Review: Sonos One pairs hi-fi audio with Amazon’s Alexa for voice-controlled music

Sonos One, the latest Sonos wireless speaker, matches a hi-fi audio of a predecessor, a Play:1, while adding a 6 far-field microphone array for built-in voice control regulating Amazon Alexa. All for a same $199 price.

Using a wireless orator with a built-in voice partner and high peculiarity audio can be really healthy and fun. Just contend what we wish to hear and Sonos One serves it up. What’s reduction elementary is navigating by that song services work and with what method. There’s also a arriving attainment of Apple’s HomePod that likewise promises to compare hi-fi audio with an intelligent voice assistant.

So while Sonos One is a really considerable square of record on a own, there are a few things to cruise first.


Sony A6500

Sonos wants One to be a usually intelligent orator song lovers need so it’s open to any voice partner and any song service, though companies like Spotify and Apple have to determine to work with Sonos.

Sonos One ships with Amazon Alexa voice control and Google has already betrothed to move a Assistant to a wireless orator subsequent year. Sonos is open to integrating Apple’s Siri voice assistant, though I’m not certain anyone indeed expects that to occur given Apple tends to keep a services on a hardware (and a HomePod will be a competitor).

Sonos has announced that it is committed to ancillary Apple’s new AirPlay 2 wireless custom someday subsequent year that will capacitate Sonos control from Siri-enabled inclination like a iPhone and iPad (and presumably HomePod), though that’s not something anyone can try today.

For now, Apple Music subscribers can use Sonos One usually like Sonos Play:1 and other Sonos speakers — with a Sonos Controller app. Sonos One still offers Amazon Echo facilities like intelligent home control, environment timers and alarms, and responding questions, though there’s no Apple Music control with voice given Apple isn’t sharing.

Sonos One does work with any song use Amazon Echo supports including Amazon Music, Amazon Music Unlimited, TuneIn, Pandora, iHeartRadio, and SiriusXM. The large blank use is Spotify that is now singular to simple playback controls, though full support is betrothed before a finish of a year.

Once we overcome a training bend that is that services work with what method, Sonos One and voice control for song can be really compelling. we tested Sonos One regulating Amazon Music Unlimited to know a experience.

You don’t need to fiddle with a Sonos Controller app to start song playback that is good for family generally kids.

My four-year-old daughter is informed with articulate to Siri to control a iPad, though she’s never overwhelmed a Sonos Controller app. After saying me speak to Alexa with a Sonos One, she immediately picked adult on how to correlate with a intelligent speaker. The usually thing she needs to know is ‘Alexa’ and what she wants to hear (“Boomerang” by JoJo Siwa in this case) and she’s dancing.

Think about that. Anyone can be a DJ though installing an app or even pulling out a device. That usually wasn’t loyal before voice control came to Sonos.

For some-more gifted users, there competence be a slight training bend when relocating from regulating a controller app to voice. For example, we found that changing what is personification in that room regulating voice and healthy commands can be tricky.

Sonos lets we control opposite song streams in opposite bedrooms so we can play jazz in a vital room and steel in a office. This is easy with a controller app and even easier with voice. Alexa, play jazz in a vital room. Alexa, play steel in a office.

But what if you’re personification jazz in a vital room and wish to supplement a now personification tide to a bureau and stop personification a metal? we can fast do this in a few taps regulating a controller app, though we found it severe to do this with voice.

So while simple playback control is done easier with voice, some-more modernized voice control might need study adult on what commands work best.

Music playback aside, Sonos One is also a full blown Amazon Echo. You can ask questions about a weather, set timers in a kitchen when cooking, and ask trivia questions regulating usually your voice. we did find that seeking for a news attempted to work though consistently timed out, though other Alexa commands worked great.

A side advantage of relying on Alexa for determining Sonos with your voice is a wireless speakers speak to other Alexa devices.

For example, we could control all my Sonos speakers regulating Alexa on my ecobee4 thermostat. This might sound silly, though carrying Alexa in some-more places via your home means some-more opportunities to use voice control. The downside of carrying Alexa in a same common areas is infrequently we might speak to your orator though your thermostat also responds.

Alexa on Sonos One can also be infirm with a tap. A tiny LED indicator lights adult when a mic is actively listening for a prohibited word, and one daub turns it off. You can control a categorical LED standing light in a Sonos app, though a mic light is particularly tied to a listening state for privacy.

Voice control aside, Sonos One facilities a complicated take on a prior Play:1 design. Sonos One facilities a same measure though comes in a matte white or matte black finish and replaces clicky buttons with capacitive hold controls for playback usually like a $500 Play:5.

As for Sonos One contra HomePod, that preference might come down to how low in a Apple ecosystem we are. For me, carrying during slightest one HomePod in a residence is ideal for Siri tranquil Apple Music, Apple Podcasts, Reminders, HomeKit control, and more. But once Sonos One gains AirPlay 2 support, it will be a constrained satellite orator for a HomePod during $199 contra $349. (Apple is targeting a $300 Sonos Play:3 in terms of audio quality, not a Play:1 or Sonos One.)

Bottom line: Sonos One has a intensity to be an glorious wireless intelligent orator if we use a right services, though we might need to wait a bit before it works best with what we use.

The good news is Sonos is holding a remarkably open proceed to a difficulty by ancillary any voice partner and song use peaceful to participate. And if you’re already low in a Sonos ecosystem, adding Alexa usually enables new ways to correlate with your wireless speakers.

Sonos One is available for pre-order for $199 and ships starting Oct 24.

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