Wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation (ANC) are convenient. Not so great: pricing. AirPods Pro sell for $250; Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro for $200; Master & Dynamic MW08 go for $300. That’s a lot of moolah. Amazon’s ANC Echo Buds 2 are way more affordable: only $120 ($140 with wireless charging).
The Echo Buds 2 improves on the first-gen Echo Buds in every way and not just on price. The buds are sleeker and 20 percent smaller; the charging case is 40 percent smaller and supports wireless charging (optional); and there’s real ANC now (OG only had active noise-reduction).
The ANC blocks out more noise than the passive ANR on the OG Echo Buds and about as much outside sounds as ANC on AirPods Pro and Galaxy Buds Pro. I have one minor complaint and that is with Passthrough (Amazon’s ambient / transparency) mode; there’s an audible white noise hiss when it’s turned on, which can be distracting. But it’s not the end of the world. You can adjust Passthrough ambient sound in the Alexa app, but the hiss is still there.
Each earbud has responsive touch controls for controlling music: single tap (play/pause), double tap (next track/answer or end call, triple tap (previous track). A long press turns on ANC/Passthrough, but you can customize it in the Alexa app to adjust volume, use another assistant (Siri or Google Assistant), and a few more other options. There’s also hands-free “Hey Alexa” voice commands to play music, set timers, get info, and control my smart lights — it’s really handy.
The non-basic Echo Buds 2 has a charging case that works with any Qi wireless charger. Anker makes one called PowerWave 5W for $18. The battery LED indicators are helpful. It also wirelessly charges phones but at a really slow 5W.
Starting at $120, the Echo Buds 2 are a shockingly great value for ANC earbuds. The design of the buds and case are major upgrades over the original buds and Amazon didn’t scrimp on features. Unless you’re after longer battery life or direct integration with an iPhone or Galaxy phone, it’s getting harder to justify paying more for other ANC buds. The Echo Buds 2 are legit.