When you think of wireless earbuds, Apple AirPods easily come to mind. Apple wasn’t the first to create the technology, and they certainly aren’t the last. However, they were the first to revolutionize the wireless earbud concept, putting out a sleek, elegant product in the form of the first-generation AirPods in 2016. Since then, other brands have emerged, even as Apple continues to upgrade its product lineup, setting the stage for Echo Buds vs AirPods Pro debate.
Amazon‘s answer to the AirPods, the Echo Buds combine what we know about the Echo brand name — namely Alexa integration into smart speaker technology — with what we know about wireless earbuds to create a solid Apple competitor. Because Amazon doesn’t have anything to compete with the iPhone or the Mac, these obvious AirPods competitors are worth examining in-depth compared to the AirPods Pro. Let’s dive in with the ultimate goal of determining which wireless earbuds are best: Echo Buds vs AirPods Pro.
Side by Side Comparison: Echo Buds vs AirPods Pro
|Echo Buds||AirPods Pro|
|Release Date||October 30th, 2019||October 30th, 2019|
|Latest Release||Echo Buds (2nd Gen)||AirPods Pro (2nd Gen)|
|Price||$120 (standard case)|
$140 (wireless charging case)
|Battery Life||5 hrs/20 hrs (1st Gen Buds and case)|
4.5 hrs/20 hrs (2nd Gen Buds and case)
|5 hrs/24 hrs (1st Gen Pros and case)|
6 hrs/30 hrs (2nd Gen Pros and case)
5 Must-Know Facts About Wireless Earbuds
- In addition to the AirPods Pro, Apple also offers the base model AirPods and the over-the-ear headphones AirPods Max.
- The Echo Buds are available in different colors, while the AirPods Pro only comes in white.
- The first-generation Echo Buds had Bose noise cancelation technology, but the second-gens dropped this tech.
- The Echo Buds second generation lost 30 minutes of battery life, while the second generation AirPods Pro gained an hour of battery life (with an additional six including the charging case).
- While the Echo Buds were released on the same day as the AirPods Pro, the base model AirPods pre-date the Buds by three years.
Echo Buds vs AirPods Pro: Key Differences
Amazon‘s Echo Buds and Apple‘s AirPods Pro are incredibly close competitors. Both are gunning for the top spot on the wireless earbuds sales charts. Both come from tech giants with important legacies to maintain — legacies of innovative, cutting-edge tech with millions of dollars poured into research and development. With this in mind, what exactly distinguishes these two wireless earbud competitors? From design to charge time to other products in the family, these are the key differences between the Echo Buds vs AirPods Pro.
The first-generation Echo Buds look somewhat similar to the AirPods, but their color options, clamshell case, and O-shaped Buds are enough to set them apart. They also differ from the standard AirPods look, shortening the signature stem and adding silicone buds with three different-sized tips. The Pro case is also unique compared to the AirPods base model case, elongating and shortening it height-wise.
The second-generation Echo Buds once again shake things up aesthetically. Amazon took this generational update to inch the Buds case even closer to the Apple design, copying the look and function of the charging case practically to a T. The Buds retain their O-shape, keeping them visually distinct from the AirPods Pro look, so it’s not a complete and total rip-off. Still, the case is a pretty blatant move on Amazon’s part.
Perhaps the most important feature of any wireless earbuds is the amount of charge time you get out of the device, including the accompanying charging case. Much like the aesthetic design of the Echo Buds and the AirPods Pro, both have similar charge times. The first-generation Echo Buds and the first-generation AirPods Pro have a total listening time of five hours per charge. The first-gen Buds case gives 20 hours of listening, while the first-gen Pros give 24 hours total.
When looking at the second-generation Echo Buds and AirPods Pro, you’ll notice some additions and subtractions. The second-gen Echo Buds lose 30 minutes of listening time and retain their 20 hours total per case. The second-gen AirPods Pro, on the other hand, adds an hour of listening time and increases the total charge per case to 30 hours. This is a clear advantage on the AirPods Pro’s part and a major flaw on the Echo Buds’ part. The latter received enough battery criticism with their first go-round, and to take another 30 minutes off of the already paltry five hours is not a good look.
Neither the Echo brand name nor the Apple AirPods name is exclusive to the Echo Buds nor the AirPods Pro. Amazon and Apple have unique product suites in addition to the Buds and the Pros. Besides the Buds, there’s also the Echo base model smart speaker, Echo Dot, Echo Tap, Echo Look camera, the Echo Show smart display, and several other offerings.
The AirPods tell a similar story, though not nearly as vast as the Echo. In addition to the AirPods Pro (generations one and two), Apple has three generations of the AirPods base model and one generation of the AirPods Max. To date, Amazon has yet to release a competitor for the AirPods Max. These over-the-ear headphones are wireless like the AirPods, but they forgo the buds for an over-the-ear design with far larger speakers. The AirPods Max also has a digital crown on the side and comes in several different colors, as well.
