of his family.