Echo Buds vs Pixel Buds: Which Wireless Earbuds Are Better in 2023?

Wireless earbuds have become an indispensable tech accessory for many, allowing us to conveniently listen to music and take calls without cables getting in the way. As such, tech giants like Amazon and Google have thrown their hats into the ring to compete with segment leader Apple and its ubiquitous AirPods. But in the clash between two of the most popular true wireless earbuds from these companies – the Amazon Echo Buds and Google Pixel Buds – which comes out on top?

In this in-depth comparison guide, we will analyze how the latest generations of both the Echo Buds and Pixel Buds stack up to help you decide which is the better buy for your needs and budget.

Background and Evolution

Let‘s first take a quick look at the history and journey of these wireless earbuds so far.

Echo Buds

Amazon entered the true wireless earbuds space relatively late with the launch of the 1st generation Echo Buds in October 2019. Priced originally at $129, the Echo Buds offered respectable audio and respectable noise reduction from Bose. However, the real highlight was tight integration with Amazon‘s Alexa voice assistant.

While reviews were generally positive, there was clear room for improvement. Taking feedback on board, Amazon released the 2nd generation Echo Buds in May 2021, priced starting at $119. The updated Echo Buds delivered better comfort, sound quality and Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) in a more compact form factor. This earned it much more favorable reviews, cementing its position as a compelling AirPods alternative.

The 3rd gen Echo Buds with yet more improvements is likely on the horizon for a 2023 release.

Pixel Buds

Google‘s first take on true wireless earbuds came in the form of the original Pixel Buds launched in November 2017. However, hampered by an awkward design with a connecting wire between buds and average sound, it failed to take off amidst strong competition from Apple and others.

Learning from this setback, Google made significant changes with the 2nd generation Pixel Buds in mid 2020 – transforming their design to go completely wireless. This along with great integration with Android devices and Google Assistant gained them newfound popularity. Building on that, the Pixel Buds A-series in 2021 made them more affordable to reach more users.

The latest addition is the premium Pixel Buds Pro in July 2022, focusing on enhanced audio, noise cancellation and battery life. Priced at $199, this shows Google firmly believes it now has a worthy contender even in higher segments.

With their experience so far, Google seems to be hitting their stride with the Pixel Buds lineup lately. Time will tell if they can keep gaining ground on Apple and Amazon.

Design and Comfort

Let‘s kick things off by examining how the Pixel Buds and Echo Buds compare when it comes to their design and ergonomics.

Pixel Buds adopt a fairly conventional true wireless design – a rounded, button-less exterior with silicone ear tips that nestle them securely yet comfortably inside your ears. An oval-shaped charging case rounds off the package. While the shiny white plastic lends them a clean look, the lack of color options may be limiting for some.

Meanwhile, Amazon‘s Echo Buds also feature a minimal in-ear design that comes in both black and white color options. Small onboard controls handle playback and volume. The charging case resembles Apple‘s AirPods case but lined with a textured pattern for added grip.

Where the Echo Buds stand out is providing extra fit accessories right out of the box. You get four extra ear tip sizes and two wing tip sizes for finding your ideal fit combination – great for comfort and noise isolation. There‘s also an ear tip fit test you can run for checking seal quality. Overall, most users found they could adjust the Echo Buds to sit more snugly and stably than the Pixel Buds.

So in terms of ergonomics comfort and stability, the Echo Buds edge out the Pixel Buds. But for those who prefer a glossier look, the Pixel Buds retain charm.

Battery Life

Battery life is crucial for true wireless earbuds to last through your day uninterrupted. So let‘s see how the two brands compare on this vital aspect.

The 2nd gen Echo Buds deliver a decent 5 hours of listening per charge with two extra top-ups from the charging case adding to 15 hours total – enough for average daily needs. Plus they recharge fully in about 2 hours.

Meanwhile, the Pixel Buds Pro blow away the competition with a mammoth 11 hours listening time per charge and an additional 20 hours from their case! That makes for over 31 hours total playtime, letting you go days without plugging them in. Expect around 2 hours for a full recharge as well. Even the more affordable Pixel Buds A-Series manage 7 hours standalone or 31 hours total thanks to their large case.

Clearly, with their marathon-ready battery life across models, Google‘s Pixel Buds dominate the Echo Buds by a huge margin in the battery department. For those who value enduring power over long flights or trips outdoors, Pixel Buds make sure you aren‘t left music-less!

Sound Quality and Noise Cancellation

Now for the part that matters most – how excellent and immersive is the audio experience you can expect from these wireless buds? And what about drowning out noise around you?

The standard Pixel Buds and Pixel Buds A-Series feature 12mm dynamic speaker drivers powering their audio output. The sound quality delivered is pleasing overall – plenty loud with punchy bass, clear mids and crisp highs. Not overly rich but has a nice balanced profile suited for genres like pop and rock. Passive noise isolation also helps block ambient noise decently. But there‘s scope for more depth and texture to the sound.

