Any voice-controlled Amazon Echo smart speaker could best be described as a Jack-of-all-trades home concierge whose astounding versatility is worth several times its weight in gold. The Sonos One ups the ante by pairing the Amazon Alexa virtual assistant platform with premium hardware chosen explicitly to appeal first and foremost to discerning music-lovers. This mighty miniature way station for the Internet of Things is a multifaced dynamo, but it was clearly conceived with your music’s peerless presentation first in mind.
Little Dog, Big Bark
The Sonos One indeed does nearly anything and everything an Amazon Echo will do but make sweet, tender love to a true audiophile’s ears while doing it. The ingeniously streamlined PLAY:1 blueprint assembles an immediately impressive coalition of components. A pair of immaculately tuned Class-D digital amplifiers complement the device’s distinctive acoustic architecture and custom proprietary speaker drivers. The crisp, clear high-frequency response of its tweeter balances flawlessly with the mid-woofer’s impeccably faithful mid-range vocal frequency playback and ample, deep bass. Meanwhile, an array of six far-field microphones diligently filters and cancels noise to improve Alexa’s talent for capturing, processing and intelligently adapting to the personal nuances of a user’s voice, even from across a crowded room with Spinal Tap cranked up to “11.”
Alone, that’s already a hard-to-match compendium of selling points. Here’s the sweetest kick in the head, though: all of that top-shelf engineering comes in a four-pound package measuring 6.36 inches tall by 4.69 inches wide by 4.69 inches thick — easily compact enough to call any countertop, nightstand, bookshelf, wall or ceiling a perfectly comfortable home. Its thoroughly quality-controlled humidity resistance also qualifies it as a durable companion for any steamy setting such as a bathroom, hot tub deck or sauna. The Sonos One serves as a monument to squeezing every ounce of home theater-quality audio performance out of the thriftiest possible volume of space.
New Body, Same Alexa…Superior Sound
Sorry, Amazon. This is what you get when you open up your critically acclaimed smart speaker’s nerve center for free public adaptation. Just like any Echo device, Alexa serves up access to 49 of the world’s top streaming audio services, including:
- Apple Music
- Amazon Music and Amazon Music Unlimited
- Sirius XM
Whatever your chosen wellspring of aural accompaniment, the Sonos One delivers your ambient soundtrack with uninterrupted wireless streaming via any 802.11 b/g, 2.4 GHz broadcast wireless-capable router. If unstable WiFi presents a problem, connect directly to your router or non-wireless device with BOOST setup using the 10/100 Mbps Ethernet port. If you don’t feel like having an open chat with Alexa to request a song or tweak your settings, effortless capacitive touch controls allow for sliding the volume up or down, swiping through a tracklist or quickly muting the microphone array at the touch of a finger. Speaking of the latter, Alexa and the Sonos One also feel appreciably strongly about safeguarding your privacy: for optimal security, the hardwire-connected LED indicator will always confirm both your voice feedback and whether the microphones are active or muted.
Alexa also brings along her knack for playing nicely with other devices, including responding to your commands with the device physically nearest to you. With more than one Sonos One in your home, your music can stream in perfect real-time throughout multiple rooms at once to make sure you literally never miss a beat. Alternately, you could set up several devices in one room for instant stereo sound, add a subwoofer for epically thunderous bass or pair at least two Sonos Ones with a TV’s Playbar or Playbase to craft a monumental sensory experience that dramatically enhances any television show, sporting event, movie or video game instantly. When you aren’t basking in the ultimate on-demand music and media experience, go ahead and ask Alexa to serve up weather, traffic and news updates or allow her to adjust your interactive smart home’s temperature, control the lights and manage your TV. For her, it’s all in a day’s work.
Best of all, you can conduct and fine-tune every aspect of your Sonos One’s behavior using a satisfyingly deep mobile app that lays out every performance option and command on a single device. No voice? No touch? No problem.
In the end, we’ll be fair. Sure, Amazon’s signature devices have exclusive advantages of their own, such as Bluetooth connectivity, handily routing wireless calls and messages, functionality as a sort of intercom system and streaming video playback and calling. Nevertheless, for those who put their love of superlative sound above all else and would dig broad access to most of Alexa’s handiest talents as more of a perk when not basking in enhanced musical luxury, there can be only One.