Sonos One Reviews: Premium Sound Partners Well With Alexa, Although Voice Commands Limited at Launch

Earlier in October, Sonos announced its new smart speaker device, called the Sonos One, which will launch On October 24 with support for Amazon's Alexa voice assistant. The Sonos One allows users to control the speaker entirely through voice, providing smart speaker capabilities into a music-focused device, similar to Apple's marketing for the upcoming HomePod.

Ahead of the October 24 launch, reviews for the Sonos One have been posted online, with many sites giving the new speaker a favorable review thanks to Sonos' expected high-quality playback, which becomes particularly useful with Alexa controls. Still, those voice commands are limited at launch with only a few music services supporting Alexa, making the Sonos One slightly harder to recommend for users not already in the Amazon ecosystem.

Engadget said that the Sonos One provides "significantly better" music quality than the likes of Google Home and Amazon Echo "without breaking the bank" at $199. The site elaborated that the Sonos One uses the same audio hardware as the company's Play:1 speaker, so users can expect "clear, dynamic and loud sound" when playing music, although the "low end is not as strong as what you'll get from larger (and more expensive) speakers."

Photo by Nathan Ingraham via Engadget

Engadget wrapped up by noting that while the speaker stumbled occassionally with voice controls and lacks support for Spotify voice commands and Google Assistant at launch, it's still "the best-sounding smart speaker you can buy."
The Play:1 has been Sonos' best-selling speaker, and with good reason. It offers significantly better music quality than your average Bluetooth or smart speaker, at a reasonable price. It's also a great first step into a multi-speaker setup for your home. The Sonos One does all of that and adds voice controls without raising the price. Those voice controls may have a few bugs to work out, but aside from one frustrating afternoon, it worked well for me.

The Sonos One is a great way for most people to significantly upgrade their audio setup while also getting the convenience of voice controls. I wish that both Spotify voice commands and the Google Assistant were supported at launch, but this speaker will keep getting more features through upcoming software updates. Given that, I have no problem recommending it now. It'll work right out of the box as an Alexa-enabled device, it'll support more music services over time and it's a great way to dip your feet into the Sonos ecosystem. Just don't be surprised if you end up wanting to buy a few more.
The Verge broke down the supported music services on the Sonos One, commenting that voice commands at launch (through Alexa) are only supported with Pandora, Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and SiriusXM. Spotify users will gain access "soon," but any Apple Music or Tidal subscribers will have to start playback through the Sonos app, and after that they can use Alexa to control the songs.

Photo by Chris Welch via The Verge
There are some early frustrations and missing features that prevent the Sonos One from being a perfect marriage between Sonos sound and Alexa’s voice smarts. You can’t yet play music from Spotify with Alexa, but I’ve been told that’s coming “soon.” Other services, such as Apple Music and Tidal, are absent with no ETA, and it’s quite possible that they’ll never support voice playback. They all work perfectly fine through the Sonos app, and once music is playing from any service, Alexa can always pause, skip tracks, adjust volume, or tell you what song or artist is playing. But the bottom line is that, at least for now, Alexa is unable to play anything from your Spotify library. Instead, you’ve got Pandora, Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and SiriusXM to work with out of the box.
In 2018, Sonos One will also update with support for AirPlay 2, and then iOS users will be able to more easily control music playback with the speaker. While many interesting features are promised for future updates, The Verge still gave the speaker a score of 8 out of 10 and said, "Even with the Spotify situation factored in, I’ve found the Sonos One to be good enough in most other places to earn a solid recommendation if you’re looking to spend a couple hundred bucks on an in-home speaker."

Like a few reviews, Wired mentioned a convoluted setup process that requires you to switch between the Alexa and Sonos apps multiple times, further pointing out that any device trying to seamlessly connect two ecosystems is "sure to stumble occasionally." Still, the site was a fan of the new speaker, stating that the "key point" of any Sonos product remains: "the One is a great-sounding Sonos speaker," and voice controls -- while limited -- are still a bonus.
This new $199 speaker takes the current Alexa-Sonos relationship and removes the complexity. You could think of it as an Echo with much improved sound. It does all of the Alexa things, but it's foremost a Sonos speaker, so it does all the Sonos things too—it works as part of a multi-room system, it streams from scores of services, and it obeys the company's controller apps. The One has some faults. Amazon world and Sonos world are two nuanced and complex domains, and any device that attempts to bridge the two is sure to stumble occasionally. But the key point remains: The One is a great-sounding Sonos speaker, and that's reason enough to consider one. It also so happens that you can command it with your voice.
Many reviews compared the Sonos One to Google's and Apple's upcoming products, which compete in the same high-quality music playback area but have noticeable differences in price. While the Sonos One will cost $199 when it launches next week, Apple's HomePod will run for $349, and the Google Home Max will be priced even higher at $399, with both latter products debuting in December. For more of the latest HomePod news and information, be sure to check out our HomePod Roundup.

