Bluetooth: v5.2 | ANC: No | Transparency mode: No | Custom EQ: Yes | Charging port: USB-C | Wireless charging: No | Water resistance: IPX2 | Multipoint connectivity: Yes (2 devices) | Wear detection: Yes | Battery life (estimated): 5 hours, 6 hours with wake word off, 20 hours with box | Fast charging: 15 minutes = 2 hours | Codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX | Warranty: One year

All of our picks so far have been technical headphones, meaning they extend into your ear canal. For some people, this is inherently uncomfortable. Unfortunately, the market for decent but affordable “headphones” that sit on the shell instead of going all the way into your ear is spotty. If you can’t bring yourself to pay for a a pair of AirPodshowever, Amazon Echo Buds are a decent compromise at $50.

The plastic earcups here aren’t exactly premium, but they sit comfortably in the ear and feel solidly put together. They let in and out noise more easily than in-ear headphones, but if you prefer open-back headphones, that’s more of a feature than a bug. If you are not feeling well, you can take some volume off by removing the pre-installed silicone covers. (As with most open-back headphones, comfort here depends on the shape of your ear.) Microphone quality is more than adequate, and the circular touch panels give plenty of room to use the controls, which are customizable and responsive. Battery life sticks around five hours, which is average but not unusual for budget headphones. The pocket-friendly case adds about three full charges, but it’s worth noting that Amazon doesn’t include a USB-C charging cable. The poor IPX2 water resistance rating means you should also avoid the gym with them.

While the Echo Buds sound good out of the box, I would use the EQ sliders in the Alexa app to reduce the highs by a click or two. By default, the treble is a bit too jittery. However, this emphasis gives nice definition to things like vocals, cymbals and strings, and there’s enough separation to keep complex songs from sounding completely muddled. The profile here isn’t as full as the latest AirPods, and there aren’t any open-back headphones that deliver true sub-bass, but there’s at least some rumble for hip-hop and EDM.

Unlike many cheap headphones, the Echo Buds support auto-pause and multi-device pairing. I often had to manually pause playback on one device before I could switch to the other, but having this feature at this price is great. Unsurprisingly, they also come with Alexa built-in, which you can access hands-free. You control the Echo Buds through the Alexa app, which is much more cluttered than a dedicated audio app, but includes goodies like lost device tracking and sidetone control for phone calls. And if you want nothing to do with Alexa, it also lets you turn off microphones and wake word support.