The History of Echo Buds
Amazon released the Echo Buds in October 2019 in response to Apple‘s AirPods. In an attempt to lure over some Apple loyalists, Amazon threw out two recognizable names within the announcement of these first-gen Echo Buds: Alexa and Bose. These Amazon-branded wireless earbuds were equipped with Alexa integrations and Bose noise-canceling technology. The Echo Buds shared the same release date as the first-generation AirPods Pro, only further illuminating the very obvious intention of the Echo Buds to pull wireless earbuds customers over from Apple.
The first-generation Echo Buds also boasted three microphones in each bud for phone calls and optimal Alexa responsiveness. The first-gen Buds also contained several sensors. These sensors responded to tap gestures and removal from the ear. Double-tapping turned Bose noise cancelation on or off. Tap and hold brought up Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant. Removing the buds paused whatever you were listening to. The first-gen Echo Buds had five hours of listening time and 20 hours with the clamshell charging case.
The second generation Echo Buds — released in May of 2021 — saw a complete aesthetic redesign. Whereas the first-gens were merely similar to AirPods in function and not necessarily style, the case for the second-gen Buds forgo all nuance. It looks nearly identical to the AirPods case, with a green charging light. The second-gen Buds are still somewhat distinct, lacking the AirPod’s P-shape and more closely resembling an O-shape. The second-gen Buds also did away with Bose noise cancelation and dropped charge time to 4.5 hours while keeping the 20-hour charge with the case.
Evolution of AirPods
- Active Noise Cancellation
- Transparency mode for hearing and interacting with the world
- Spatial audio with dynamic head tracking
- Adaptive EQ automatically tunes the music to your ears
First released in December 2016, Apple’s AirPods have a much more illustrious history. While there are three generations of the AirPods base model, the AirPods Pro only has two thus far. The first-generation AirPods Pro was released in October 2019, the same day the first-generation Echo Buds debuted. They included all the features of the base model AirPods: a background noise-filtering mic, optical sensors and accelerometers to detect tap gestures, and automatic pausing. That’s not all, though.
The Pros also came with a suite of exclusive new features, including Dolby Atmos Spatial Audio for improved listening and active noise cancelation. Customers also received custom tips for more comfortable listening. The Pros had a battery life of five hours. Naturally, these new Pro features drove the price tag from $159 for the base model to $249 for the Pros. They served as Apple’s top-of-the-line wireless earbuds until the release of the second-generation Pros in September of 2022.
The second-generation AirPods Pro features an updated chip, swapping the H1 chip with an H2, and improved Bluetooth 5.3. With these buts, you get an additional hour of listening time per charge and an extra six with the case. They also bump the number of custom tips from three to four and double the capabilities of the active noise cancelation feature. Second-gen AirPod Pros go for $249, the same as the first.
Pros and Cons of Echo Buds vs AirPods Pro
|Pros of Echo Buds||Cons of Echo Buds|
|Cheaper in comparison to the AirPods Pro||Worse audio quality than AirPods Pro|
|Different color options to choose from||Noise cancellation is markedly worse after losing the Bose brand name from the first-gens|
|Smaller earbuds with more fit customizations||Lacks the number of features of the AirPods Pro|
|Offers both standard and wireless charging cases to choose from||Worse battery life not just in comparison to the AirPods Pro but also the first-gen Echo Buds|
|Pros of AirPods Pro||Cons of AirPods Pro|
|Combines all the great features of AirPods with new “pro” features like improved fit and noise cancelation||At $249, they’re almost double the price of the Echo Buds|
|Increased battery life over the first-gens and the Echo Buds at 6 hours of listening and 30 hours of total charge per case||EQ and active noise cancelation can’t be adjusted|
|A wider range of touch controls and gestures for the case and earbuds||Not nearly as compatible or functional with non-Apple devices|
|Seamlessly compatible with Apple’s full range of products||Only available in the color white|
Echo Buds vs AirPods Pro: Which Is Best?
In truth, the only reason for a person to opt for the Echo Buds over the AirPods Pro — apart from budgetary restrictions — is if they don’t have an Apple product to pair them with. The AirPods and AirPods Pro don’t work well with Android or other operating systems. The AirPods Pro was made for Apple products, first and foremost. Just look at the number of features exclusive to Apple devices. The Echo Buds are cheaper, come in more colors, and work the same across Android, Apple, and other OSes.
When all is said and done, it seems pretty clear which product deserves to be named the best wireless earbuds between these two competitors. Ultimately, the AirPods Pro carries the day. AirPods Pro triumphs over the Echo Buds in charge time, audio quality, touch controls and elegance. Apple has an excellent product on its hands with the AirPods Pro, and the second generation only solidifies this overall.
Check out the AirPods Pro on Amazon.