It really boils down to ecosystem when comparing the two. If you live within the Amazon ecosystem and use Alexa across your home, or you just don’t use Apple products, the Echo Buds are an easy pick. On the other hand, if you live and breathe Apple’s ecosystem, Apple’s AirPods are a nice compliment.
What makes them unique?
Unsurprisingly, both earbuds are similar. For example, both buds feature up to five hours of audio playback on a single charge. They feature the same auto-play/pause functionality when you remove one bud and automatically connect to the last known device when you put at least one bud in your ear. You can choose to use one bud at a time to effectively double your listening time or both simultaneously for stereo audio on both, too.
While the Echo Buds case is relatively small, it is large when comparing it directly to the AirPods case, which is known for being super compact. That’s surprising considering the AirPods case nets you an additional 19 hours of listening time versus the Echo Buds, which only get you 15 hours. Both earbuds have enough battery life to last quite a while and will easily get you throughout your day, but the AirPods net you just a bit more.
The AirPods feature Lightning for wired charging and are wireless charging-capable. While it is proprietary, it’s much better than he Echo Buds, which use the ancient Micro-USB connector for charging and don’t feature wireless charging of any kind.
The Echo Buds offer active noise cancelation (ANC), which is powered by Bose. While the Echo Buds aren’t out yet, it’s safe to assume that the ANC will be superb as Bose is known for having great ANC for some of its most popular headphones. In stark contrast, Apple’s AirPods feature no noise isolation of any sort. In fact, they don’t even have rubber tips to help with passive isolation. The AirPods have mediocre passive isolation at best and let in a ton of environmental noise.
|Amazon Echo Buds||Apple AirPods|
|Bud battery life||5 hours||5 hours|
|Charging case battery life||15 hours||19 hours|
|Digital assistant support||Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri||Siri|
|Wireless charging case||No||Yes|
|Case charging connector||Micro-USB||Lightning|
|Active noise cancelation (ANC)||Yes||No|
Remember the ecosystem thing we talked about? That’s the biggest differentiator between the two buds. Apple’s AirPods integrate super well with Apple devices such as the iPhone, iPad, and Mac. When you first get the AirPods, you simply open the lid near your iOS device and tap the pair button on your screen. Not only will it pair to that specific device, but it’ll automagically pair to all of your devices signed into the same iCloud account. Switching devices is just as easy. You’ll also get hands-free Siri, too. However, their biggest downside is that all that magic disappears when you pair them to a non-Apple device. The AirPods effectively function as a standard Bluetooth headphone at that point.
Unfortunately, Amazon doesn’t make phones or computers so the integration isn’t as seamless, but is still fairly simple. Download the Amazon Echo app on your device (available on both iOS and Android) to get started. You’ll get hands-free Alexa support by simply saying her name (Alexa), and via a tap and hold gesture, you can trigger Google Assistant or Siri depending on what phone you’re using (there’s no hardware gesture to trigger Alexa, unfortunately). You’ll have to manually enter pairing mode if you want to switch devices as well.
At the end of the day, it just depends on which ecosystem you prefer, but the Echo Buds work with more devices than AirPods do.
Alexa all the things
Amazon’s Echo Buds get the fundamentals right with solid battery life, active noise cancelation, and comfort. It’s biggest pitfall is having a Micro-USB port for charging in 2019.
For the Apple enthusiast
Apple all the things
AirPods are by far the most popular truly wireless earbud on the market. Convenience is the reason to get them. That’s if you can deal with the poor noise isolation.
We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.