That means choosing between the two can be tricky, 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 voice assistant Alexa, the Studio is marketed as the best Echo speaker for audiophiles. Featuring Dolby Atmos virtual surround sound, it can even double up as a speaker for your TV in place of a soundbar.
The Sonos One is a little older – it was released in 2017 – but that hasn’t stopped it from topping our list of the best smart speakers for three years running. It comes with both Alexa and Google Assistant support, unmatched sound quality, and forms part of Sonos’ wireless speaker line – which can be connected for seamless multi-room audio, without any annoying cables trailing around your house.
So, both speakers are pretty high-spec – and in truth, either would make 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 go into shopping season armed with the knowledge you need to make the right choice.
To make your job easier, we’ve compared the Amazon Echo Studio and the Sonos One, so you can part with your cash with confidence.
[Update: Amazon has revealed that it’s holding a hardware launch event this coming Thursday, September 24, which means we could be in for some upgraded Echo speakers, updates to Alexa, Prime Video, and Amazon Music, and new Echo devices.
It doesn’t look as though the event will be live streamed to the general public, but it’s scheduled to start at 10am PT / 1pm ET / 6pm BST (that’s 3am, September 25 if you’re in Australia) – and we’ll be here to cover all the announcements from Amazon HQ.
There haven’t been any material leaks so far, but the invite sent to media mentions “Devices and Services”, so it looks as though we might hear some Alexa news as well as being treated to some new gadgets.]
What’s good about the Amazon Echo Studio?
Dolby Atmos and 3D audio
The Amazon Echo Studio comes with support for 3D audio mixes and Dolby Atmos home-cinema 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 out your burly soundbar for the Amazon Echo Studio, and use it to boost your TV’s built-in speakers – handy, if space is at a premium.
With two 2-inch side-mounted mid-range speakers, a 2-inch upward-firing mid-range speaker, a 1-inch front-facing tweeter, and a 5.25-inch downward-firing sealed woofer, the Echo Studio certainly packs a sonic punch.
3D audio comes courtesy of a growing library of specially mixed tracks (said to number in the 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.
Easy Fire TV integration
Those considering the use of the Amazon Echo Studio for watching TV will find the ability to easily, wirelessly pair 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’ll be able to pair the Amazon Echo Studio to your TV streamer with just a few taps from the devices pane of the Amazon Alexa app.
This is where that Dolby Atmos support really shines; with the Echo Studio, you’ll get a resonant bass response, powerful sound, and far more depth than a comparably priced soundbar can offer. In addition, it works across Prime Video, Netflix, and any other Atmos-enabled sources.
Simple setup and Alexa smarts
The Amazon Echo Studio also doubles as a ZigBee hub, meaning it will connect to thousands of smart home devices right out of the box. In fact, if you’re already familiar with the smaller Echo or Echo Dot, you’ll find using Alexa an absolute breeze.
It can do anything that its smaller predecessors can, including answering your questions, providing weather updates, and setting reminders and alarms.
Another cool feature is that you can easily connect two Echo Studio speakers in the Alexa app for stereo sound – again, very handy if you’re planning to use the speaker to deliver your TV’s audio. The unit is too tall to place directly beneath your display, and placing it to one side of your screen can throw off the sonic sweet spot. As such, pairing two Studios and placing them on either side of your TV is a decent compromise for those who don’t wish 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 a choice between Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant, so you can tap into whatever ecosystem suits you best. While many smart home devices are brand-agnostic when it comes to voice assistant integration, it’s handy to have the choice if you already have brand-specific devices such as the Google Chromecast or the Amazon Fire TV Stick.
Unrivalled 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 tune the Sonos One so that its sound profile perfectly matches the room it’s in. You’ll need an iOS device to do this, but it’s well worth the extra effort.
Once you’re set up, the Sonos One delivers a weighty, powerful audio performance, with a sophisticated soundstage that audiophiles will love. There are no 3D audio smarts here, but if you’ll primarily be using your speaker to listen to music, you’re unlikely to miss such functionality.
Multi-room audio integration
One of the high points of Sonos speakers is their ability to seamlessly integrate to form a wireless multi-room audio system.
Using the Sonos S2 app, you can connect as many Sonos devices as you please, using them to blast 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 in the Sonos Sub, and you’ve got yourself a very nice surround sound system indeed.
As we’ve already mentioned , either the Amazon Echo Studio or the Sonos One would make great additions to any home; both sound fantastic, offer control over your smart home, and sport stylish exteriors..
There are a few areas where one speaker wins out over the other, however. In the case of 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-cinema setup without shelling out on an expensive soundbar? Already use an Amazon Fire TV Stick to stream your favorite shows and movies? Again, you should opt for the Amazon Echo Studio.
However, if you’re a true audiophile looking for simple multiroom connectivity, the Sonos One is more likely the speaker for you. And if you’re not too bothered about 3D sound, it will still work as part of a home-cinema setup –although pair it with the Atmos-enabled Sonos Arc, and you’ll be covered for immersive audio too.
Opt for the Sonos if you prefer the Google Assistant ecosystem over Alexa, too, since the Echo Studio exclusively works with Amazon’s own voice assistant.
Another important consideration is price. In the US and the UK, the Amazon Echo Studio and the Sonos One retail for similar prices, costing $200 / £189.99 and $199 / £199 respectively.
If you’re in Australia, however, the price difference is much larger: 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 could be in for some big discounts come Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2020, when retailers slash the prices of their most popular products.
Before that we’re expecting Amazon Prime Day 2020, when you can be certain that the retail giant will be offering some stunning discounts on its own line of smart speakers. While the date is yet to be confirmed, we think Prime Day will take place in October, having been postponed earlier this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.