Amazon Echo Buds Review: Alexa Is Ready for Your Ears

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Amazon Echo Buds Review: Alexa Is Ready for Your Ears

Alexa’s grown wings, and they’re an inch from your eardrums.

The first time I tried the Echo Buds, I took them on my morning run. The Echo Dot in my bedroom told me it was colder than usual when reading my morning news. I slipped on some thick black gloves before I put in the earbuds. Ten steps into my run I realized I forgot to cue up my Discover Weekly playlist. I started to pull off my gloves and dig my phone out of my armband, but quickly realized I didn’t have to put myself through such hassle. I just asked Alexa and 5 seconds later, I was off to the races. Pretty slick, Bezos.

The Echo Buds help Amazon’s popular voice assistant bridge a small gap—the few feet between a smartphone and your ears. But in terms of accessibility, the tech giant’s first wirefree headphones feel like they’re leaping the Grand Canyon. Alexa can now come alive anywhere and rack its digital brain for anything you need.

Those who aren’t already hogtied to Amazon’s ecosystem might not be as enticed by the siren song of handsfree calling, playlist picking, and instant BBC news updates. Still, they’re surprisingly adequate $130 completely wireless earbuds, and that’s impressive given how many amazing wirefree buds there are to choose from right now.

Photograph: Amazon

I ran numerous sweat-basted miles without the earfins installed, and was impressed with their stability. If I were running a marathon, I might attach the fins (also called wings or wingtips), but they’re not usually needed. That’s good, because they take forever to strap on, and it’s tough to tell which direction they’re supposed to point.

The Echo Buds also auto-pause music when you take them out of your ears. I’ve realized that this is the only real non-verbal control I consider vital. And in terms of battery life, they only get five hours on a charge, which is a few hours less than many new sets. Then again, I haven’t listened to music for more than five hours uninterrupted in months, and I literally review headphones for a living. Have you?

Privacy fans (now, sadly, a subgroup of people) will like that you can turn the microphones off, so that Alexa will stop listening for its name. But there may not be any point. There’s an Alexa-enabled speaker in my b

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