The Amazon Echo Studio and the Sonos One are among the best smart speakers you can buy, offering voice control of your smart home devices, unparalleled audio performance, and a stylish look.
That means it can be tricky to choose between the two, especially if you’re still trying to figure out what you want from a wireless speaker.
Launched in 2019, the Amazon Echo Studio is part of the company’s popular Echo series of smart speakers. Powered by Alexa voice assistant, the Studio is marketed as the best Echo speaker for audiophiles. With Dolby Atmos virtual surround sound, it can even act as a speaker for your TV instead of a soundbar.
The Sonos One is a bit older – it was released in 2017 – but that hasn’t stopped it from topping our list of the best smart speakers for three years in a row. It comes with both Alexa and Google Assistant support, unparalleled sound quality, and is part of Sonos’ wireless speaker line – which can be plugged in for seamless multi-room audio, with no annoying wires running around your home.
So both speakers are pretty high spec – and in reality, both would be a great addition to your smart home setup. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make your buying decision any easier – and with Amazon Prime Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday just around the corner, you’ll want to hit the shopping season armed with the knowledge you need to make the right choice.
To make your job easier, we compared the Amazon Echo Studio and the Sonos One so you can part with your money with peace of mind.
What’s good about the Amazon Echo Studio?
Dolby Atmos and 3D audio
The Amazon Echo Studio comes with support for 3D audio mixing and Dolby Atmos home theater soundtracks. While purists may not be convinced by anything other than a surround sound system, the Studio does a pretty good job of creating a directional, immersive soundstage.
Dolby Atmos support means you can technically swap your burly soundbar for the Amazon Echo Studio and use it to boost your TV’s built-in speakers – useful when space is tight.
With two 2-inch side-mounted mid-range speakers, a 2-inch top-firing mid-range speaker, a 1-inch forward-firing tweeter, and a 5.25-inch down-firing sealed woofer, the Echo Studio certainly packs a sonic punch .
3D audio is due to a growing library of specially mixed tracks (said to be thousands). It’s a feature exclusive to Echo Studio users who sign up for the company’s new Amazon Music HD streaming service or Tidal, both of which offer hi-res audio streams.
Simple Fire TV integration
Those considering using the Amazon Echo Studio to watch TV will find the ability to easily pair wirelessly with an Amazon Fire TV device a big draw.
You’ll need one of the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K models or the Amazon Fire TV Cube and you can pair the Amazon Echo Studio with your TV streamer with just a few taps from the Amazon Alexa app’s device window.
This is where Dolby Atmos support really shines; with the Echo Studio you get resonant bass response, powerful sound and much more depth than a comparably priced soundbar can offer. Moreover, it works on Prime Video, Netflix and all other Atmos compatible sources.
Easy installation and smart Alexa
The Amazon Echo Studio also acts as a ZigBee hub, meaning it can connect to thousands of smart home devices right out of the box. If you’re already familiar with the smaller Echo or Echo Dot, you’ll find using Alexa an absolute breeze.
It can do everything its smaller predecessors can, including answer your questions, provide weather updates, and set reminders and alarms.
Another neat feature is that you can easily connect two Echo Studio speakers in the Alexa app for stereo sound – again, very useful if you plan on using the speaker to deliver your TV’s audio. The device is too tall to place directly below your screen, and placing it on one side of your screen could lose the sonic sweet spot. As such, linking two studios and placing them on either side of your TV is a good compromise for those who don’t want to invest in a soundbar or full surround sound system.
What’s good about the Sonos One?
Alexa and Google Assistant
The Sonos One offers the choice between Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant, so you can take advantage of the ecosystem that suits you best. While many smarthome devices are brand-independent when it comes to voice assistant integration, if you already have brand-specific devices, such as the Google Chromecast or the Amazon Fire TV Stick.
Unparalleled sound quality
The Amazon Echo Studio sounds fantastic, but in our opinion the Sonos One is the best-sounding smart speaker you can buy in 2020.
Trueplay calibration means you can fine-tune the Sonos One so that its sound profile perfectly matches the room it’s in. You’ll need an iOS device for this, but it’s well worth the extra effort.
Once set up, the Sonos One delivers a heavy, powerful audio performance, with a refined soundstage that audiophiles will love. There are no smart 3D audios here, but if you mainly use your speaker to listen to music, you probably won’t miss out on such functionality.
Multi-room audio integration
One of the highlights of Sonos speakers is that they can be seamlessly integrated into a wireless multi-room audio system.
With the Sonos S2 app, you can connect as many Sonos devices as you want and use them to blow your music throughout your home. If you have the Sonos Arc or other Sonos soundbar, you can even use two Sonos One units as rear speakers in your home cinema setup. Add the Sonos Sub and you have a very nice surround sound system indeed.
As we’ve already mentioned, the Amazon Echo Studio or the Sonos One would make a great addition to any home; both sound great, provide control over your smart home, and have a stylish exterior.
However, there are a few areas where one speaker trumps another. In the event that you’re boosting your TV’s built-in speakers, it’s the Amazon Echo Studio that comes out on top.
Desperate to add Dolby Atmos to your home theater setup without attacking an expensive soundbar? Already using an Amazon Fire TV stick to stream your favorite shows and movies? Again, you should go for the Amazon Echo Studio.
However, if you’re a true audiophile looking for easy multiroom connectivity, the Sonos One is probably the speaker for you. And if you’re not too concerned about 3D sound, it still works as part of a home theater setup – although you pair it with the Atmos-compatible Sonos Arc, you’re also covered for immersive audio.
Opt for the Sonos if you also prefer the Google Assistant ecosystem over Alexa, as the Echo Studio works exclusively with Amazon’s own voice assistant.
Another important consideration is price. In the US and UK, the Amazon Echo Studio and the Sonos One retail for similar prices, at $ 200 / £ 189.99 and $ 199 / £ 199 respectively.
However, if you’re in Australia, the price difference is much bigger: you’re looking at AU $ 299 for the Sonos One and AU $ 329 for the Echo Studio.
Neither smart speaker is particularly budget-friendly, but both can qualify for deep discounts on Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2020, when retailers slash the prices of their most popular products.
For that, we expect Amazon Prime Day 2020, when you can be sure that the retail giant will be offering some astonishing discounts on its own line of smart speakers. While the date has yet to be confirmed, we believe Prime Day will be in October, having been postponed earlier this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.