Upgrading to the Pixel Buds Pro gets you custom-designed 11mm speaker drivers and active noise cancelling (ANC) for superior audio and noise reduction capabilities. Bass feels tighter and the soundstage wider, letting you perceive more detail and instrumental separation. Active noise cancelling is also effective – it can mute up to twice as much external noise as the standard Pixel Buds according to Google. But for their premium pricing, some felt the improvements still didn‘t meet expectations for audio connoisseurs.

Amazon Echo Buds 2 meanwhile packs in premium speakers with a tweeter and dynamic driver in each earbud. Combined with their sealed design and ANC, the sound output feels pleasingly balanced with emphasized lows, clear mids and crisp highs – great for popular genres. ANC also reduces twice as much noise as their 1st gen predecessor as per Amazon – enough to dampen drones of traffic or the low hum of a plane‘s engine significantly. There‘s also a Bass Boost mode for thumping low-end when you want it. And the companion app lets you take a hearing assessment for customized sound balancing to suit your ears. All in all, audio quality here handily outshines expectations for the sub $150 price range.

So in terms of audio and noise reduction muscle, the latest Echo Buds prove extremely formidable – beating even premium true wireless earbuds costing way more in some areas while keeping costs low. The Pixel Buds and Pixel Buds Pro deliver capable audio too but aren‘t game-changers relative to their price bracket. This round is another win for Amazon.

Features and Compatibility

Beyond core functionality, various extra features also influence which buds will work optimally with your devices. Let‘s break down how the Echo Buds and Pixel Buds compare here:

Starting with smart assistants – The Echo Buds offer full native support for Amazon Alexa. That lets you ask Alexa questions, get news updates, set reminders, control smart home devices and more totally hands-free. Similarly, the Pixel Buds lineup works great with the Google Assistant for voice commands via integrated mics. So if you‘re used to either, the respective earbuds make using your preferred assistant easier on the go.

For calling, both lines utilize beamforming mics that make speech transmission louder and clearer. Sidetone allows you to hear your own voice on calls too. The Echo Buds edge things out slightly with their extra mic for improved background noise reduction so calls sound crisper from noisier locales. But both get the job done well overall for voice calls and video chats via connected phones.

Now for OS and device support – a crucial differentiating factor. The Pixel Buds unsurprisingly connect best with Android devices, offering seamless Bluetooth pairing and neat touches like showing nearby Pixel Bud controls within Android‘s Quick Settings tray. But they lack any deeper iPhone or iOS integration beyond basic functionality.

Echo Buds however exhibit broader cross-platform support. They also pair seamlessly with Android phones but additionally work great for iPhone owners via the Alexa app. So iPhone users can enjoy enhanced Alexa access too. This gives Echo Buds an edge for those with mixed device environments or who often switch between OSes.

For extra functionality, the Pixel Buds have one nifty highlight – real-time language translation. Via the Google Translate app, the earbuds can listen to and translate speech in over 40 languages almost instantly as you have a conversation in person. It‘s handy for travelers or when meeting foreigners. Alas Echo Buds lack any such feature.

Finally, the Echo Buds edge out on connection flexibility – their multipoint Bluetooth support lets you pair them simultaneously with two devices like phone and laptop. You can then seamlessly switch playback between sources without re-pairing. The Pixel Buds still don‘t offer similar multipoint capabilities sadly.

Verdict: Echo Buds Are the Overall Winner

Taking stock of all the critical metrics and test results above, I would declare the Amazon Echo Buds the winner in this head-to-head matchup. Here‘s a quick recap of my findings:

  • Design and ergonomics – Echo Buds offer more fit customization for ideal comfort. Pixel Buds have a nicer aesthetic for some
  • Battery life – Pixel Buds devices last way longer (up to 31 hours total)
  • Audio quality and noise cancellation – Echo Buds sound fantastic and block noise very well at their price
  • Features – Pixel Buds enable real-time language translation but Echo Buds support multipoint connections

Therefore, between the two current 2nd gen models, the Echo Buds beat out the Pixel Buds A-series and standard Pixel Buds as an overall package. Competing models like the Pixel Buds Pro may close the gap with advantages like longer battery life. But Echo Buds counter with far cheaper pricing and surprising sound prowess. Their wider compatibility is also a practical benefit.

That said, hardcore Android users will still find Pixel Buds models a compelling option with deeper device integration. And for frequent travelers, real-time translation could be a hugely convenient feature. So they remain excellent alternatives, especially if you can grab them on sale.

But for budget-minded buyers or those with an assortment of Apple/Android gadgets, I can easily recommend the Echo Buds as a versatile choice that punches far above their price tag! Their next-gen successor promises to extend that even further.

So there you have it – an in-depth feature face-off verdict on Echo Buds versus Pixel Buds! Hopefully the detailed comparison above helps you decide which you find the superior option for your personal needs and preferences.

Whichever you go with, both Amazon and Google will likely build on these lines towards true wireless domination alongside Apple. We‘ll be keeping track of further developments in 2023 and beyond – so stay tuned!

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