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Amazon Echo Studio initial review: Taking the fight to Apple and Sonos

Amazon launched a slew of devices today at its Seattle event and chief among them is this – a beefed-up Echo speaker that’s designed both for audio and to integrate with Fire TV should you so wish. 

Echo Studio is aimed squarely at Sonos’ range and Apple’s HomePod – and it certainly wins on price for what it offers. But does it have the sound to really beat its rivals into submission? 

Design

  • Single charcoal colour available
  • Cut-out design for subwoofer
  • Familiar Echo buttons on top

The Echo Studio is clearly a relative of last year’s Echo Sub and as you’d expect there’s an Alexa light ring around the top.

It’s not an attractive design, however – largely due to the cut-out in the side of the speaker and it’s only available in this dull grey – we’d have preferred more colour options like the other Echo devices available. Perhaps Amazon will make these available in due course. 

The Echo action, mute and volume buttons are arranged in a line around the light ring. 

Specs

  • Full Alexa support
  • Zigbee smart hub
  • Will automatically adjust sound depending on your room

We’ll talk about the audio chops of the Studio in a moment, but the device has a lot to offer in terms of other specs, too. 

Obviously, there’s full Alexa support. Everything you can do on the other Echos you can do here. 

Although we weren’t able to test this, Echo Studio takes a leaf out of the HomePod’s book and automatically senses the acoustics of your room to fine-tune the audio depending on the location it’s placed in. 

And as with the Echo Plus and Echo Show, there’s a Zigbee smart hub included within the speaker. 

Audio quality

  • Five speakers including a 5.25-inch woofer
  • Lossless support with Amazon Music HD
  • Compatible with Dolby Atmos for music and also with Fire TV

We were only treated to a few tracks and we were in a busy demo area, but the Echo Studio clearly had a lot of punch – enough to fill a modest room. 

The 330W peak power device has a 24-bit DAC and boasts five built-in directional speakers for 360-degree audio. These include a 5.25-inch woofer plus 1-inch tweeter and three 2-inch speakers to ensure that the midrange is well looked after. It certainly sounded clear and crisp as well as loud.  

As we expected – due to the Amazon Music HD launch – the device is compatible with hi-res, lossless playback. Amazon has worked with Universal, Warner and Sony to produce 3D audio versions of an unspecified library of tracks through Amazon Music HD. 

These tracks are produced using Sony 360 Reality Audio and Dolby Atmos technologies. Although the Atmos name is appearing in more and more devices, the endorsement here is a new step. You can wirelessly connect Echo Studio with Fire TV Cube (1st Gen or 2nd Gen), Fire TV Stick 4K or Fire TV (3rd Gen) to playback Atmos content.

You’re also able to pair the Echo Studio with another to beef up the audio still further. 


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LeeTV Tech

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