Amazon’s push into electronics has come with a big push to lower pricing, and when it comes to active noise cancellation it’s the Echo Buds that are trying to democratize the tech. The new, second-generation earbuds are 20-percent smaller than their predecessors, and come with a smaller charging case too. That now uses USB-C or – for a little extra – Qi wireless to recharge.
On the ANC front, Amazon says the new Echo Buds will isolate you from twice as much background noise as the first-gen earbuds. You can switch to transparency mode, too, to hear more of the outside world. For music, there are tap controls on each earbud, and if you pop one out then the music playback will automatically pause.
Always-on Alexa means you can trigger the Amazon assistant with a voice command, just like with an Echo smart speaker. Along with all the usual features, there are some earbud-specific commands too. With the non-wireless case they’re $99.99, while the Echo Buds (2nd Gen) with the Qi charging case are $129.99.