Is the Como Audio Duetto for you?
When it comes to technology products, we’re always looking towards the next big thing. Sometimes, however, the best products are the ones that combine yesterday’s style with current trends.
Como Audio tabletop radios look every bit like they were designed decades ago. These retro-looking speakers, however, are all 21st century on the inside.
I recently had the opportunity to test the Como Audio Duetto, one of the first products launched by the Boston-based company. Here’s my review of this most interesting product and the company behind it.
Say Hello to the Como Audio Duetto
Any review of the Duetto wouldn’t be complete without first having a brief look at the company behind it. Though it just launched in 2016, Como Audio comes with some impressive DNA. The company was founded by Tom DeVesto, a leading voice in the consumer electronics market for the past 40 years.
Over the years, DeVesto helped launch some fascinating products, including Advent and Kloss Video big screen TVs, stereo systems by Cambridge SoundWorks, and most recently, Tivoli Audio.
As Como Audio explains on its website, regardless of the product, “DeVesto never loses sight of the goal: make a high-quality product that supports the latest technology — is simple to operate – has distinctive design – takes up a small amount of space – and doesn’t become obsolete.”
Perhaps the best way to review the Como Audio Duetto is by looking at it through these five points.
Quality and Design
One of the first things you’ll recognize about the Duetto is its attention to detail. First, to emphasize its retro credentials, the Duetto is outfitted with either furniture-quality veneer (walnut or hickory) or piano gloss in white or black. (I received my Duetto in white.)
Regardless of the color, the Duetto includes six radio preset pushbuttons above the display, with three others below. These buttons feel solid and are made to stand the test of time.
On either side of the display, you’ll find the speakers, which are rock solid both in their craftsmanship and output.
About that display
When first turned on (and when you aren’t listening to music), the Duetto’s 3.2-inch TFT color display shows an analog clock face that would make any 1950s sitcom star swoon. The display isn’t high-definition, nor is it a touchscreen. On paper, at least, this looks like an huge oversight on Como Audio’s part. However, it really isn’t.
Once you push the leftmost knob on the device, you”ll quickly recognize this speaker is amazingly modern.
So much technology
The Como Audio Duetto’s biggest selling point, besides its unique style, is its ability to listen to music from just about any source. These sources include online sources such as Spotify Connect and internet radio; content from your (DLNA, NAS) or smartphone (via Bluetooth or NFC); files from a USB drive (AAC, FLAC, MP3, WMA, and WAV files); or FM radio (DAB/DAB+ and FM RDS).
You can use the six preset buttons to have easy access to your favorite music, regardless of its location.
There are two other ways to access and control your content, the included remote and through the iOS/Android Como Control app.
The infrared remote, which would certainly be out of place on “Leave It To Beaver,” allows you to turn the device on/off, adjust the volume, play/pause, etc. The app lets you choose your music source and volume, view internet radio stations and Spotify Connect artwork, see metadata, when available, tune stations, adjust equalization, set the time, and more.
If there’s one thing lacking on the Duetto, it’s support for Apple Music. However, this says more about Apple’s closed system than it does about Como Audio. Spotify Connect, which is available on numerous audio devices, works amazingly well on the Duetto, right down to the artwork that shows up automatically on the display when songs are playing.
Using the Como Audio Duetto day-to-day is an easy process, whether it’s with the buttons and display, through the app, or via the remote. The setup process is a little bit more complicated, however.
Depending on the source you choose, be sure to have a copy of your owner’s manual nearby. Otherwise, you could quickly get confused going back and forth between screens. Here’s one area where a touchscreen would come in handy, although, for long-term use, it’s not a big deal.
Measuring 142mm x 370mm 190mm, including feet and antenna, the Duetto is big enough to be noticed but small enough that it doesn’t feel like it’s invading your space. It weighs just 3 kg or 6.6 pounds.
What about the sound?
Despite its relatively small size, the Duetto packs plenty of sounds thanks to its 30-watt-per-channel (RMS) Class D amplifier, a pair of 19mm soft dome tweeters, and two 3-inch long-throw woofers. It also includes a rear bass port that works great with lower frequencies.
The bass from the Duetto isn’t exactly head-pounding, although that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise given its styling.
Whole Home Solution
The Duetto has been designed to become part of a whole-home solution that includes other Como Audio speakers. Using the Como Control app, you can play the same music across all of your devices, or something different. I wasn’t able to test this feature, however.
The bottom line
I quickly fell in love with the Duetto and hope to experience other Como Audio products soon, including the recently announced Musica and Amico.
To me, the Como Audio Duetto’s two biggest selling points are compatibility and style. You can play music on the Duetto from just about anywhere, including your iPhone and iPad, or elsewhere. While you do, you can appreciate the device’s iconic beauty, a detail that’s missing on many current-generation speakers.