The SONOS One wireless speaker is the new version of the SONOS Play:1. Except for a few esthetic differences, the Sonos One reprises the acoustic design of its predecessor and adds Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant. Is the speaker easy to control using the voice assistant and what can one expect from voice command’
SONOS: the competition
There is no need to introduce SONOS, whose audio ecosystem, comprised of speakers, soundbars, and a subwoofer, allows users to set up a stereo configuration, a home theater installation, or a multiroom system. The possibility of streaming a single track over all of the Sonos speakers in the house is embedded in the Sonos DNA. The SONOS One may be controlled using the Sonos app for Android and iOS.
LFor a long time, the main asset of Sonos speakers was ensuring compatibility with absolutely all music streaming services. To this day, very few competitors are able to do the same. Google Cast stands out from the competition but rumor has it that SONOS will update the firmware to add Google Cast compatibility before the end of the year. Denon and Marantz both implemented Heos multiroom technology, Yamaha added MusicCast to its products, and Bluesound developed BluOS for multiroom installations. All have emulated SONOS without ever managing to surpass the leader of the market. Nevertheless, it is important to mention that, once again, SONOS decided to pass on HD sound, which is not especially a drawback for a wireless speaker of this size as the difference would be hardly audible.
SONOS One: presentation
The SONOS One speaker features a digital 2-way amplifier driving a midbass driver and a small dome tweeter. Touch keys located on top of the speaker allow the user to control the speaker. The SONOS One may be connected to the local network using one of two methods: via an Ethernet cable (the speaker comes with a cable) or wirelessly. Surprisingly enough, the integrated WiFi controller is only compatible with the 2.4 GHz frequency band, and not with the 5 GHz frequency band. As a result, we recommend using the Ethernet cable to connect the SONOS One to the network as this frequency range is often used by other devices. If you prefer a wireless connection, a WiFi repeater such as the SONOS Boost might help with transmission issues. Lastly, the SONOS One speaker doesn’t feature an input.
SONOS One: Alexa voice control
The main novelty feature introduced by the SONOS One wireless speaker is the Amazon Alexa vocal assistant. This built-in technology uses multiple microphones to pick up vocal commands. It is recommended to update the SONOS One speaker to ensure compatibility with Amazon Alexa. Nothing complicated here, as the SONOS mobile app guides the user through every step of the process.
Just ask the speaker to play a song, playlist, or tune-in to a radio station and the SONOS app will search for your request in previously entered music services. In our case, we selected Google Play Music. The vocal assistant is similar to Google Assistant and offers comparable results.
SONOS One: testing conditions
Installing the SONOS One is a rather pleasant experience. We decided to connect the speaker to our WiFi network in order to make the installation process a bit more “complicated”. Nevertheless, the configuration process was still a breeze as the SONOS app is very well designed and guides the user step by step. Adding online music services was also child’s play.
SONOS One: listening impressions
The SONOS One sounds just like the SONOS Play:1. With the loudness mode activated, the sound restitution is solid and enjoyable. Because the midbass driver is loaded in a sealed enclosure, it is recommended to adjust the amplifier’s EQ accordingly. However, the driver’s cone must be pretty hefty, because the speaker packs some punch in the high-bass. The mids are not overly sharp and the highs are clear enough to ensure precise sound restitution. By itself, the speaker can only establish a confined and rather shallow soundstage, but is more than sufficient for background music in a kitchen or an office.
Onkyo G3: the sound restitution is comparable but the Onkyo speaker is compatible with Chromecast and features a 5 Ghz WiFi controller as well as a Bluetooth receiver. It is more versatile but cannot be included in a 5.1 system like the SONOS One.
Google Home: the sound signature of the SONOS One is more balanced with tighter bass and better sound restitution at high volume.
The SONOS One is an easy-going speaker with a pleasant sound signature. Its control app is well designed and user-friendly. The vocal commands are responsive and effective.
What we liked:
- The balanced sound
- The touch keys
- The user-friendly design
- The Amazon Alexa voice playback control
What we would have liked:
- A 2.4 and 5 GHz WiFi controller
- Funnier jokes from Alexa