- Incredible audio quality
- Amazon Alexa built-in
- Sleek, modern design
- Built-in microphones do a good job of picking up commands
- Spotify voice control and Google Assistant coming in future
- No support for Audible audiobooks
- Can’t form stereo pair with existing PLAY:1
- Not a portable speaker and cannot be controlled via Bluetooth
The Sonos One is the best smart speaker available but it’s expensive.
Although there are a ton of smart speakers available these days (Amazon Echo, Google Home, FABRIQ Chorus come to mind), the one drawback has been the audio quality. Most people agree that the audio quality is just average with most of these speakers. But that’s all in the past now that the Sonos One has arrived – it’s really first smart speaker to offer incredible audio quality.
Design & Setup Process
The Sonos One pretty much as the same sleek, design as the popular PLAY:1 speaker from Sonos. However, the One has touch sensitive buttons on the top where you can adjust volume, skip tracks, pause/play and mute the microphone.
As far as the setup process, it’s pretty straight forward but it will take 10-15 minutes to fully set it up. You’ll need to download the Sonos mobile app, connect to the speaker, then connect to your Wi-Fi network and then from there you’ll start switching between various applications (i.e. logging into your Amazon account, logging into other 3rd party services like Pandora, setting up the Alexa skill, etc.). Basically just have all your passwords ready to go beforehand and the process will be a lot smoother.
It’s also worth noting that the Sonos One has an Ethernet port on the back in case you have poor WiFi or for what Sonos calls its BOOST setup. Basically, you can use the Ethernet port to setup a dedicated wireless network just for all your Sonos speakers so they don’t compete with other wireless devices (laptops, smartphones, etc.) on the same WiFi network. Also, this allows you to put Sonos speakers in a room that previously may have been out of your normal WiFi range (think upstairs back bedroom, basement, etc).
As I eluded to earlier what makes this speaker special is that it has Alexa built-in. That means you’ll be able to ask it questions, set alarms and ask for news and weather updates just as you would with an Echo or Echo Dot. And the built-in microphones are pretty good – it had no issues hearing my commands even when I was in the other room.
Right now, voice control is only set up for Amazon Music, TuneIn, Pandora, iHeart Radio and Sirius. Obviously missing from that list is Spotify but apparently Sonos will be adding voice control for Spotify users later this year. Then there’s a multitude of other third party services like Apple Music and a bunch of others that are supported but you’ll just have to use the Sonos app for those. You can see the full list of here.
Update (11/21/17) – You can now use Alexa voice assistant to play Spotify. In order to do so just select Spotify as your preferred music service within the Alexa app.
Also, next year is Sonos is supposedly adding Google Assistant so that way you can choose which voice control platform you want to use. Further, Apple AirPlay 2 is supposed to be coming in the future as well so you can control the speaker from any Siri enabled devices.
Bad news though, it doesn’t support Amazon’s Echo calling feature and you can’t form a stereo pair with an existing PLAY:1 speaker. That means if you want to setup stereo listening you’ll have to pony up and purchase an additional Sonos One speaker.
Audio Quality & Mobile App
Really the main reason why you’d get this speaker and where it separates itself from other smart speakers is its audio quality. Simply put, it’s incredible. It has good bass to begin with, the mids are flawless and the sound is very crisp and clear. We have no complaints whatsoever.
Plus, you can adjust the EQ settings for the speaker within the mobile app if you want. Sonos allows you to change the bass and treble. And just in general, the mobile app is pretty easy to use. That’s where you’ll connect all your different music services, add and control other Sonos speakers, change speaker names, etc. However, we did find that the app sometimes does lag a little. It’s kind of annoying but not a huge deal at the end of the day.
One thing that is missing with Sonos is that it cannot be controlled via Bluetooth (i.e. it is not a Bluetooth speaker).
As such, since there’s no direct support for Audible, there’s no real way to play your Audible audiobooks via the Sonos One.
UPDATE: As of late March 218, Sonos now works with Audible! You can learn more on Sonos.com.
With that said, Sonos does support (not via Alexa though) Audiobooks.com if that’s any consolation for you.
As you’d probably expect, the Sonos One is on the expensive side. It retails for $199 [see on Amazon]. Just for comparison purposes, here’s pricing for other popular smart speakers:
– Amazon Echo 2nd Gen: $100 [check price on Amazon]
– Google Home: $129 [check price at Walmart]
– Alexa Tap: $130 [check price on Amazon]
– FABRIQ Chorus: $100 [check price on Amazon]
Overall, we are big fans of the Sonos One. The audio quality is superb but we aren’t really convinced that it’s a must have. We see this more for people who are audiophiles or just really into having the absolute best audio available. For most though, the average audio quality of the Echo or Google Home will suffice, especially considering they are $70-$100 cheaper.