Sonos One is one of the most popular compact-sized smart speaker in the market. This has been in my target list for quite some time before I finally decided to exchange some of my QFF points when it was on sale. Not counting Google Nest Hub, this is my first WiFi-based speaker and I had my share of worries on its performance and how it will impact my network speed.
There are 2 colours available: black and white. Since my work desk at home is white, it becomes an easy choice. Setting up is easy, thanks to its built-in Bluetooth Low Energy and Sonos app in iOS or Android. To avoid confusion, Bluetooth connectivity is only used for setup. User can not use Bluetooth connection to play music as this is not a Bluetooth speaker.
Sonos One has built-in microphone and can take voice commands using Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. Worth to note that we can only link one voice assistant, so we can’t have both Google Assistant and Alexa at the same time. Switching up between those is as easy as few steps in the Sonos app though. I already use Google Assistant with my Google Nest Hub and my son is already familiar with it, so I set mine with Google Assistant.
In my several weeks of testing, Google Assistant on my Sonos One gets my voice commands correctly most of the time, but its speed is way slower than what I expected. I mean, I have Google Assistant running smooth in my Google Nest Hub, a device considerably cheaper than this smart speaker, so I can’t help but feeling disappointed with my voice command experience with Sonos.
If you are worried about privacy, we can always turn off the microphone using the touch sensitive surface at the top. Or if the idea of having always-on microphone listening in your house is too scary, you can opt to get Sonos One SL to get identical product without microphone (obviously voice command feature will not work) and save $30.
Along with microphone toggle, we can find play/pause control and volume up/down on the top surface.
For music, Sonos One is compatible with Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, Anghami, ARTRADIO, Audible, Audiobooks.com, Bandcam, Calm, CBC Radio, Classical Archives, DAR.fm, Deezer, deliver.media, Epidemic Spaces, FIT Radio, focus@will, Global Player, Google Play Music, Hearts of Space, Hit Network, hotelradio.fm, Hype Machine, IDAGIO, iHeartRadio, Last.fm, Libby, LivePhish+, Minidisco, Mixcloud, Mood Mix, My Cloud Home, myTuner Radio, NRK Radio, NTS Radio, nugs.net, Plex, Pocket Casts, POSmusic, PowerApp, Primephonic, Qsic, Radio Javan, radio.net, RadioApp, Radionomy, radioPup, RauteMusik.fm, Relisten, RUSC, Saavn, SoundCloud, SoundMachine, Spreaker, Stingray Music, Stitcher, storePlay, Sveriges Radio, TIDAL, Tribe of Noise, Triple M, Wolfgang’s Music, Wordwide FM, YouTube Music and Zdigital. That is quite an extensive list of compatible services. Worth to note that this list is true on the day I write this post and might change anytime. Also, this is the list of services that I can get from Australia. Other countries might have different list.
To play local music from our other devices, Sonos One is compatible with AirPlay 2 and iOS 11.4 or newer. This means I can play my personal music collection from my iPhone or from Mac computer. In Mac, I can set the music to play in both my computer speaker and Sonos One. Note that when Mac’s Music app or iTunes app is connected to AirPlay 2, we can’t edit the tag info of our local music files.
Now let’s talk about the most exciting part of a speaker: sound quality. This is truly where Sonos One shines the brightest (or the loudest, your choice). Sonos One sounds AMAZING for a speaker that size. It gets loud enough to fill in a medium-sized room with solid punches where it counts. Music sounds rich and clear, enjoyable even when playing in low volume. This is, by far, my best under-300 (AUD) speaker.
Thanks to this speaker, music listening sessions becomes a lot more fun. Its deep bass is impressive for a small speaker. Treble is crisp and bringing out the fine details of many songs. For even better experience, I recommend to set up TruePlay, which is a feature to calibrate the speaker based on where it is placed in a room.
What about connection quality? Playing music over WiFi turns out to be a pleasant experience. There is always a bit of noticeable loading time at the start of every listening session, but afterwards things are smooth. I also do not detect any noticeable drop in my network speed at home.
Overall, this is a very good speaker. The voice-controlled feature rather disappointing, but sound quality is solid. Delivering great sound quality is the primary task of a speaker, so I’d say this one gets my recommendation.