Today SONOS has finally released the long-awaited update that enables Amazon Alexa on the SONOS ONE, in Australia.
One of the fastest emerging categories in technology is the smart speaker, with some of the largest companies in the world such as Apple, Google, and Amazon all trying to corner the market. For the most part, they’ve used the same voice assistant you’d find on your phone, installed on a louder speaker.
Apple’s HomePod was the first to buck the trend, aiming to deliver a compact high-end audio speaker that also featured Siri voice control. But unless you’re already heavily invested in Apple’s ecosystem, then the experience is extremely limited. A handful of other brands have attempted to create smart speakers with better audio but none have really stood out.
We currently use an Amazon Echo to control our SONOS sound system but found that the voice commands are rather basic and the microphone is inconsistent at picking up our hollers; so we’re really excited to try Alexa on the SONOS ONE with the new update. SONOS has worked hard with Amazon to provide deep voice integration for more SONOS-specific voice commands; it now also supports voice control for music, podcasts, and audiobooks from over 80+ streaming services.
Inherently, on the SONOS ONE, users will also be able to control Alexa-enabled smart home devices such as lighting and air conditioning, get weather forecasts, calendar information, and the latest news. SONOS and Amazon will continue to deliver free updates into the future as the assistant adds natural vocabulary to its ever-expanding database.
At first glance, the SONOS ONE shares an almost identical build to its earlier model the PLAY:1. You could be forgiven for assuming it was nothing more than a cash-grab; the same speaker with a few smart features built-in. But you’d be wrong, the SONOS ONE has been designed from the ground up to deliver the class-leading audio experience SONOS has become known for, while also implementing seamless voice control. This is achieved using two Class-D digital amplifiers paired with one tweeter and one mid-woofer for sound, and a six-mic array to make sure that voice commands are heard clearly. You can also use the capacitive touch top to turn the microphone off if you don’t want Alexa listening all the time.
Even without voice control and smart hub capabilities, the SONOS ONE is still a fantastic stand-alone speaker. It has an even soundstage with good separation and maintains a pretty punchy bass. Since it streams over Wi-Fi, it doesn’t suffer from the same sound compression loss that affect similarly sized Bluetooth offerings. It can also get crazy loud for a speaker of its size, easily filling any moderately sized room. But if you think that’s impressive, wait till you pair two of these little machines together.
Should You Buy It?
As you would assume, being part of the SONOS sound system means that the SONOS ONE can be added to an existing setup. Whilst the rest of the speakers aren’t voice-enabled, they can still be controlled using your voice via the SONOS ONE.
SONOS has confirmed plans to release further updates to support both Apple Airplay 2 and Google Assistant in the near future. This is incredible news and once that happens, the SONOS ONE will offer versatility and sound that no competitor can match at this point in time.
If you’re in the market for a smart speaker, then the SONOS ONE deserves serious consideration. With this update, it reaps all the benefits from Amazon’s Alexa, coupled with its excellent sound quality and multi-speaker capabilities, it is sure to win over any music lover.