Amazon's earbuds are good for the price. They sound decent and have a fine feature set along with a unique design that allows you to hear your surroundings. They can get a bit uncomfortable after a while, but there are always going to be compromises with earbuds this cheap.
Good features for the price
Somewhat awkward floating earbud design
Doesn’t include a USB-C cable
Sound is light on bass
Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.
The Amazon Echo Buds (2023) are the kind of product about which the phrase “for the price” will get tossed around quite a lot. They’re not going to compete with many of the best wireless earbuds, which often cost significantly more, but they’re worthy of consideration as one of the best budget wireless earbuds, especially since they offer a lot of features and attempt to do something a little different in terms of design.
Without the price consideration, these earbuds are somewhat of a mixed bag and take some getting used to. But if you’re on a budget, you’ll learn to appreciate most of their quirks. Either way, at least Amazon didn’t just rebrand some knock-off earbuds and sell them on the cheap. The Echo Buds (2023) are unique in more than one way as I’ll discuss.
On the surface, the Amazon Echo Buds (2023) have the AirPods-adjacent look of many cheaper brands, complete with stem to stabilize its fit. But unlike AirPods, they come in a matte finish, whether you get the black or white version. It’s really when wearing them that it becomes clear these are a bit different.
Instead of fitting in the ear canal like most earbuds, Amazon's earbud is intentionally a little bigger so it can fit in the outer ear while resting above the ear canal. This is done so the Echo Buds don’t have to include an ambient or transparency mode – a feature that lets you hear outside environmental noises like airport announcements and passing cars, or even carry on a conversation while using earbuds – yet offer the benefits of one.
With this raised fit, you’re still hearing that environmental noise, but it’s due to that physical floating design. Of course, that means you can’t really turn it off and the only way to drown out outside noise is to turn up the volume.
While this is an interesting take and one that will appeal to some people looking for budget-friendly earbuds that allow for environmental noise to come in, it does result in an awkward fit as the outer ears are tasked with supporting the earbuds, which are admittedly light at 5 grams each. Though my ears typically don’t tire from longer listening sessions with earbuds such as the Jabra Elite 7 Pro, which have a firm and comfy fit, they do with these earbuds. After just one hour of use, my outer ears started to ache.
Outside of the fit, there’s not a lot about the design of the Amazon Echo Buds (2023) that raises any eyebrows. They come in a square charging case equipped with a USB-C port (though for some reason Amazon decided not to include an actual USB-C cable) and an additional pair of rubber eartips.
There’s a little more going on here when it comes to features. In fact, if there’s one place that the Amazon Echo Buds (2023) beat other earbuds under $50, it’s that they have a good feature set, even if there’s no noise cancellation (active or passive). They offer multipoint connectivity, hands-free Alexa voice support (and tap-to-access for other voice assistants), and accurate in-ear detection.
Plus, there’s more fine-tuning available through the Alexa app such as a three-band EQ (which admittedly is not particularly powerful), some limited ability to reprogram the capacitive controls on either earbud, and the ability to turn on and adjust the volume of sidetone during calls. Beyond the app, there are some Amazon / Alexa-related features on hand that you can use in conjunction with Fire TV devices and Echo speakers.
When it comes to sound quality, the Amazon Echo Buds (2023) are pretty good for what they are. They’re not going to have the detail or clarity of more expensive options, but they’re enjoyable to listen to once you get used to them.
The high-end isn’t too bright or too veiled, sitting in a nice happy medium space. The mid-range is a bit boosted – the opposite of what I would expect with cheaper earbuds – so that specific audio range sounds nice and full. However, because of how full the mid-range is, there’s not a lot of headroom, with the result that Amazon's earbuds sound a bit compressed and two-dimensional.
The low-end is also bit on the light side. You won’t get much rumble, but bass is present enough to keep the sound from being too thin. The soundstage is decent but not especially wide, though I doubt anyone getting these are going to find much issue there.
Surprisingly, call quality is not too bad on the Amazon Echo Buds (2023). Their sound is a bit hollow, but clear enough that they don’t make you sound far away the way many earbuds do when on a call. They also don’t do much to offset background noise, but that’s not surprising.
The best word to describe the battery life is adequate as the earbuds can last up to six hours with the Alexa wake word off and five with it on, and they can run a total of 20 hours with the charging case. That performance is on par with Amazon's older Echo Buds models, though many earbuds these days manage to get to eight or nine hours on a single charge. At least there’s fast-charging on hand where 15 minutes gives you an additional two hours of use.
Amazon Echo Buds (2023) Price & release date
- Released June 2023
- $49.99 / about £38.48 / about AU$73.44
The Amazon Echo Buds (2023) have been out since June of 2023 and appear to be available only in the US at the time of writing. But that will presumably change as Amazon is a global brand and this is an in-house product. (We reached out to Amazon and they had no comment about global availability.)
While its price in the UK and Australia is currently uncertain, it’s sure to be as affordable as it is stateside where it has an official price of $49.99. And, as with all things Amazon, it has already spent half of its first month available on sale.
