Reviews

Review: SONOS One (with Amazon Alexa)

Test Sonos One

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.

SVDMROOM_201412_980x260

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.

test-sonos-one-12

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.

test-sonos-one-alexa-01

The SONOS app may be used to install and activate Amazon Alexa.

test-sonos-one-alexa-02

An Amazon account (free) is necessary to use Alexa.

test-sonos-one-alexa-03

Voila, the SONOS One is up to date and compatible with Amazon Alexa.

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.

test-sonos-one-15

The SONOS One speaker is fitted with multiple microphones for vocal commands. The microphones may also be deactivated.

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.

Test Sonos One

Let the configuration of the SONOS One speaker begin…

test-sonos-one-02

The app lets you connect to a speaker which has already been set up or add a new device.

Test Sonos One

By adding the Sonos Boost router (optional), it is possible to create a Sonos only wireless network. Otherwise, the speaker will connect to the existing network.

Test Sonos One

Plug it, press the button on the SONOS One and the speaker is automatically detected.

Test Sonos One

Our smartphone transmitted the WiFi configuration parameters to the SONOS One speaker.

Test Sonos One

As soon as the installation process is complete, the speaker automatically checks for firmware updates.

Test Sonos One

Adding Google Play Music was extremely easy.

Test Sonos One

The playback interface lets you select favorites among a list of music services and adjust the speaker’s tone.

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.

test-sonos-one-11

The SONOS One speaker feels right at home anywhere in the house

Compared to…

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.

test-sonos-one-13

The SONOS One’s network connector.

Conclusion

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
This post is also available in: French

About the author

Tristan Jacquel

Tristan est rédacteur chez Son-Vidéo.com. Passionné de musique, d'acoustique et de high-tech, il réalise notamment les tests matériels pour notre blog.

Donnez votre avis !

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.