I’m a long-time fan of AirPods but when Amazon announced Echo Buds I bought a pair because Alexa, Bose Active Noise Reduction, and price. I sometimes lose my AirPods and one pair hardly holds a charge anymore.
I use my AirPods for talking on the phone and listening while I bike and run. I loved it when they added Siri because it opened up more commands than just tapping on the AirPods. But, like most people I know, I prefer Alexa.
If you check the Echo Buds reviews on Amazon, you’ll see they are all over the place.
To me the 5-star reviews felt exaggerated. I’ve discovered two critical things I didn’t read in any reviews, on Amazon or off:
• You can’t use them for running. They fit tightly in your ear and with every footstrike, you get a pounding sound via bone conduction. It’s the opposite of noise reduction. I had trouble understanding my podcast when running so I quickly gave up. Hiking is fine unless going downhill you get into hard footstrikes. I never have this problem with AirPods.
• You can’t use them for biking. By 10 mph, the roar of wind rushing by your ear is loud. I don’t have this with AirPods.
That removed 50% of what I use AirPods for. Here goes another 20%:
I don’t use them for phone calls. The sound is just not good enough on the receiving end compared to AirPods, say the people I regularly call. The physicist in me thinks it’s because AirPods have that descending tube of a microphone pointing at your mouth that, like a shotgun mic, can provide very directional sound that doesn’t pick up sound coming from the side or above.
Aaaannnndddd… I don’t use them when I’m eating. When you chew, the noise gets amplified like there’s a helicopter overhead.
And yet I prefer them to AirPods for some things, despite how incredibly annoying they can be. Ironically, I’m listening to music with them while I write this. More next post.