More Sonos One reviews can be found at the following sites: The Independent, The Wall Street Journal, VentureBeat, Digital Trends, 9to5Mac, SlashGear, TechHive, and Mashable.

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Sonos Rivals HomePod With New Assistant Speaker, Adding AirPlay 2 Support to Speakers Next Year

Sonos today introduced the Sonos One, an all-new smart speaker with six far-field microphones that allow it to work with digital assistants.


Sonos One can be controlled entirely with voice. At launch, it will support Amazon Alexa in the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom, including full voice support for Prime Music, iHeartRadio, Pandora, SiriusXM, and TuneIn. Alexa voice control for Spotify will be coming soon after launch.

Google Assistant support will be added in 2018, making the Sonos One the first smart speaker with support for multiple major assistants.

Sonos One can play music from more than 80 streaming services, including popular ones like Apple Music, Spotify, Google Play Music, Tidal, and Pandora. In addition, it supports other traditional Alexa capabilities related to the weather, timers, news and traffic reports, the latest sports scores, and more.


Sonos is releasing a free software update today that will enable many of its existing speakers to be controlled with Alexa as well. In the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom, Sonos owners can use any Alexa-enabled device like the Echo or Echo Dot to control the speaker with voice commands.

Sonos also announced that it will begin supporting Apple's AirPlay 2 in 2018, making it possible to play any sound from an iOS device on Sonos speakers. Apple users will also be able to control music on Sonos speakers with any Siri-enabled device, such as an iPhone, iPad, and the HomePod once it launches.

Sonos One comes in black or white, weighs four pounds, and has an illuminated LED indicator light to ensure you are always aware when the speaker's microphone is active. The speaker connects to a home's Wi-Fi network, and it also has one 10/100 Mbps Ethernet port for those who prefer a wired connection.

The speaker features premium audio quality, with two Class-D digital amplifiers tuned to match the speaker drivers and acoustic architecture, one tweeter, one mid-woofer, adjustable bass and treble controls, and a six far-field microphone array used for advanced beamforming and echo cancellation.

Sonos One will be available starting Tuesday, October 24 for $199 in the United States. Pre-orders start today.

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Sonos Rumored to Be Planning Voice-Controlled Smart Speaker Similar to HomePod and Echo

Sonos is gearing up to launch an all-new smart speaker that includes voice control functionality fueled by far-field microphones, picking up on user commands from anywhere in a room. The information was discovered in a filing with the FCC (via Zatz Not Funny), and hints that Sonos could be yet another company planning to enter the smart speaker market, following Amazon, Google, and Apple this December with HomePod.

The Sonos speaker will support "multiple voice platforms and music services," but the filing didn't specify which assistants and services that might be. Sonos has recently been gearing up for a wide integration with Amazon Echo, so Alexa could be a possibility. Sonos products are sold at Apple's retail and online stores, but that's not exactly an indication that a new Sonos voice-enabled speaker would include Siri support, especially since such a high-end music speaker would be a direct competitor to HomePod come December.

HomePod's various Apple Music commands

Zatz Not Funny theorized that the FCC filing hints at a "refresh of their [Sonos's] entire speaker line," as well as a touch surface or button of some kind to activate the voice assistant. Otherwise, the report is heavily redacted, leaving details sparse. The snippet referencing the new Sonos speaker reads as follows:
The EUT is 802.11 a/b/g/n (HT20) Client Device. Product model S13 is a high-performance all-in-one wireless smart speaker and part of Sonos’ home sound system. S13 adds integrated voice control functionality with far field microphones. Moreover, the device will support multiple voice platforms and music services, allowing customers to effortlessly control their music on Sonos.
A Variety report earlier in August suggested a similar product might be launching from Sonos soon, with changes to the company's privacy policy appearing to lay the groundwork for an internet-connected, voice assistant speaker of some kind. A private beta test is currently underway for users to test controlling Sonos speakers through Amazon Echo devices, but a Sonos spokesperson confirmed to Variety that its privacy policy now covers "future voice experiences" on its own unreleased products that will have "integrated microphones."

An image of the Sonos voice speaker's control panel, including a microphone icon

According to this policy, the unannounced Sonos speaker will continuously monitor the ambient noise of a home for command terminology spoken by the user, "without retaining or transmitting any voice recordings." The device will notify the user that it is recording thanks to a "visual indicator such as a light on the Product."

If Sonos does enter the smart speaker market, it'll be at a busy time for new voice-controlled home speakers. Amazon is rumored to be working on an Echo successor that would more directly compete with Apple's HomePod. Because Apple billed the HomePod as a high-quality music playback device first and foremost, sources close to Amazon's product development have mentioned that the company is focusing on significantly improving the Echo's sound quality, as well as enhancing its far-field voice technology.

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