(Pocket-lint) - The Sonos One SL is - in a nutshell - a Sonos One but without the microphones. Replacing the now rather dated Play:1, the Sonos One SL is for those that want the design and internal advantages of the Sonos One but don't want, or need, built-in voice control.
These are our first impressions of the Sonos One SL.
- 161.45 x 119.7 x 119.7mm, 1.85kg
- White and black colour options
- Capacitive touch controls
The Sonos One SL is a beautiful little speaker, just like the Sonos One, though that was to be expected given the two speakers are virtually identical.
More streamlined in design than the Sonos Play:1, the Sonos One SL has a colour-matched metal grille, with plastic detailing at the top and down the rear. There is a pairing button on the back at the bottom, along with an ethernet port, just like the Sonos One, with the power port hidden neatly underneath.
On the front, the Sonos logo sits discreetly at the top, while the bottom of the speaker tapers inwards to finish off the simple and seamless design. None of those details are any different to the Sonos One but there are some slight variations at the top of the speaker where the controls sit.
On the Sonos One, there is a microphone button, an LED light to show when the microphone is on or off and the capacitive touch controls - play/pause, volume up and volume down - sit in the centre of the top surrounded by a circle of small holes for the microphones. That's not the case on the Sonos One SL.
While the capacitive touch controls remain - matching the newer speakers in the Sonos line up like the Beam, Playbase and portable Move - the Sonos One SL doesn't have the microphone button, nor the holes around the controls. Instead, it simply has the play/pause and volume controls.
We only saw the Sonos One SL in black, which is the same shade of black as the Sonos One - rather than the lighter Shadow Black shade seen on the Sonos Move - but the Sonos One SL comes in white too, like many of the other speakers in the Sonos portfolio.
- No microphones
- AirPlay 2, Bluetooth LE
- Voice control with compatible Google Assistant or Alexa device
The Sonos One SL offers all the same features as the Sonos One, but without built-in Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa voice control. You can still control it from a Google Assistant or Alexa-compatible device, as you can with other Sonos speakers that don't have the built-in voice control, but you won't be able to talk directly to it.
Control takes place through the Sonos app, like all other Sonos speakers - except the new Sonos Move when it is Bluetooth mode - which means that all the features offered by the Sonos system are present on the Sonos One SL.
This includes the ability to group multiple Sonos speakers together, adjust EQ levels, stereo pair the Sonos One SL with another Sonos One SL or Sonos One speaker, as well as Trueplay tune the Sonos One SL to its surroundings, to name but a few. The Sonos system is also compatible with over 100 music streaming services.
The Sonos One SL also has Bluetooth Low Energy on board for easy setup though and it also supports Apple's AirPlay 2 - both of which the Sonos One offers but the latter is something the older and now discontinued Play:1 doesn't provide as it doesn't have the processing power required for Apple's technology.
Sound and performance
- Two Class-D digital amplifiers
- One tweeter
- One mid-woofer
The Sonos One SL features the same sound architecture as the Sonos One meaning you'll find two class-D amplifiers, custom drivers, a tweeter and a mid-woofer inside.
We didn't get a chance to hear the Sonos One SL in our briefing but with the same design and same internals as the Sonos One, we'd expect the new compact speaker to sound just as great as the smart speaker.
The Sonos One offers rich bass levels and it copes well with treble too, which we're also expecting to experience from the Sonos One SL when we get it into our home for full review.
The Sonos One SL might seem like an odd addition to the Sonos portfolio at first, and the name is certainly a little strange with seemingly no reason for the choice of SL letters, but the Sonos One SL as a speaker does make sense after a little more consideration.
The Play:1 was in need of an update when compared to the other Sonos speakers (aside from the Play:3) and not everyone wants built-in voice control or microphones - those wanting to add two Sonos One speakers to a Sonos Beam wouldn't for example - which makes the Sonos One SL ideal for those users.
With a design and internals the same as the Sonos One, the Sonos One SL has all the foundations to be another fantastic speaker from Sonos and one that meets the needs of those after a little more privacy too.