Amazon’s Echo Studio is its best-sounding smart speaker yet — here’s what it sounds like

Though the Echo Studio isn't a subwoofer, it actually looks more like the Echo Sub than it does the Echo and Echo Plus. It's got the same dark fabric mesh as the Echo Sub and the same fat-trashcan aesthetic.

The Studio sports the same four buttons as most other Echos, which adjust volume, mute and unmute the microphone, and summon Alexa respectively. As is also the case with other Echos' buttons, these are a bit loud and difficult to press for my taste, but that's hardly a dealbreaker.

A few things are unique. First, unlike with traditional Echo speakers, the signature LED ring isn't right around the rim. Instead, it's in the middle of the device, on the far side of the buttons. I don't love this look, as it's harder to see from the side whether you've successfully woken Alexa, and most people aren't frequently staring at their Echo from the top down.

Second, there's a slit right through the middle which improves volume and sound quality. I imagine you'll get used to it if you see this device every day, but it looked a bit ungainly at first glance.

Overall, the Studio isn't something I'd display on my coffee table. But it's also loud enough that it doesn't need to be there — there's a reason the Echo comes in four colors while the Studio only comes in black.

Preorder the Echo Studio for $199.99

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