Whether you pay full price or get the Amazon Echo Buds (2023) at a discount, they are a steal. These are impressive, by and large, because of that price tag, which makes them similar to the JLab Go Air Pop, which go for $20 / £20 / AU$49.95 and are outsized performers for their price. Of course, the Echo Buds are a bit more fully featured with voice assistant support and multipoint connectivity, so that extra $20 does bring additional benefits.
If budget is not really that much a concern, earbuds at around the $100 / £100 mark, like the Sony WF-C700N, are going to be a superior overall option. In the case of Sony's earbuds, which go for $119 / £99 / AU$199, the sound and fit will be better, and it will have an ambient / transparency mode.
Amazon Echo Buds (2023): Specs
|Active noise cancellation||No|
|Battery life||6 hours (buds) 20 hours total (with case)|
|Weight||5g per earbud|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 5.2, USB-C|
|Frequency range||20Hz - 20kHz|
|Other features||Alexa app, multipoint connectivity, Hands-free Alexa, Tap-to-access Voice Assistant|
Should you buy the Amazon Echo Buds (2023)?
|Features||While there are a lot of compromises, the Amazon Echo Buds (2023) have a good feature set for the price.||5 / 5|
|Sound quality||They’re not the most three dimensional sounding earbuds, but they sound pretty good for the price.||4 / 5|
|Design||The floating earbud design is love-it-or-hate-it, and they are not the most comfortable earbuds.||4 / 5|
|Value||Decent sound, decent feature set, and a somewhat unique design are made better by the very low price.||4 / 5|
Buy them if...
You’re on a budget
While the Amazon Echo Buds (2023) make a lot of compromises to achieve their price point, they offer a lot of value.
You want a decent feature set
For budget earbuds, there are plenty of features on hand including unique ones for the Alexa ecosystem as well as ones like multipoint connectivity that you don’t find on other budget options.
Don't buy them if...
You need active noise cancellation
The floating earbud design, while a nice alternative to an ambient mode, eliminates the possibility for any kind of noise cancellation. If you need active noise cancellation, look elsewhere.
You want detailed sound
While these earbuds sound pretty good for the price, they’re not going to give you immersive audio. They sound slightly compressed, which affects the dynamic range and makes the presentation a little two-dimensional.
Amazon Echo Buds (2023): Also consider
|Amazon Echo Buds (2023)||JLab Go Air Pop||Sony WF-C700N|
|Price||$49.99 / about £38.48 / about AU$73.44||$20 / £20 / AU$49.95||$119 / £99 / AU$199|
|Drivers||12mm dynamic||6mm dynamic||5mm dynamic|
|Active noise cancellation||No||No||Yes|
|Quoted battery life||6hrs, 20 hrs including case||8hrs, 32hrs including case||7.5hrs (ANC on) 10hrs (ANC off) plus one full charge in case|
|Weight||4.2g per earbud||3.9g per earbud||4.2g per earbud|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 5.2, USB-C||Bluetooth 5.1, USB (SBC)||Bluetooth 5.2, USB-C (SBC, AAC)|
|Frequency range||20Hz - 20kHz||20Hz - 20kHz||20Hz - 20kHz|
|Waterproofing||Yes, IPX2||Yes, IPX4||Yes, IPX4|
|Other features||Alexa app, multipoint connectivity, Hands-free Alexa, Tap-to-access Voice Assistant||Multipoint connectivity, on-ear EQ||Sony 360 Reality Audio|
JLab Go Air Pop
The JLab Go Air Pop have become the definition of “good for the price” when it comes to earbuds. They sound pretty good, are lightweight and comfortable, and cost the equivalent of dinner for one at the Cheesecake Factory.
Read our full JLab Go Air Pop review
If you’re on a budget but want detailed, immersive sound and a comfortable, secure fit, then consider the Sony WF-C700N. Plus, they come with active noise cancellation, something you won’t find with many budget options.
Read our full Sony WF-C700N review
How I tested the Amazon Echo Buds (2023)
- Tested over a few weeks
- Tested with different music as well as video streaming
- Most relevant features explored
I spent a few weeks using the Amazon Echo Buds (2023) as my daily earbuds. While using them, I listened to all sorts of music genres from electronic and hip hop to rock and acoustic to evaluate the frequency range and soundstage.
In the process of testing, I checked out the various features in the Alexa app as well as ones like multipoint connectivity. The only features that weren’t tested were the ones that required an Amazon Fire TV or Echo device.
I’ve spent the last few years reviewing audio equipment and have spent even longer using my critical ear as a listener and musician to understand what does and doesn’t sound good.
First reviewed July 2023
James Holland loves audio gear! So much so that he covers all the ins and outs, good and bad for Tech Radar and T3. Where does that so-called expertise come from? Not only is he a lifelong music-lover but he also works in the music industry and is a musician. When not testing headphones or listening to music, he loves to travel, rage at the latest PC games, and eat off-the-beaten-path but not too off-the-beaten-path food.