Not familiar with Como Audio? I suspect you’ll soon be seeing a lot more from this Boston-based audio company. Headed up by Tom DeVesto (founder of Tivoli Audio and co-founder of Cambridge Soundworks), Como has serious industry cred and a compelling product lineup that keeps growing. I’ve spent over six months with several Como systems, including the subject of this review: the Amico portable wireless speaker.
Design Features Beautiful (and Functional) Retro Touches
I’m a big fan of vintage audio gear, stuff that looks as good as it sounds, solid, and with lots of wood instead of plastic. Como Audio’s Amico is like catnip for guys like me.
At first glance, it looks like compact bookshelf speaker. It’s unapologetically boxy, covered with genuine teak veneer, and the bottom half of the front face is dominated by a pair of black wire mesh speaker grills. The controls on front are honest to goodness rotary knobs made of anodized aluminum. There are six physical preset buttons. Around back is a bass port that does double duty as a carrying handle. There’s also a telescoping antenna—for the FM radio. There’s a door to access the rechargeable battery, which is user replaceable. A replaceable battery? That’s another vintage touch…
Integrated Display + Remote and App Control
Despite the vintage approach, the Amico is also packed with modern technology. Case in point: the 2.8-inch TFT color display. It’s particularly useful for displaying album artwork and track information. The display can also be used to navigate inputs, setup, and system settings, although I found the interface (which relies on the three control knobs) was a little awkward. No worries, though, because everything you need to do or adjust can be done more easily with the included remote control or with the Como Control mobile app.
While the Amico can be left in place and kept plugged into its power adapter, it is designed to be a portable speaker. The rechargeable Li-ion battery is good for roughly eight hours of use on a charge. As mentioned, the rear bass port makes a handy carrying handle. The case is wood, but it’s weather-resistant wood. The surface layer is teak veneer, and that covers 1/2-inch of marine-grade plywood. A silicon pad covers the bottom surface to prevent slippage and offer protection from wet surfaces.
It’s not specifically waterproof rated (although Como says they have tested the case in water for two weeks), and personally, I wouldn’t have it sitting outdoors in a downpour. But I have had the Amico outside in spitting rain, puddles, and even snow. The moisture did not affect performance and there has been no damage to the wood.
Como Audio Amico Keys Specs
• 30W Class D digital amplifier
• Custom 3-inch long-throw 4-layer voice coil woofer + 3/4-inch soft dome tweeter
• 2.8-inch TFT color display
• Bluetooth 4.1 A2DP with aptX and AAC
• 802.11n Wi-Fi
• Supports Internet Radio, Spotify Connect
• Multi-room capable
• High res AUX input (24-bit/192KHz), USB input
• FM radio, with telescoping antenna, RDS support
• 2200mAh Li-ion battery (user replaceable) rated at up to 8-hours playback
• Teak wood veneer over 1/2-inch marine-grade plywood substrate is weather resistant
• Includes remote control, power adapter, free mobile app (iOS and Android)
• 9.53 x 4.96 x 5.87-inches, weighs 4.5 pounds
Streaming and Multi-Room Audio Support
The Amico is equipped with several physical audio inputs including high-resolution AUX and USB. But it also includes both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, along with all the streaming options they offer. Bluetooth audio is high quality, with aptX and AAC support. The Amico includes Spotify Connect support and Internet Radio. With DLNA version 1.5, it can stream audio from a local media server.
If you’re into multi-room audio, you can use Como’s app to control multiple Como systems throughout the home. I tested it with a Musica system and the feature works as expected. For true stereo sound, you can pick up an Amica speaker for $129 (basically an Amico without the display), plug in the included 15-foot cable, and get stereo audio with amplification doubled to 60W.
The Wi-Fi connection is also utilized for software updates.
I’ve always found that wooden speaker enclosures offer a warmer sound than plastic, and the same is true with the Amico. Listening side-by-side with a traditional wireless speaker of a similar size and power output, the Amico sounds less sterile and not as bright.
The driver setup helps there as well. No full-range drivers and bass radiators, the Amico has a custom 3-inch woofer with a bass port for much better than average low-frequency support, while the soft dome tweeter keeps the high notes crisp. They’re driven by a 30W Class D digital amplifier and a custom DSP. That means music can get quite loud, but without becoming harsh or distorted at higher volumes.
Should You Buy the Amico?
There is a lot to like about the Amico, from the beautiful design to the premium materials, inclusion of FM radio plus the latest in wireless streaming technology, high performance audio, and the ability to easily replace its battery.
But I’ve saved what might be the best for last. At time of writing, the $399 price tag was reduced by $120 to $279. If you’re looking for a premium portable speaker that stands out from everything else in its class—in looks, capabilities, and performance—the Amico from Como Audio is pretty hard to resist, especially at $279.
Disclosure: Como Audio provided a speaker for evaluation but had no input into this review.