Sonos One (Second Gen) wants to do it all …but is it any good?
If you’re short on time, here’s what you need to know: if you’re looking to buy a smart speaker, you should probably buy the second-generation Sonos One. It sounds phenomenal considering its compact size, you can add additional speakers at a later date to create a home cinema or multi-room set-up, and most importantly of all, Sonos doesn’t make you permanently pick between Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, or Siri as the AI voice assistant that will dictate every other smart home gadget or speaker that you buy for the next five years.
Sonos One (Gen 2) review: Price And Availability
Sonos introduced the second-generation of its popular Sonos One in March 2019 and is now widely available from high street stores and online retailers. As it’s been available for a few years, retailers often drop the price of this smart speaker, so there are some brilliant deals to be had…
Sonos One (Gen 2) review: Design
Sonos One is a pretty nifty looking speaker. It has elegantly rounded corners and a truly minimalist design – there’s only one physical button on the entire thing. For our money, it looks better in black than the White version, but your mileage may vary depending on the decor you’re trying to match at home.
That minimalism can work to its detriment. While there are touch-sensitive buttons at the top of the Sonos One to play or pause, change volume and more – these aren’t as tactile as physical buttons. Although, admittedly, they do look cooler.
Quickly brushing dust from the top of the speaker will accidentally pause music or drop the volume. Thankfully, you can switch off the touch-sensitive buttons in the Sonos app.
The design of the Sonos One – not to mention the success of the brand – means there are a swathe of third-party wall mounts and stands available for the speaker. Compared to other similarly-priced speakers, like the Amazon Echo Studio, Sonos One owners will find a much wider choice of brackets to mount onto your walls, or have freestanding in the living room.
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With its nicely rounded edges, Sonos One should fit snugly into every room in your home
Sonos One (Gen 2) review: Sound
The second-generation Sonos One delivers where it counts: sound.
Sonos One can really crank out the bass without drowning out anything else in the mix. Everything sounds clear and finely-balanced whether you’re listening to acoustic singer-songwriters, heavy metal, or talk radio. Despite the compact footprint – the Sonos One can really deliver a punch when it comes to volume. Although you can add a number of additional speakers to your set-up – you won’t need to.
But the real genius of the Sonos One is the flexibility to build a connected set-up over time. While most other smart speakers, like the Google Home and Amazon Echo, let you add extra speakers to bring stereo sound, or wireless audio across different rooms – Sonos One simply has more options. You can have multiple Sonos speakers playing the same audio in different rooms, or you can use the Sonos One to start building a 5.0 surround sound system for your television for a true home cinema experience.
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There aren’t a plethora of colour choices available – in fact, there’s only two: black, or white
Sonos One can be controlled with either Alexa or Google Assistant, so will work with your existing smart home kit
Sonos One (Gen 2) review: App And Connectivity
One of the biggest benefits of picking Sonos over its rivals is that it won’t make you pick between one of the many competing voice assistants on the market – Google Assistant or Amazon’s Alexa. That might not seem like a big deal, but if you invest £189.99 in an Amazon Echo Studio, you’re unlikely to buy a Google Home Hub as a smart bedside clock as it won’t be able to sync with your Amazon-powered sound system.
Likewise, buying a rare album on iTunes might feel like a poor investment if you’ve got multiple Google Home smart speakers dotted around the house.
Sonos One works with Google Assistant or Alexa, so you can switch based on the other connected devices you buy further down the line. And it’s not just voice-activated assistants that Sonos One is agnostic about.
Add in a Sonos Sub and a Beam at a later date to make a surround sound system with your smart speaker
Sonos’ app lets you bring in songs from a plethora of different music services – from Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music, a good ol” fashioned iTunes library, Audible, Deezer, Global Radio Player, Google Play Music, Plex, SoundCloud, TIDAL, TuneIn, YouTube Music, and many, many more.
With tracks, playlists and radio stations from all of these services at your disposal – there’s no way you won’t be able to build the ideal queue of songs. Sonos recently launched its own Sonos Radio service that curates songs around a theme – from dinner parties, to quiet nights-in.
Sonos’ app is a little dated, especially on macOS. But that criticism is a little moot as the company has already announced an overhauled app with a more modern user interface.
Sonos One (Gen 2) review: Final Verdict
What We Loved
- Great Sound
- Nice Design
- Works With Your Existing Smart Home Kit
- Can Be Expanded In Future With Extra Speakers
- Great App
What We Didn’t Love
- Always-listening Microphone Array Isn’t As Accurate As Some Rivals
- Touch-Sensitive Buttons Can Be Accidentally Triggered
The second-generation Sonos One sounds great. It has real oomph in the bass, while keeping everything else perfectly clear. Whatever genre makes up the majority of your playlists, Sonos One will be able to handle it with aplomb.
The ability to summon either Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant with your voice, or beam from an iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch or Mac using Apple’s AirPlay 2 technology – means it will always fit into your smart home set-up regardless of whether you switch from an iPhone to an Android, MacBook to ChromeBook, or decide to ditch your Amazon Echo in favour for a Google Home.
And that’s simply not true for every voice-activated smart speaker in this price range.
Coupled with a solid range of mounts and accessories to ensure it fits into your home and the ability to pair extra speakers down the line to create a whole-home audio solution, Sonos One is an easy recommendation for anyone looking for a new smart speaker. That’s because it’s the smartest smart speaker out there.
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