Amazon Echo Studio review

The Echo Studio is the best-sounding Amazon smart speaker, but it’s quite expensive.

Recommended
Luxury
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Amazon’s first Echo smart speaker launched in 2014, and it’s fair to say that it wasn’t the best-sounding speaker around: its 9-inch cylinder wasn’t big enough to have room for serious speakers and it definitely lacked the low-end thump that adds so much fun to music and movies. The Echo Studio launched five years later in September 2019 with a price tag of £199. 

Today’s Echo Studio is the second generation, and it launched in 2022 with an initial price tag of £190, although that’s since risen to £219. The big changes here are improved spatial audio and improvements to both high-end clarity and low-end bass; Amazon says its goal with the second-generation Echo Studio was to compete with a dedicated hi-fi system. It also works well in a home-cinema setup, especially as part of a stereo pair.

This is the top of the Amazon Echo range. The next Echo in the range is the Echo (4th generation), which we think is the best Amazon speaker for most people: its not as powerful as the Studio but its very impressive for its size and a lot cheaper, too. For music we wouldnt recommend the even smaller, even cheaper Echo Dot and Echo Pop, though. Their small speakers are well tuned for spoken audio but lack the range for goodquality music playback.

Amazon Echo Studio Speaker shot in the test centre sound roomCredit: Saga Exceptional
The Echo Studio delivers a big sound for its relatively small size. It’s Amazon’s loudest and most entertaining music speaker

The Echo Studio is an Alexa-powered smart speaker. That means it’s made primarily for voice control, with very few on-device controls. It enables you to play music, of course, but it can also control compatible smart-home devices and access services such as the weather forecast and streaming radio stations.  

The Studio is also a smart-home hub, so you can connect smart-home devices such as smart bulbs to it without having to buy a dedicated hub for them: provided they’re compatible with the technology inside this Echo, Zigbee, you can connect them directly and control them with Alexa.

It also connects to other smart-home hubs such as the one for Philips Hue smart bulbs. The Echo also supports the new smart-home standard called Matter, so it’s fairly future-proof. 

Recommended

Amazon Echo Studio

Luxury

When it comes to sheer entertainment value, this is the best Amazon Echo. It has Dolby Atmos, Spatial Audio and very impressive lowend thump. If you team it with a second Studio or a couple of smaller Echos and a Fire TV, it makes a great homecinema audio system, too. 

Design

Usability

Audio performance

Value


Who’s this for?

The Echo Studio is the Amazon speaker for serious music and movie listening: it’s big, it’s bassy and it’ll make you really unpopular with the neighbours if you turn it up loud.

Our likes and dislikes

  • Spectacular sound
  • Great for movies
  • A superb smart speaker
  • Overkill for most rooms
  • Some rivals sound better
  • Relatively expensive

Expect to pay

RRP: £219 The RRP for the Echo Studio is £219 and, unlike other Echo devices, Amazon doesn’t discount it very frequently – so you might have to wait for deals – but we have seen it hit as low as £139.99.

Amazon Echo Studio Review method

How we test

Alexa and us go back a long way: we’ve been using Amazon Echo smart speakers since the very first generation, which launched a decade ago. We use Alexa to control our smart-home devices such as our Hue smart lights, our kids use it to answer questions about life, the universe and everything, and we use Echo speakers for music, podcasts and other entertainment content. 

To test this Echo, we listened to it alongside other Echo devices to see how its sound differed from its smaller siblings, as that’s the key selling point for this speaker: more than any other Echo, it’s marketed as a speaker for music.

We also listened to our favourite podcasts and radio stations, and controlled the speaker primarily with voice commands both in quiet rooms and with music playing loudly. 

Amazon Echo Studio Setup

Best in class setup

As with all Echos, this speaker isn’t battery powered: a dedicated power lead is included in the box.  

Amazon has been making smart speakers for a while and its setup experience is best in class: simply install the Alexa app on your phone, plug in the Echo Studio and wait for the light on its top to glow orange to indicate that it’s in setup mode.

The app will then take you step by step through the process of connecting the Echo Studio to your wi-fi. The Studio can also play content streamed over Bluetooth, but its best smart features need a wireless network.  

