Sonos One review: A better sounding smart speaker

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Jeff Dunn

Sonos is lastly girding itself for the sensible speaker wars. With Amazon’s Echo line of audio system proving a shock hit and the utilization of digital assistants rising typically, wi-fi speaker pioneer Sonos has launched its first voice-enabled speaker, the Sonos One. This $199 system faucets in to the identical Alexa assistant that Amazon crops in its personal ; sooner or later in 2018, Sonos says it is going to add help for the rival Google Assistant as properly.

It is usually accepted that present sensible audio system just like the Echo and Google Home, the units for which such assistants are primarily designed, are mediocre when used as audio system. Given Sonos’ status for delivering above-average audio high quality, the hope is that the One gives the smarts of an Echo (and, finally, a Home) with out skimping on sound.

In some ways, that’s precisely what the Sonos One does. It runs circles across the Echo and Home within the audio division, and it does practically all the identical “Alexa things” you are able to do with an Amazon-made system. The One is sensible for somebody who has a set of Sonos audio system already and is curious to see how an Echo-like machine would match into their life-style.

At the identical time, Spotify customers will shortly discover that the One isn’t completely completed at launch. (We element the problems with Spotify playback beneath.) And most of what’s good about it additionally applies to Sonos’ Play:1 speaker, which has been round for years. Finally, whereas Sonos’ method to speaker management stays straightforward for anybody to select up, the corporate nonetheless has a behavior of forcing customers to do issues on its phrases.

The

Goodbye, physical buttons.
Enlarge / Goodbye, bodily buttons.

Jeff Dunn

The Sonos One appears to be like, for essentially the most half, like a mildly redesigned Sonos Play:1. It’s the identical measurement (6.36 x four.69 x four.69 in) and weight (four.08 lbs) as its predecessor, and it shares the identical squat rectangular form, its rounded sides blanketed with a big speaker grille. A proprietary energy plug sits flush with the underside of the system, whereas the again has an Ethernet port and a reset button. It’s not actually a wi-fi speaker; the One works over Wi-Fi, but it surely must be plugged into an outlet, identical to an Echo or some other Sonos speaker earlier than it.

Specs at a look: Sonos One
Size 6.36 x four.69 x four.69 inches
Weight four.08 lbs
Amplifier Two Class-D digital amplifiers
Speakers One mid-woofer, one tweeter
Connectivity 802.11 b/g 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, one 10/100 Mbps Ethernet port
Supported Audio Formats MP3, WMA, AAC, OGG, FLAC, ALAC, AIFF, WAV
Supported OS iOS, Android, Mac, Windows
Supported Voice Assistants Amazon Alexa (Google Assistant deliberate for 2018)
Supported Voice-Controlled Music Services Amazon Music, Pandora, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, SiriusXM (Spotify deliberate for late 2017)
Price $199, £199, €229
Release Date October 24

The entire factor is available in an all-white or all-black end; each of them characteristic that understated, mature aesthetic that Sonos has gotten down pat through the years. People is not going to confuse the One with an air freshener. It feels easy and solidly constructed, with simply the correct amount of heft. Style is subjective, after all, however I do not assume it will look gaudy or misplaced on the standard kitchen counter or nightstand.

My solely nitpick is that it’s gone time for Sonos to come back out with a speaker constructed to resist the weather. For now, the One is strictly an indoor affair. Also, Sonos has confusingly eliminated the mounting socket that was constructed into the Play:1. If you’re the sort who used that as half of a bigger setup, you’ll should do some extra handiwork.

The greatest bodily adjustments from the Play:1 seem on the highest of the system. There aren’t any exhausting buttons right here; as a substitute, Sonos has transplanted the contact controls from newer audio system just like the Play:5. There are tappable buttons for pausing and controlling quantity, whereas swiping throughout the flat matte lid helps you to skip tracks. This all works high-quality.

Also on the highest are a microphone toggle and a small LED notification mild. Sonos appears eager on avoiding complaints about shopper privateness right here, so tapping the mic icon turns the built-in microphones off utterly. A small mild subsequent to the mic button lets you realize its standing—if it’s lit up, Alexa is listening; if it’s not lit, it’s not listening. Below that could be a skinny LED mild that blinks everytime you and Alexa work together.

Jeff Dunn

All of this was easy and efficient throughout my two weeks of testing, although the implementation of the LED mild appears impractical—whereas the blue mild that runs across the fringe of an activated Echo can be seen from throughout a room, it’s important to stand straight above the Sonos One to see if Alexa is definitely listening. Thankfully, the One performs the acquainted Alexa chime everytime you name on the assistant, supplying you with an audio cue.

To be sure that Alexa can really hear you, the highest of the speaker features a far-field, six-microphone array that’s aided by an “adaptive noise suppression algorithm.” In apply, the One is about as efficient at choosing up voice instructions as a Google Home or an Amazon Echo Dot—not way more, not a lot much less.

If you sit in a quiet room about 10 to 15 ft away from the speaker, you may sometimes communicate at regular quantity and be heard. Back away or introduce some background noise—an air conditioner, for example, or music enjoying from the speaker itself—and it’s important to increase your voice. Stand behind a close-by wall or closed door and it’s important to yell. Like each different voice-enabled speaker, the mic could possibly be stronger, and also you’ll inevitably should repeat your self now and again. But it’s satisfactory.


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