Whereas Amazon’s Alexa was as soon as out there solely on Echo units and Google Assistant was restricted to sure Android telephones, the favored voice assistants are popping up in all places now. The Sonos One is one such place you will discover them each. The $199 wi-fi speaker is successfully the identical because the Sonos Play:1, with the additional advantage of a microphone array that allows you to use Alexa similar to it was an Echo. If that is not sufficient, Google Assistant can be heading to the One sooner or later, making it one of many first platform-agnostic voice assistant audio system. It additionally sounds wonderful, and earns our Editors’ Alternative for its efficiency and flexibility.
At a look, the One may very well be simply mistaken for the Play:1. It shares the identical espresso can-like design, measuring 6.three by four.7 by four.7 inches (HWD) in a squarish near-cylinder. The speaker is accessible in black or white, with a grille that runs virtually your complete method round its sides. The highest is a clean, stable cap that provides virtually an inch of top previous the grille. The edges of the grille cease on the again, leaving room for a large, stable strip that holds an Ethernet port and setup button. The facility connector plugs into the underside, in a recess with a channel that lets the cable run out of the again, below the Ethernet port.
Whereas the One shares an analogous profile with the Play:1, its bodily controls are utterly completely different. As an alternative of a contoured high panel with mechanical buttons for playback and quantity, the One makes use of a totally flat high panel with touch-sensitive controls. A play/pause icon sits within the center, flanked by two four-dot icons on both facet. These icons are the One’s contact controls, letting you play/pause and regulate quantity by tapping, or skip tracks by swiping. An indicator mild sits above the play/pause icon, with a smaller microphone standing mild above that. A microphone icon above permits you to mute the mic when you don’t need a voice assistant listening in.
Like all different Sonos audio system, the One helps multi-room, whole-home music playback by way of the Sonos app. Whereas Sonos would not use an open system like Google Forged, the corporate has constructed probably the most sturdy and broadly supported proprietary multi-room music platform available on the market.
The Sonos app works with 49 completely different streaming music companies, together with Amazon Music, Apple Music, Google Play Music, Pandora, SiriusXM, and Spotify. You too can play music regionally saved in your smartphone, pill, or pc (Sonos Controller software program is accessible on Android, iOS, Mac, and PC). That huge assist ought to cowl your whole music wants, which helps take the sting out of the One’s lack of Bluetooth or any wired audio connections.
Sonos’ multi-room system additionally helps establishing a number of Sonos audio system in the identical room, and you’ll even pair two Ones collectively as a stereo set. You too can join two One audio system with a Sonos Playbar or Playbase to function encompass sound satellites, similar to the Play:1.
The One’s greatest change over the Play:1, and its key promoting level in contrast with different Sonos audio system, is assist for voice assistants. At launch, you may join the One to your Amazon account and use the Alexa voice assistant, letting you deal with it like an Echo. Arms-free voice management permits you to ask the One to play music or carry out any supported Alexa process simply by saying “Alexa.”
For music, this implies straightforward voice-controlled entry to Amazon Music Limitless and Prime Music, if you happen to subscribe to both service. You too can inform Alexa to tune into virtually any streaming web radio station by way of TuneIn and iHeartRadio. Spotify entry by way of Alexa is ready to be added, however was not enabled once we examined the speaker.
Alexa’s informative voice assistant options are additionally out there on the Sonos One. You’ll be able to ask easy questions on climate, sports activities, information, normal details, and unit conversions, and the speaker will present the reply. Third-party Alexa expertise are additionally out there, similar to on an Echo gadget, so you may arrange something from language translation to ordering pizza. These expertise should be enabled by way of the Alexa app, not the speaker itself, however as soon as they’re loaded you are good to go.
When you have sensible house units which might be suitable with Alexa, you should use the Sonos One to manage them together with your voice. I used to be capable of activate, flip off, and dim a Philips Hue White Ambiance bulb utilizing the One with relative ease. Setting these units as much as work with Alexa requires some digging and registration for particular person companies by way of the Alexa app, and the method can differ between completely different sensible house programs, nevertheless it’s the identical set of steps it’s important to undergo with any speaker in Amazon’s Echo lineup.
Whereas the Sonos One launches with Alexa assist, assist for Google Assistant is deliberate for 2018. That ought to give it the identical capabilities as a Google House speaker.
The One can get fairly loud for its dimension, however you should not count on highly effective low-end to come back out of its small body. It simply outshines comparably priced voice assistant audio system just like the Amazon Echo and Google House, and stands by itself in opposition to its predecessor, the Play:1. Barely bigger audio system can get louder, and a few just like the JLab Block Occasion even assist multi-room playback, however these options lack any voice assistant assist.
The speaker struggled a bit with our bass check observe, The Knife’s “Silent Shout.” At high volumes, the bass synth notes and kick drum hits distorted a bit, inflicting a little bit of crunchiness within the ideally flat, constant sounds. That is much like what we heard with the Play:1, and you may get round it by dialing the amount dial barely. To the One’s credit score, it produces some considerable sub-bass rumble.
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Sure’ “Roundabout” sounds wonderful on the Sonos One, displaying off the speaker’s sound signature. The low-mids and highs are boosted a bit, which provides the electrical bass a great quantity of punch and presence and lets the feel of the guitar strings actually come by way of. Vocals stand cleanly within the entrance of the combo, guaranteeing that each side of the dense observe will get a few of your consideration. The high-mids and highs are pushed up maybe a bit overzealously, which provides some life to the guitar plinks however pushes the decrease frequences simply barely additional again than they need to be.
Talking of dense mixes and robust high-frequency response, KMFDM’s “Extremely” sounds correctly energetic on the One. The guitar shredding will get a lot of the prominence, however the cacophonous industrial bassline stays current, and the hissed and growled vocals come by way of clearly.
Erasure’s “Chains of Love” is represented extraordinarily effectively right here. The drums get loads of presence, with a great quantity of poppy thump typical with an 80s backbeat. The synths and vocals are clear and clear, standing out within the combine with out overpowering the drums, letting all the observe’s parts come collectively in ideally blended synthpop bliss.
The Sonos One is a worthy and superior improve to the Play:1 (which, curiously, remains to be out there for a similar $199). It has all the Play:1’s wonderful options and sound efficiency, with the additional advantage of Alexa and the promise of Google Assistant sooner or later. And it is head and shoulders above different voice assistant audio system on this worth vary, just like the Amazon Echo and Google House. The forthcoming Apple HomePod and Google House Max are bigger and presumably extra highly effective Siri- and Google Assistant-equipped audio system, however they’re every about twice the value of the Sonos One. Should you simply desire a small, highly effective speaker for straightforward multi-room audio, the JLab Block Occasion is a inexpensive various that makes use of a Bluetooth mesh system reasonably than Wi-Fi. Within the $200 vary, nonetheless, the Sonos One is definitely one of the best and most versatile voice assistant speaker out there, and our Editors’ Alternative.