Sonos has announced a new speaker to its portfolio in the form of the Sonos One. The smart speaker brings integrated voice control with Amazon's Alexa from launch, though Google Assistant will follow in 2018.
With voice control functionality added to existing Sonos speakers via Echo and Echo Dot through the latest app update, and the Sonos One featuring a similar design to the Play:1 though, how do the two speakers compare and which is the right one for you?
Sonos One vs Sonos Play:1: Design
- Same size and weight
- Similar design, but Sonos One is more refined
- Sonos One has capacitive control panel on top, Play:1 has physical buttons
The Sonos Play:1 has a lovely design, offering an indented top, rounded edges, a tapered bottom and a metal grille that stretches almost 360-degress around the speaker.
It measures 161.45 x 119.7 x 119.7mm, weighs 1.85g and it comes in white with a light metal grille or black with a graphite grille. On the top of the Play:1 there is a physical Play/Pause button, volume rocker and a status LED light.
The Sonos One follows closely in the Play:1's footsteps, offering a very similar design but with a few refinements. It too has rounded edges, a tapered bottom and a grille surrounding it, but the top panel is flat with a capacitive control pad rather than indented with physical buttons.
The new speaker measures and weighs exactly the same as the Play:1 and it too comes in white or black options, but the white option has a white matte grille and the black option has a black matte grille rather than the metal finishes of the Play:1.
Both the Sonos One and the Play:1 feature an Ethernet port on the rear at the bottom and they both have the power input on the bottom of the device, hidden underneath. The Sonos One also has a pairing button on the rear above the Ethernet port, like the Play:5 and Playbase, and it also has a wider plastic section between the meeting of the grille than the Play:1.
Sonos One vs Sonos Play:1: Features
- Both offer seamless multi-room functionality
- Trueplay compatible
- Sonos One has built-in voice control, Play:1 needs an Echo or Echo Dot for voice control
The Sonos Play:1 and Sonos One will both work independently on their own or as part of an existing Sonos system, offering multi-room audio.
The Play:1 can be paired with another Play:1 to create a stereo pair, while the Sonos One can be paired with another Sonos One for a stereo pair, and both can be grouped with a Sonos Playbar or Playbase for a 3.1 system, or with a Sonos SUB too for a 5.1 system.
The two speakers both offer Trueplay compatibility, allowing them to be tuned in accordance with their surroundings using the microphone within an iOS device and they are both compatible with over 80 music services, including Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music and Tidal.
Where these two devices differ is the Sonos One offers integrated voice control, allowing you to control it via the Sonos app, or by simply asking it to play a particular song, turn the volume up or down or skip a track.
The One uses the Amazon Alexa personal assistant, meaning you'll also be able to do anything Alexa can do through your Sonos speaker, such as ask her to order an Uber, turn your living room lights red, or what the weather is like.
The Play:1 meanwhile, doesn't feature built-in voice control but voice control is possible if you have an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot device.
The experience will be a little less fluid than with the One, with the command having to go through the Echo or Dot and you needing to tell it the room of the speaker you want the action to take place on, but it's still voice control.
Sonos One vs Sonos Play:1: Hardware
- Both have two amps, one tweeter and one mid-woofer
- Sonos One has microphones
- Custom drivers on the Sonos One
The Sonos Play:1 and Sonos One both feature two Class-D digital amplifiers, one tweeter for high frequency response and one mid-woofer for mid-range vocal frequencies and bass.
The Sonos One does offer custom drivers however, along with a six far-field microphone array that allows it to offer the voice control feature we mentioned above.
There is a microphone button on the capacitive control pad on the top of the Sonos One that you can tap on and off in order to choose whether the Sonos One is listening or not. An LED light at the top of the circular array surrounding the Play/Pause button on the control pad will show you whether the microphones are on or off.
Both speakers require a Wi-Fi connection and the Sonos app, which is available for iOS and Android devices, as well as Mac and PC. Neither has Bluetooth support but both will be compatible with Apple's AirPlay 2 in 2018.
Sonos One vs Sonos Play:1: Price
- Same price
- Sonos One available from 24 October
The Sonos Play:1 costs £199 / $199 and it is available to buy from various outlets, including Sonos.com and Amazon.
The Sonos One costs the same, £199 / $199, but it is currently only available for pre-order, with delivery from 24 October.
Sonos One vs Sonos Play:1: Conclusion
The Sonos Play:1 and Sonos One are very similar in design and sound output, but the One is slightly more refined in finish, offers capacitive touch controls and features integrated voice control.
The two devices have many of the same features in terms of music service compatibility, multi-room audio and Trueplay compatibility but the Sonos One offers seamless voice control for your entire Sonos system, without the need for an extra device like the Echo Dot as the Play:1 requires.
With no price difference, the Sonos One is likely to be the better option for many looking to start their Sonos collection or add a small speaker to an existing one, though some may not want voice control, in which case the Play:1 is still an excellent device that delivers a great sound from its small package.