Amazon’s Alexa app enables you to organise your device(s) by room, so if you have multiple Echos you can tell the app that these ones are in the living room, that one’s in the bedroom and so on. You can use your Echo devices as intercoms, to call other Alexa users or to play music in multiple rooms simultaneously.

Amazon Echo Studio Speaker shot in the test centre sound roomCredit: Saga Exceptional
The Studio is a squat cylinder and it’s available in two fabric coverings – charcoal black and glacier white

Amazon Echo Studio Design

A fabric-covered, squat cylinder

The Echo Studio is big and heavy, with a weight of 3.5kg (7lb 11oz): that’s partly because it needs to be strong to deliver clear, low frequencies, and partly because its five internal speakers are quite heavy.

It’s a squat cylinder just over 20cm (nearly 8in) in diameter and 17cm (6½in) high, and towards the base there’s a large cutout that’s there to deliver extra bass output.

As with all Echos, it has a fabric cover, and with this model there are two colour choices: charcoal grey and glacier white. We tend to prefer the darker options as the white fabric can get grubby, especially if there are kids around. 

The status indicator for this Echo is a circular, colour-changing LED light on the top of the case, and you’ll see the little holes for its multiple microphones dotted around that indicator.

At the top front there are four buttons: one to mute the microphones for privacy, two to control the volume and a fourth action button to get Alexa’s attention.  

This Echo is designed to work like a hi-fi and contains twin angled speakers to deliver impressively wide sound as well as an upwards-firing speaker. It’s designed to be pointing with its front towards you, ideally centred so you get the full stereo and/or spatial audio effect.  

Amazon Echo Studio Speaker shot in the test centre sound roomCredit: Saga Exceptional
The Echo Studio has been designed as an alternative to a hi-fi system and has directional speakers to create a stereo effect

Amazon Echo Studio Usability

Flexible features makes Echo Studio easy to use

As with all of Amazon’s Echo devices, the digital assistant here is Alexa, which is one of the best assistants in any smart speaker: it’s significantly faster than Siri and more flexible than Google Assistant, thanks to Alexa skills.

These are little software downloads that enable your Alexa device(s) to do more, such as play certain radio stations or give you particular news channels. Skills are downloaded to the Alexa app and are then available to every Alexa device in your home, so you don’t need to download the same skills for every Echo independently.

You can change Alexa’s gender and accent, although there aren’t many choices compared to some rivals, and you can change the wake word from “alexa” to “computer”, “echo” or “amazon” if you prefer. 

One of the most useful features here is that you can create your own custom commands – so, for example, you might create “Alexa, I’m home!” to automatically turn on your connected smart lights and set your connected smart thermostat to a suitably toasty temperature.  

The Echo Studio’s microphones do a good job at hearing us even when we’re playing music at quite loud volumes, and the voice recognition is best in class.  

Every Echo has a useful selection of accessibility features. Those include adaptive listening, which makes Alexa more patient with speech; Preferred Speaking Rate; Kindle Read Aloud and other features for people with accessibility needs around vision, hearing, mobility and speech. 

Amazon Echo Studio Speaker shot in the test centre sound roomCredit: Saga Exceptional
Inside the Studio there are five speakers: one for bass, two for stereo, one for dialogue and one for height in spatial audio

Amazon Echo Studio Audio Performance

The best-sounding Amazon speaker

This is the best-sounding Amazon speaker by some margin. With 330W of amplification, a 24-bit digital analogue converter and automatic room calibration – not to mention support for all the key formats including hi-res audio, HD streaming (from compatible services), Dolby Digital and Atmos, Sony 360 Reality Audio and lossless music formats – it’s clearly been built with music in mind.

In addition to wireless streaming, there’s a 3.5mm mini-optical TOSLINK connector that enables you to use it with existing home entertainment equipment, too. 

The Echo Studio is very loud and delivers impressive low-end thanks to a 5.25-inch (13cm), downward-firing woofer with a bass aperture to really push the low frequencies into your room.

It’s teamed with a pair of two-inch mid-range speakers pointing left and right, a forward-facing tweeter for high frequencies and an upward-firing 2-inch (5cm) speaker to deliver the vertical effects for spatial and Dolby Atmos audio. The positioning of all those speakers means that the Echo Studio delivers a very wide sound stage: it really doesn’t sound like you’re listening to a single speaker.  

