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HOME / Audio / Sonos One vs Play 1 – WiFi Speaker Review Comparison
Sonos One vs Play 1 – WiFi Speaker Review Comparison
What's the difference? And which is the best WiFi speaker?!
Sonos is the king of at-home audio and has built a tremendously loyal following for their products. The Play:1 is really the speaker that put them on the map, but with the advent of smart speakers, it was clear Sonos needed to adapt. Enter the Sonos One speaker. Here’s what you need to know about how they compare.
Sonos One vs Play:1 – Design Elements
In terms of design, they look very similar, as you’ve no doubt observed for yourself. They even have the same shape, size, and weight, however, the Sonos One is more refined with only a single button the back and touch-capacitive sensors on the top. The Sonos Play:1, on the other hand, has volume rocker buttons and a pause/play button on top. Neither has Bluetooth, an AUX port, or the ability to be used as a portable speaker. Basically, you can think of the Sonos One as an updated Play1 speaker.
Play:1 on the left. One on the right.
In terms of sound quality, they’re virtually the same. And that’s a good thing. Both speakers sound wonderful, with very balanced, crisp audio that gets extremely loud. Sonos really beats the pants off of a lot of Bluetooth speakers and home audio products.
Here’s a short video showing off the audio quality from both speakers.
And other thing that’s nice is that with all Sonos speakers [shop Sonos on Amazon] you can pair them together in the Sonos app for multi-room listening. It’s a pretty amazing experience to have the same song playing throughout your house and the volume levels are the same basically anywhere you go. One shortcoming, however, is that you can’t use the Sonos One and Play:1 for left or right channel audio. You can pair them together to play the same song, but not in stereo mode. You need either 2x One speakers or 2x Play:1 speakers to achieve stereo listening. Most people won’t care about this, but wanted to mention that just so you know.
What’s new with the Sonos One vs Play1?
Aside from a slightly updated design, from a functional standpoint, there’s two major updates to that you get with the Sonos One.
– Amazon Alexa voice assistant
– Sonos Boost
With the Sonos One, you can now control it via voice since it has Amazon Alexa built in. Think of the Sonos One as the Play:1 with an Amazon Echo Dot inside. You can command the speaker to play music for you from your favorite streaming services, including Amazon Music, Spotify, iHeartRadio, and many others. Below is a comprehensive list of supported streaming services. The big names like Spotify are supported via Alexa, while some of the smaller services like AccuRadio are only supported through the Sonos mobile app, as is the case with the Play1.
You can simply yell “Alexa, play country music” and the Sonos One will start playing your music. With the Sonos Play1, you also need the Echo Dot, Echo, or Echo Plus in order to achieve the same result. And this is actually new to the Play:1. For a long time Sonos was not even compatible with Amazon Alexa.
Beyond playing music you can ask Alexa to perform a number of tasks for you and answer various questions. Here’s a quick list of other things you might request of Alexa.
– Tell you about current weather and traffic conditions
– Ask about movies, news, sports, and more
– Control smart home products from hundreds of brands
– Create timers and alarms
– Shop via Amazon
– Unit conversion questions
And to be clear, you can do this natively with the Sonos One, but you need a separate device with the Play:1 in order to have access to Alexa. You can check prices for Echo devices on Amazon, but they’re generally between $30 and $150. We’ve found that the entire system works best with the Sonos One since it’s all integrated. The Play1 works wirelessly with an Echo device and sometimes there’s a little extra lag here and there. You need to download and enable the Sonos skill within the Alexa app and make sure your Play1 is fully updated and then you can use it with an Echo device.
Touch capacitive buttons on top.
Also, Google Assistant is supposedly coming soon to the Sonos One, so you’ll have two voice assistants to choose from.
The other practical improvement to the Sonos One is BOOST. Basically, if you have an unstable Wi-Fi connection or too many devices on your Wi-Fi, it might make sense to opt for BOOST setup versus standard setup with the Sonos One. This allows the One to create, essentially, it’s own Wi-Fi signal just for other Sonos products. You don’t have this option with the Play1, though you can purchase the Sonos Boost separately if you’d like. The Sonos Boost will cost you around $100 [check price on Amazon].
Conclusion – Why get Sonos One over Sonos Play 1?
For us, the Sonos One is the way to go. Having Alexa built-in is a game changer. And to date, this is the best sounding smart speaker on the market. If you need any more details, here’s the link to our Sonos One Review.
While the Sonos One is the newer speaker with Alexa built-in, the Play:1 is still a heck of a good speaker that’s worth your consideration. I personally own 2x Play1 speakers and 1x Sonos One speaker…and love them.
Sonos Play 1 vs One – Price difference
The Sonos One has an MSRP of $200 [check price on Amazon]while the Sonos Play:1 has received a price drop to where it’s around $150 now [check price on Amazon]. If you don’t care about Alexa or already have an Echo Dot, it might make sense just to save your money and get the Play:1 instead.
You’ll still have access to the Sonos app to control your music. You can still enable multi-room listening. And the speaker sounds great. So, if having Alexa built-in isn’t a big deal for you, the Play:1 might make sense.
Screenshot of Sonos mobile app
Sonos Play:1 vs One – What else?
That’s really it. The One is just an updated Play:1. Both are legit speakers. I bought two Play:1 speakers because I didn’t want Alexa in my bedroom. Therefore, I have my Sonos One in the kitchen and a Play:1 in my living room and bedroom. That way I can light my whole house up with music, but I only really control the system via Alexa in my kitchen. Otherwise, I just change my music in the Sonos app. The whole setup works great.