The Sonos One is one of the best smart speakers out there with a lower premium price but top-end specs and superb smarts, this is the one to beat.
Sonos One: What you need to know
- $199 price
- Alexa and Google Assistant
- AirPlay 2 support
The Sonos One is primarily a high-quality multi-room speaker but now it's also a smart speaker thanks to support for all the main AI brains from Amazon's Alexa to Google Assistant.
Quality components mean you get high-quality and powerful audio in a compact package. A series of microphones also means you can enjoy smart assistant voice controls from anywhere in the room without losing your voice shouting to get attention.
The key here is that you get to have high quality sound that works with Google or Amazon smart speakers, allowing you to multi-room with any existing hardware you may already have invested in. So is this the smart speaker for you?
Sonos One: Design and build
- Two Class-D amps
- Far-field noise cancelling mics
- Mid-range woofer
The Sonos One is a compact and attractive speaker that stands 6.3-inches tall surrounded by a permeable grille and topped by touchscreen controls. These allow you to play, pause, change tracks and volume control the speaker while the white LED lights show you if the speaker is listening. If these lights are off then you know mute mode is on and the speaker isn't listening.
On the back is an Ethernet port allowing you to wire the speaker into your network directly if you have that option.
The speaker comes with a six microphone array to pick up voice commands using smart echo cancellation tech.
Inside are two Class-D amplifiers with a mid woofer and tweeter for enough hardware to create a balanced sound.
Sonos One: Features
- AirPlay 2 support
- Google Assistant and Alexa
- Multi-room support
The Sonos One is all about the smart voice controls although you do have to pick a side, be it Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. You can't just call out to the one you want, it needs to be setup with that assistant. Of course you can change if you want and it's nice to have the option of both, but likely you'll stick with the one you use on your phone or the one you already have smart speakers for, that allow this to multi-room with.
The multi-room functionality of Sonos is something that's a huge appeal here since it works so well. With a single Spotify account you can sling music to all the speakers in your home, a certain group you've sectioned off, or separate songs to separate speakers. Despite advances from Google and Alexa, this is still the best multi-room speaker system out there. You even get AirPlay 2 support that you can control from Siri on your iPhone.
Want to use the speaker for more than music? Sonos has you covered there too as this can be used as part of a stereo pair or, if you use the Sonos Amp, you can make a 4.1 surround system adding a subwoofer into the mix too.
Sonos One: Performance
- Excellent bass
- TruePlay auto calibration
- Great voice detection
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The Sonos One is sonically superb, one of the best sounding speakers at this price bracket thanks to the broad range of hardware inside the unit as well as professionally tuned composition. The addition of TruePlay means you can adjust it to suit the space the speaker lives in too. While it's not as easy as some of the competition that can do it automatically - this requires a smartphone app to tune - it can adjust audio well.
When it comes to bass, the power is remarkable for a speaker of this size, pumping out rich and full-bodied beats without overshadowing the rest of the audio. That is thanks to a broad soundstage that allows you to hear the variation between the surprisingly clear vocal and the drums and guitars of a band, for example.
The voice clarity is fantastic which is a real draw here for anyone looking to create a stereo pair that they use with their TV to enhance listening of shows.
On the subject of voice, those six microphones pick up vocal commands really well making this a very capable Google Assistant or Alexa powered smart speaker. Control the smart home, play music, ask questions, track meetings, check the weather - it does the lot. Worth a mention is the One's ability to hear you even when music is loud, which is something not all smart speakers manage and can otherwise be annoying.
Should I buy the Sonos One?
If your budget is fairly decent and you want a high-end audio experience with the option to expand with more multi-room speakers, then the One is perfect. It sounds even better than the price would suggest, looks great anywhere, works with both main voice assistants and is always getting future-proof updates.
If you want to be a bit more mobile, the Sonos Move that is battery powered and auto tunes totally independently, could be for you, but expect to pay near double the price.
Sonos One: Verdict
The Sonos One is a really capable speaker for its size and price and the ability to pair it with more makes it a real home system centrepiece. The smart assistants work really well allowing you to get a high-end speaker with the latest voice controls without the compromise on quality.
There are larger and more powerful speakers, like the Google Home Max. There are smaller and more affordable options, like the Amazon Alexa Dot with Clock. But there are nearly no other speakers that do a bit of everything so well at this price point - this is the smart speaker to beat.