We tested the Studio without changing its default EQ on a wide range of music including the guitar pop of Wet Leg and HAIM; rock by Metallica and Muse; choral classical music such as Allegri: Miserere; old-school hip-hop by Ice Cube, 2Pac and Dr Dre; and a wide range of pop and classic rock.  

We were very impressed by the sound quality and positioning, especially on well- recorded music: the bass in Bon Jovi’s Livin’ on a Prayer is stadium-sized; the acoustic guitars, baggy rhythms and close-mic’d vocal of Lorde’s Solar Power are spine-tingling; the low-end in Californian hip-hop is subterranean; and 80s electro such as Soft Cell’s Tainted Love is glassy and propulsive.

It gets a little muddy and loses clarity at really high volumes, especially with busy, distorted guitar rock, but keep it below the 80% mark and it sounds superb.

The default EQ is fine for most music, but we found ourselves reaching to boost the bass and treble for bands like Guns N’ Roses – a setting in the app that’s harder to find than it should be (you need to go into More > Settings > Device Settings > Device Name and then tap on the settings icon at the top right). 

The same low-end that makes music so much fun is also very handy for home cinema, delivering very impressive thump in action movies and TV shows without overpowering the dialogue.

Once again, the clever positioning of the speakers delivers a wide sound stage that makes movie soundtracks more immersive.  

Amazon Echo Studio Speaker shot in the test centre sound roomCredit: Saga Exceptional
From time to time, Amazon makes limited-edition, celebrity-endorsed Echo Studios such as this Billie Eilish model

Amazon Echo Studio Extras

Plays nicely with Amazon’s Fire TV stick

If you have a Fire TV stick or box, the Echo Studio is designed to connect wirelessly to it as part of a home cinema system – and that 330W amplifier and 133mm (5in) woofer deliver seriously big sound in action movies.

The Dolby Atmos/spatial audio here can’t compete with a dedicated surround sound system, but it does a very impressive job of making the sound appear to be much wider and higher than with a normal speaker system.

It’s even better when you have two, although of course that doubles the price. 

Featured product

Amazon Fire TV stick

RRP: £44.99

Amazon Fire TV stick

Amazon Echo Studio Value

Big audio comes with a big price tag

At £219, this is twice the price of the normal Echo, and while it does sound much louder and much better, it’s probably overkill for a living room or kitchen speaker unless you like to listen loud.

It also means that the Echo Studio is competing with some serious heavy hitters in home audio, including the new Sonos Era 100 and Apple HomePod 2 

Adding an Echo Studio to an existing Echo setup will massively improve the overall audio experience. And if this is your first and only smart speaker, it’s an excellent option that combines sheer music power with Alexa’s enviable skillset.

But if you’re starting from scratch and don’t mind paying a little bit more, a Sonos setup will sound better. 

Amazon Echo Studio Competition

Smart speakers to also consider…

Sonos Era 100

Sonos Era100 in living room settingCredit: Saga Exceptional

Sonos is famed for its multi-room audio systems as well as its sound quality, and this brand new speaker is the replacement for the hugely popular Sonos One – widely considered to be the best smart speaker of its generation.

The Era 100 delivers even better sound quality, with significantly better bass response and very impressive detail.

However, it can be a little too bassy at times, and it’s gone up in price: the RRP is £249, although Sonos tends to offer discounts during events such as Black Friday.

The Sonos app is nicer than the Amazon one, and the Era 100 has Alexa inside for all your voice command needs. But the Sonos ecosystem is more expensive than Amazon’s. 

Read our Sonos Era 100 review

Apple HomePod (2nd generation)

Two Homepod 2nd Gen speakers, side by sideCredit: Exceptional

As ever, you need to pay the Apple tax for Apple hardware: at £299 per speaker, the HomePod 2 is more expensive than both the Sonos and the Echo Studio.

It sounds absolutely fantastic – even better than the Sonos – but we’ve encountered ongoing irritations with the software: occasional drop-outs, frustrating delays in playback and from time to time, playback stopping altogether.

A software update is imminent so fingers crossed it’ll fix that – but the real downside here is Apple’s Siri, which just isn’t as fast or flexible as Alexa. The second-generation HomePods are excellent speakers in terms of sound quality, but Apple really needs to sort out the software.  

