Amazon's latest Echo Buds get new features including tap-to-start playlists

Billy Steele/Engadget

Amazon’s Echo Buds just got a spate of new features via a software update, though most of these tools are only available for the recently-released 2023 lineup of earbuds. First up, you can now tap the earbuds to start a recommended playlist, so you don’t need to fumble with your phone to launch a playlist or even speak out loud to ask Alexa for help. It’s all in the tap.

You can launch playlists via one triple tap or a single long press, which is adjusted via the settings in the associated Alexa app. It looks like this feature works with all of the major streaming platforms, as Amazon says it accesses “your preferred audio provider” to find the playlist. Just look for “Tap Controls” in the Echo Buds device settings to get started.

There’s also a new audio personalization tool that lets you tailor the sound to better integrate with your physical environment and the content you're consuming. For instance, you can tune the frequencies to accentuate the bass during a walk, to provide a fuller sound. The company lists other examples where this feature comes in handy, including watching movies on a laptop. This could actually be quite handy, as all sound sources are not created equal.

Again, head to the Echo Buds device settings via the Alexa app and look for the audio personalization options. You can even adjust each ear independently of one another, so your right ear can be louder or offer a different range of frequencies than the left ear. Amazon says the setup process here takes around four minutes. It’s also worth noting that this feature is available for both 2023’s model and 2021’s second-gen Echo Buds.