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Old Yesterday, 01:04 PM   #1
OtinG
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Device: Oasis 3, iPhone XR, iPad mini 5, iPad Air 2020, Alexa Devices
A few comments on the new Amazon Echo Buds 2nd generation

There is no really good, specific place to discuss non-eReader devices, so hopefully this thread fits into this forum area.

I purchased a set of new Echo Buds 2nd gen (EB2) during Prime Day. I’m not going to give a full review here, but just a few comments to clarify what they are and how they work in conjunction to other devices. Some of this was not discussed in any of the reviews I read/watched prior to my purchase, but would have been helpful in making the choice to purchase, so hopefully it will give you a fuller picture of what the EB2s really are.

First, let me say the audio sound and fit are great! I'm glad a bought them.

Now to the not so well known information.

The EB2s are perhaps best thought of as an "accessory" rather than a full on Echo "device". This is my terminology, and here is what I mean by it. Notice the difference between an Echo device and the EB2s listed below:

Echo devices such as Echo Plus, Show, Dot, etc.
  • Alexa app required for initial setup and management.
  • Management can be accomplished via any device running the Alexa app as long as it is attached to the same Amazon account as the Echo device.
  • Alexa voice command capability does NOT require a BT connection to a device which has the Alexa app. Echo devices use WiFi to accomplish Alexa voice commands and don't use BT for that purpose.
  • Volume can be controlled by volume buttons on the Echo device, or by asking Alexa to change it.
  • Can assign the wake word to Alexa, Amazon, Echo, or Computer.

Echo Buds 2nd gen accessory
  • Alexa app required for initial setup and management.
  • Management can be accomplished only on the specific device running the Alexa app that was used to initially setup the EB2s.
  • To use Alexa voice commands, the EB2s must be connected to the specific device running the Alexa app that was used to initially setup the EB2s. That device does not need to have the screen turned ON, it can be in sleep mode, nor does the Alexa app need to be open. If the EB2s are not connected to that specific device, Alexa voice commands will NOT work. The EB2s are NOT using WiFi to directly accomplish Alexa commands, instead they require an active BT connection to the initial setup device so that its WiFi can be used to accomplish Alexa commands.
  • Volume can be controlled by volume buttons on the specific device running the Alexa app that was used to initially setup the EB2s, or by asking Alexa to change it. Either way, it requires a connection to that specific device. Also, if you connect the EB2s to a TV or streaming device, volume can be controlled by volume buttons on that device or on its remote.
  • Can not assign a different wake word, you are stuck with Alexa.

Connecting the EB2s to various devices

One last generalized comment about the EB2s. Ironically they seem to be better used within my Apple ecosystem than within my Amazon ecosystem. (I have multiple devices within each of those ecosystems.) I had no issue connecting the EB2s to my iPhone, iPads, Apple TV 4K, or Fire TV Cube 2nd gen. They would not connect to my new Sony Bravia TV, but that turned out to be the fault of Sony as they didn't add the A2DP BT profile to that TV, so it is incapable of connecting to any BT headsets.

BTW, I have high speed, very reliable 200Mbts internet. The Apple TV 4K and Fire TV Cube 2nd gen are both wired ethernet connections. The other devices are using 5G WiFi connections.

Connected to my ATV 4K I am able to directly listen to programming it streams, including listening to Dolby Atmos audio. The EB2s sound terrific with the ATV 4K. The volume is controlled via the ATV 4K remote.

Connected to my Fire TV Cube 2nd gen they were pretty awful. The sound was terrible, muddy, very low volume. And worse, as soon as I switched the audio over to the EB2s the streams would immediately start stuttering and freezing. Bottom line is that they failed to work well enough with the Fire TV Cube to be usable in any meaningful way. The volume is controlled via the Fire TV Cube remote.

Connected to my iPhone and iPad they worked flawlessly. The iOS and iPadOS allows for much better audio setting refinements. I listened to quite a bit of Spatial Audio (via Dolby Atmos) on songs in the Apple Music app and that blew me away. Holy crap it sounds great. I haven't had time to listen to Amazon Music on them via my iPhone and iPad yet, but I assume it will be great too, although I don't know if Amazon Music offers anything like Spatial Audio.

Okay, I hope this helps clarify how the EB2s work and interact with other devices. Again, the audio sound quality is very good. Using them with various devices ranges from great to total fail, but I think that is probably related more to the device design rather than the EB2s.

Last edited by OtinG; Yesterday at 01:53 PM.
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