Sonos made multi-room speakers mainstream (in my opinion at least). They have a speaker for every type of room. Late last year they introduced the Sonos One, which was their first smart speaker. It has Amazon Alexa smart assistant. They sent over their Sonos One Smart speaker to review. Here are my thoughts after using it alongside their Play One speaker of similar size.
Sonos One Design
The Sonos One speaker doesn’t stray too much from the Sonos Play One Speaker. It’s about the same size and similar colorways. The Sonos One comes in all black or all white (the Play One comes in black or white with speaker grille in grey. The speaker has six microphones to help hear the Alexa command.
Check out our review of the Sonos Playbase HERE
There are no physical buttons. Just a capacitive control board on top. It has a microphone mute button. Like with other Alexa-enabled speakers, the mute button prevents you from activating the speaker with “Hey Alexa”.
There are two LED lights on the speaker. One for power indication. In the form of a small bar (a centimeter or two). It’s stays on when powered. It indicates status with the color. It shows if it’s connected to your network, blinks when you call it (hey Alexa). The other light is a small dot under the microphone icon. When it’s on, the microphone is on. And when it’s off, the speaker is muted.
Directly under the power indicator light, you have the play/ pause button. To the right of that button you have volume up, and to the left of it, you have volume down. If you swipe from left to right, you can go forward a track. As expected, if you swipe from right to left you go back a track.
What you won’t find in the Sonos One speaker is the mounting screw the Play One speaker has. Not sure if it’s just for design purposes, to prevent you from mounting the speaker in a place where the microphones won’t work as well, or both.
Since I already had a pair of Sonos Play 1 speakers, adding the One smart assistant speaker wasn’t so bad. It’s not as easy as a quick plug and play, but not difficult to figure out. For setup you go into your Sonos account, then “Add Player”. During setup, once you get to the voice services activation, the app will direct you to the Alexa app to enable the “Sonos skill”.You tune the One speaker with the room. If you decide to move it to another room, Sonos will suggest for you to retune it. If you need help setting up your One speaker, you can go HERE for detailed instructions.
You can’t deny the great sound of Sonos speakers. Especially in the compact size. The Sonos One is their only smart speaker. It’s the smallest speaker in the Sonos family. The One is great for smaller rooms, just like the Play:1. It’s best used in the kitchen, small bedroom. It can even be used in the bathroom. It can handle humidity, but it’s not meant to be soaked. From Sonos, “Sonos One is backed by a pair of Class-D amplifiers and custom-built drivers, meticulously tuned to the speaker’s unique acoustic architecture.” The One is great speaker to listen to in a small room. The speaker may be small but it does a great job of filling up the space.
The obvious feature of the Sonos One is the Alexa smart assistant. You could ask it most of the questions you ask an Alexa device. When I had it in the kitchen, I usually asked it for the weather and measurement conversions. Of course I’d ask it to play tracks when my hands were dirty.
Even though you can’t pair the One speaker with other Sonos Play speakers, you can control them using the One Speaker. What I mean by that is, you can tell your Sonos One speaker to play a song on one of your other Sonos speakers. For example, “Hey Alexa, play Off the Wall in the Living Room” (that’s “Living Room” being Sonos Play: 1 speakers). It works well, and I like that it has upgraded my Sonos multi-room system.
Unfortunately it doesn’t come with ability to make phone calls. It’s only for Amazon devices. That might be a deal breaker for some when deciding between better sound or more features. Calling with the smart speaker isn’t a big deal for me, so, meh. I hope the Google Assistant update comes soon. I’d like to command it to play music on Play Music, since I have a premium account there too, along with Spotify.
Sonos updated their mobile app. They gave it a huge overhaul in version 8.0. It made the app much cleaner and easier to navigate. They keep on up
Pricing and Availability
Right now you can get the Sonos One for $199. Right now they have a deal where you can get 2 Ones for $349. Presumably it’s to compete with Apple’s $350 HomePod, and Google’s Home Max smart assistant speakers. I think it’s competitively priced, since Sonos won’t go lower than $149 (Play: 1) on their speakers. You can get it on Sonos website
If you already have Play 1 speakers, you shouldn’t be too pressed on getting the One. You can just add an Echo Dot and call it a day. If you’re looking to add a smaller speaker to your Sonos multi-room system, I suggest going with the One. Sonos has continuously updated the app, and they will continue to. It’s nice to know they will keep on fixing the current features and adding new ones.