Review of Echo Studio, Amazon's premium speaker
"This speaker has everything you need to listen to music in the room and ask Alexa for things."
Current and discreet design
Amazon has been a pioneer in the field of smart speakers with the launch in 2015 of the first Echo. Since then, its catalog has not stopped growing, and the sales giant on-line leads this market, with a 73 percent share. But it lacked a device capable of assisting the user speaking to Alexa and, at the same time, playing music with quality. And just thinking about that the Echo Studio was developed. Next, we tell you if you can give the note.
Design is not his forte
The Echo Studio smart speaker has a cylinder-shaped design, such as the third generation Echo or the Echo Plus, although in this case with a larger size: 20.6 cm high x 17.5 cm in diameter (8.1 x 6.8 inches). It exhibits a peculiar opening in the lower part, whose objective is to expand the loudness of the bass. In fact, just down there is the woofer. It is covered with acoustic fabric, like so many other speakers, black. It is modern and discreet without looking like a luxury product. When taking it, it feels robust, since it weighs quite a lot: 3.5 kilos (7.7 pounds). For all this (and for its power), the device is designed to be placed in places of a certain size, such as the living room.
At the top, we find four buttons: one to turn off the microphone and Alexa does not listen, both for volume control and another to pause or activate Alexa. As in the other Echo speaker models, a ring of light in that area indicates with different colors the function you are performing. It turns red when you mute the microphone, blue when Alexa speaks or listens to you, and yellow when you receive a notification from Amazon (and you can ask Alexa to read those messages, for example, the ones you receive to communicate that today you are going to get home a product purchased on Amazon).
Behind, we find the connection to the electric power cable and a micro-USB. A 3.5 mm input facilitates connection with other devices, such as a CD or MP3 player.
Very easy to configure
Before you start installing it, it is important to know that you should place the speaker at a distance of at least 15 cm (6 inches) from a wall, since it adapts the sound to the surrounding environment automatically. Once the location is chosen, you download the Amazon Alexa app. Then, you plug it into the electric current with the included cable (the blue light ring will light up) and follow the instructions that Alexa is giving you to configure it from the app. Easy ace. If you already have Alexa, you add a device, choose this model and it will guide you (first connect to the wifi).
3D audio? It depends
Echo Studio works with five speakers: three midrange, one tweeter (for treble) and a woofer (for bass). They all orient the sound in a different direction to provide immersive audio. And it supports Dolby Atmos, so be prepared to create the surround effect when you connect it to other devices.
With this equipment and a nominal power of 330 W, the sound does not disappoint even when you put it to the maximum, although at this level there is a slight distortion. Even if you don't expect the best sound in the market for its price of 199.99 euros (in the United States it is worth 199.99 dollars).
It connects to several very popular music services (Spotify, Apple Music and Deezer, among others). If you are a member of Amazon Prime, it gives you access to the Prime Music catalog with two million songs at no cost. We have tried it with Amazon Music and Spotify asking Alexa for specific songs alternating both services and it has always satisfied our requests in a fluid way, although the voice assistant has not always understood us well, something usual in this type of speakers.
It supports 3D audio (Dolby Atmos and Sony 360 Reality Audio), but this format is only found in the Amazon Music HD service (not operational in Spain or Mexico).
Connection with other devices
Of course, it is possible to pair it with other Amazon Echo and mount a speaker system in several rooms. When connected to an Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K device, you get audio playback with multichannel sound compatible with Dolby Atmos surround sound. The smart speaker communicates with the appliances compatible with the Zigbee protocol so you can control them with the voice by asking Alexa.
Amazon Echo Studio is the smart speaker with the best sound you'll find in the Echo range. Be more than enough for users looking for good audio quality without reaching the level premium. It is not the most elegant, its appearance has not dazzled us, but its careful and discreet aesthetics adapt to almost any decorative style. At the same time, like any other smart speaker, it allows you to squeeze the large amount of interaction that Alexa offers by voice and with the mobile phone through the application. It is a device with an excellent relationship between quality and price.
With a similar price, and compatible with Alexa, you will find the Sonos One and Bose Home Speaker 300 speakers, both with a more refined look (and they should sound great, judging by the prestige of their manufacturers).