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Amazon sells these impressive earbuds for $50. Here's why I like them

Amazon's latest Echo Buds offer built-in Alexa, fantastic sound quality, and a slew of audio functions.
Written by Jada Jones, Associate Editor
A photo of a person holding Amazon Echo buds
Jada Jones/ZDNET

If you ask me, true wireless earbuds are one of the best bits of tech to come out of the last decade, delivering the same features found in over-ear and on-ear headphones in a more compact, pocketable design. But finding a decent pair of true wireless earbuds on a budget can be challenging, not because there aren't any options, but because not all of them are great.

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Recently, Amazon released its newest generation of Echo Buds, equipped with its smart assistant, Alexa, and some other fun features. That's a pretty sweet deal on paper, but how do they fare with real-world testing? Let's find out.

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Design and comfort

The new Echo Buds come in Black and Glacier White. They're fitted with the standard earbuds charging case that opens like a ring box and is adorned with the signature Amazon arrow smile.

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For hard plastic earbuds, the Echo Buds are surprisingly comfortable for long-term wear. A thin silicone tip covers the bud and helps cushion your ear. Amazon says changing the silicon tips can help the buds stay snug in your ear, but Echo Buds can be worn without the tips. I chose to take the silicon tips off.


For a $50 pair of earbuds, the Echo Buds sound fantastic. They don't distort my audio at high volumes, and a 12mm driver helps bass sound deep without getting crunchy. I was impressed with the sound quality and recommend these to anyone looking for the best audio performance in this price range.

What's not as surprising is the lack of noise-canceling properties, though the Echo Buds do a fair job of keeping outside noise out at higher volumes. That goes with most earbuds, sure, but the lack of distortion, as I mentioned before, makes this more notable. 

Also: Cheap noise-canceling earbuds are getting good. This $60 pair proves it

And, if you think about it, you can better hear your surroundings at lower volumes, making the Echo Buds perfect for riding on public transportation or working in the office.

A photo of a person holding Amazon Echo buds
Jada Jones/ZDNET

I listened to the Echo Buds for about four hours while working at my desk. After lunch, I got another hour and a half of listening until they needed a charge. Amazon claims that a 15-minute charge gets you another two hours of listening time, but I got closer to an hour and a half.

Whenever I test earbuds and headphones, I call my close friends and family and subject them to my microphone reviewing process. For the Echo Buds, I didn't hear any complaints of my voice sounding muffled, far away, or like I was underwater, which was a great sign.

Alexa capabilities

In my opinion, the Alexa integration is the most exciting aspect of these earbuds. Alexa, Amazon's voice assistant, is integrated into the Echo Buds and can create reminders, set alarms, create shopping lists, learn your routines, and hold you accountable for your workout regime.

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Connecting your Echo Buds to Alexa-supported devices is incredibly easy and convenient. An Amazon account with all of your products synced together is all that's needed.

Bottom line

There's one aspect I did not enjoy about Echo Buds, or that I couldn't bear, even with the forgivable $50 price tag, and it's how you're forced to download the companion app in order for the earbuds to work. My disdain for an extra app to control my earbuds is why I tend to stick with Apple AirPods to pair with my iPhone and MacBook, and other users may not want another app to keep track of things.

But, again, for a $50 pair of earbuds, the Amazon Echo Buds sound great and have most of the smart home features you'd find on more expensive offerings. They're sweat-resistant, comfortable, and have a battery life comparable to earbuds twice the price.

The Echo Buds could make a nice gift for a responsible pre-teen or an adult looking for headphones for leisure and work purposes. They're even better for someone with multiple Amazon devices at home or in the office because the app itself is too all-encompassing for only one pair of earbuds.

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