Read our Apple HomePod (2nd generation) review

Amazon Echo (4th Generation)

Amazon Echo 2qb Speaker shot in the test centre sound roomCredit: Saga Exceptional

If you don’t need the huge volume levels of the Echo Studio, you can save a pretty penny by going for the standard Amazon Echo instead: at £109 it’s half the price, and you’re likely to see it for even less money during the many sales events Amazon holds over the year – so, for example, we’d expect to see some serious discounts on Echo speakers during Black Friday at the end of November, and from time to time in the months before.

There are smaller and even cheaper Echo speakers, but for music this is the Echo we’d recommend for most living rooms. 

Read our Amazon Echo (4th Generation) review

Amazon Echo Studio Final verdict

Sheer music power with Alexa’s enviable skillset

This is the best and most enjoyable Amazon speaker for listening to music – especially loud music or music where the bass guitar, synths or cellos are doing fun things – and it’s very impressive when you use it as the sound system for an Amazon Fire TV, too.

The fact that we’re mentioning it in the same bracket as the best smart speakers from Apple and Sonos shows just how good it is: while its slightly more expensive rivals do sound better, the difference isn’t night and day. Amazon has done a terrific job with the Studio, and it’s as good at being a music speaker as it is a smart one. 

The biggest rival here probably isn’t from Amazon’s competitors, though. It’s Amazon’s own Echo, the latest 4th generation model. That delivers vastly improved audio compared to the previous generation, and if you’re only considering a single smart speaker, that’s the one we’d recommend if you love music. The Studio is bigger and better, but it costs a lot more, too.

Recommended

Amazon Echo Studio

Luxury

When it comes to sheer entertainment value, this is the best Amazon Echo. It has Dolby Atmos, Spatial Audio and very impressive lowend thump. If you team it with a second Studio or a couple of smaller Echos and a Fire TV, it makes a great homecinema audio system, too. 

Design

The Echo Studio may look like Darth Vader’s dustbin, but form follows function here: the cylindrical shape is designed to emit audio in all directions.

Usability

Like all Echos, the Studio is very easy to set up and use. Amazon offers a good selection of accessibility options for people who have vision, hearing or mobility issues.

Audio performance

The Echo Studio is very loud, very clear and excellent for both music and movies. It’s perhaps a little more bassy than some rivals, but it’s a real room-filler.

Value

The Echo Studio costs twice as much as the next most affordable Echo, and doesn’t tend to be discounted as frequently as the rest of the range.


Who’s this for?

The Echo Studio is the Amazon speaker for serious music and movie listening: it’s big, it’s bassy and it’ll make you really unpopular with the neighbours if you turn it up loud.

Our likes and dislikes

  • Spectacular sound
  • Great for movies
  • A superb smart speaker
  • Overkill for most rooms
  • Some rivals sound better
  • Relatively expensive

Expect to pay

RRP: £219 The RRP for the Echo Studio is £219 and, unlike other Echo devices, Amazon doesn’t discount it very frequently – so you might have to wait for deals – but we have seen it hit as low as £139.99.

Amazon Echo Studio Specs

Release year 2022
Dimensions 206 x 175 mm
Weight 3.5 kg
Power Mains only (power supply included)
Internal speakers Three 51 mm (2in) midrange speakers; 25mm (1in) tweeter; 133mm (5in) woofer with bass aperture
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 and 5 GHz) networks
Bluetooth Bluetooth 5 with A2DP
Smart Home support Wi-fi, Bluetooth Low Energy Mesh, Matter, Zigbee
Carrie Marshall

Written by Carrie Marshall she/her

Published:

Writer, broadcaster and musician Carrie Marshall has been a technology journalist for 24 years. Her CV is a who’s-who of magazines, websites and newspapers ranging from T3, Techradar and Woman & Home to the Sunday Post and People’s Friend, and she has been providing no-nonsense technology help and buying advice to BBC Radio Scotland listeners since the early 2000s.

Carrie has written and co-written nearly twenty books as well as a BBC radio documentary series, and her memoir Carrie Kills A Man is on sale now.

Carrie is particularly interested in how technology can make our lives easier, especially if that gives her an excuse to buy yet another kitchen gadget.

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