Amazon unveils second-gen Echo Buds with improved ANC, better design, wireless charging

Amazon has announced a new set of Echo Buds that come with improved active noise cancellation, a smaller design, and (of course) better sound quality. The new earbuds will retail starting at $119.99, or $99.99 for a limited time. They’ll ship in two colors: Black and Glacier White.

According to Amazon, the new Echo Buds are 20 percent smaller than the previous generation and have a smaller nozzle so they don’t go as far into your ear canal. The buds sit flush in your ear and boast built-in vents to reduce ear pressure during use.

In terms of sound, the new Echo Buds deliver “balanced sound with extended dynamic range—so you get the most out of your music, regardless of genre,” according to the company.

Improved active noise cancellation (ANC) is also here, with the buds able to cancel twice as much noise as before. The tech is powered by inner and outer microphones to “intelligently estimate sound pressure in your eardrum—which directly correlates to how you hear sound around you—to generate the inverse of that signal and cancel out unwanted noise, helping you stay immersed in your audio.”

You can turn ANC on whenever you’d like b pressing and holding either Echo Bud or by saying “Alexa, turn on noise cancellation.” The earbuds also come with a passthrough mode so you can listen to your surroundings using the same methods.

Speaking of which, the Echo Buds are powered by Amazon Alexa, and you can ask it virtually any question you’d ask an Echo smart speaker. Playing music, checking your calendar, finding the nearest COVID-19 testing site, and more are all possible with your voice.

You can also ask Alexa to find your Echo Buds if you’ve misplaced them. There’s also a button inside the accompanying app that lets you do the same thing. It’ll play a chime through the buds loud enough for you to hear it.

As far as battery life goes, Amazon says the Echo Buds can last up to five hours on a full charge. The case that comes with the buds can hold an additional two charges, giving you up to 15 hours of usage before they completely die. Amazon will sell two versions of the case for Echo Buds: one with a USB-C port and one with both USB-C and wireless charging.

The USB-C version of the Echo Buds will be $119.99 while the wireless charging version will be $139.99. For a limited time, you can get the wireless charging version for $119.99. The second-gen Echo Buds begin shipping in the US this May.