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Amazon Echo Studio vs. Echo Plus: Which should you buy?

Echo Plus on a table
Echo Plus on a table (Image credit: Android Central)

Echo Studio

Amazon Echo Studio official render

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The Echo Studio is Amazon's shot across the bow to Apple's Homepod, Google's Home Max, and Sonos' collection of high-end speakers. It offers amazing sound and smarts for a great price. This device just might be the successor to the Echo Plus.

Echo Studio

It's the Echo Plus PLUS

Physical mic mute switch
Booming room-filling sound
Built-in Zigbee smart home hub
Can be paired for surround sound
First-gen product
Most expensive Echo device

Echo Plus (2nd Gen)

Echo Plus 2nd Gen official render

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The Echo Plus was Amazon's first stab at better Echo audio, and with its Zigbee integration, it was the first Echo device that could serve as a smart home hub. The device is on its 2nd generation, but it hasn't been updated in over a year.

Echo Plus (2nd Gen)

Smaller speaker smart hub

Great sound in a smaller package
Also has built-in Zigbee smart home hub
Can get with a free smart bulb
Same sound architecture as cheaper, newer Echo
Priced a little high at this point

Since the first Echo, Amazon has iterated on the smart speaker several times over the years. It added different sizes and capabilities, put screens on some of them, and changed the look, feel, and design of each successive generation. As we'll see in the comparison of the Echo Studio vs. Echo Plus (2nd Gen) below, the company is not above cannibalizing its older products when new ones come along.

Echo Studio vs. Echo Plus (2nd Gen): How they stack up

Echo Studio launch event

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

Amazon introduced the Echo Plus in 2017 and updated it last year with a newer, softer design. This year saw many of its features come to the regular Echo line, while its higher-end features were absorbed and even bested by the newer Echo Studio. Is it that simple to say that the Echo Plus (2nd Gen) is dead, or does it still have a place in the Echo product line? Let's first see how these two devices compare on the spec sheet, and then we can get down to which one is worth your hard-earned money.

Echo StudioEcho Plus (2nd Gen)
Size8.1" x 6.9"5.8" x 3.9" x 3.9"
Weight7.7 lbs1.72 lbs
SpeakersThree 2" midrange speakers, one 1" tweeter, one 5.25" woofer0.8" tweeter and 3" woofer
Dolby supportYes - AtmosYes - Dolby processing
Smart TV compatibilityPairs with newest Fire TV devices for audio outputNo
Smart HomeBuilt-in Zigbee support and Alexa integrationBuilt-in Zigbee support and Alexa integration
Bluetooth connectivityA2DP supportA2DP support
WiFi connectivityDual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 2.4 and 5 GHz networksDual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 2.4 and 5 GHz networks
FinishesFabric (charcoal)Fabric (charcoal, heather gray, sandstone)

Echo Studio considered

Amazon Echo Studio

Source: Android CentralPictured: Echo Studio. (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

The Echo Studio can be paired with other Echos to create a multi-device or multi-room group, but many will find it's room-filling sound more than capable of suiting their needs. The device features five speakers, including three midrange 2-inch speakers, a 1-inch tweeter, and a large 5.25-inch woofer. It was made to take advantage of Amazon's Music HD subscription service (opens in new tab), and it uses Dolby Atmos technology to get the most out of music formats that have been mastered for 3D.

Like other Echo speakers before it, the Echo Studio has a button that you can press to electronically disconnect the microphones so that Alexa can't listen to you, and you can also go online or in the Alexa app to listen to and delete your voice recordings. It features a built-in Zigbee smart home hub like the Echo Plus (2nd Gen) and can be used just like any other Echo to ask Alexa for information or to run routines.

The Echo Studio was built to compete with Apple's Homepod, Google's Home Max, and some of the great speaker systems from Sonos. It can be paired with another Echo Studio and a Fire TV for true stereo sound, or you can just pair one to a Fire TV to function as a soundbar. The way the speakers are arranged allows it to analyze the acoustics of your room and fine-tune audio playback to optimize sound for the space. It is also priced to sell, coming in at nearly a hundred dollars cheaper than similar offerings from Apple and Google. Taken altogether, the Echo Studio sure sounds like a compelling product.

The Echo Plus just doesn't add up

Echo Plus 2nd Gen

Source: Android CentralPictured: Echo Plus. (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

When Amazon first debuted the original Echo Plus, it filled an important niche not only in the Echo speaker lineup but in Amazon's smart home ecosystem strategy. At the time, there were many more competing smart home protocols and standards, and it was often frustrating to connect all of these disparate devices together.

Enter the Echo Plus. Amazon included a Zigbee smart home hub, choosing the most popular smart devices protocol, which made discovering and setting up smart home accessories much easier.

The original Echo Plus, as well as the current generation, also had higher-end speaker arrangements than the other Echo devices, making the Plus version the best choice for those who wanted a better sound out of their speaker. However, the Echo Plus (2nd Gen) is now over a year old, and with other changes to the Echo lineup, we are left wondering if this will live to see another version.

The Echo Plus (2nd Gen) is still a great smart speaker, but it seems like Amazon is leaving the product out to dry. The newer, regular Echo (3rd Gen) offers pretty much the same look and sound, while the Echo Studio bests its speakers and still offers the Zigbee smart home hub features for not much more. Honestly, if the full-sized Echo Studio is too much Echo for you but you still want great sound, we recommend going for the cheaper, regular Echo (3rd Gen) over this Echo Plus (2nd Gen). The regular Echo (3rd Gen) starts at $50 less than the Echo Plus (2nd Gen) and offers an almost identical experience, save for the built-in Zigbee hub (which we don't think you'll miss anyway).

Echo Studio vs. Echo Plus (2nd Gen): Which should you get?

As we mentioned in our comparison of the Echo (3rd Gen) vs. the Echo Plus, we think the Echo Plus (2nd Gen) may be headed for that special speaker ranch in the sky. It's still a capable device with great sound for its size and smart home hub integration, but the fact that it wasn't updated this year and that the updated Echo (3rd Gen) and new Echo Studio took its most compelling features doesn't bode well for the future of the product. That being said, if you can find it at a discount, it's worth your consideration.

The Echo Studio looks to really shake things up, not just among Alexa smart speakers, but among the best smart speakers on the market. With its speaker array and room-filling sound, we think you'll really enjoy listening to music or connecting it to your Fire TV device for an immersive viewing experience. We think the price difference between these two devices is not significant enough to pick the Echo Plus (2nd Gen) over the Echo Studio, so if you are looking for the best sound out of an Echo, go with the Studio.

Jeramy is proud to help *Keep Austin Weird* and loves hiking in the hill country of central Texas with a breakfast taco in each hand. When he's not writing about smart home gadgets and wearables, he's defending his relationship with his smart voice assistants to his family. You can follow him on Twitter at @jeramyutgw.