In-depth review and analysis of the Sonos One Gen 2 smart speaker... Read more
Test of Sonos One SL
- Google Assistant, Alexa, or Sonos’ own Voice Control options
- Premium build quality & design
- Incredible sound
- Designed for high humidity environments
- Integration with numerous music streaming services
- Easy setup process
- Supports Apple’s AirPlay 2 protocol
- Lacks Google Cast support
- Subpar music service integration within Sonos app
- Limited cord management solutions
- Google Assistant implementation isn’t optimal
- Single song play issue with Sonos’ voice control
- Limited functionality of Sonos’s own voice control
“After six months of immersive use, my experience with the Sonos One Gen 2 has been a mixed bag. Its superior sound quality, chic design, and seamless integration with various music streaming services make it one of the best sounding smart speakers in the market. However, the lack of Google Cast support, limited Android functionality, and underwhelming voice control capabilities detract from its overall allure. Depending on the spectrum of usage, it may ideally suit Apple users but potentially miss the mark with Android enthusiasts. It’s an impressive device, but depending on your personal needs and operating system, it might not be the one-size-fits-all smart speaker it aspires to be.”
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|Model Name||Sonos One SL|
|Speaker Type||Smart Speaker|
|Special Feature||Subwoofer, Radio|
Introduction: Sizing up the Sonos One Gen 2
There’s something intriguing about the Sonos One Gen 2; it’s not just another smart speaker on the market. In this review, we’re tackling the heavy question – why choose a Sonos One over a speaker made by Amazon, Apple, or Google? It’s a choice many potential buyers grapple with when considering the Sonos One. So, let’s dive in and explore the facets of the Sonos One that elevate it to a potential top choice for many users.
Exploring Google Assistant, Alexa, or Sonos’ own Voice Control Assistant options
The first thing that sets the Sonos One Gen 2 apart is its flexibility in terms of the voice assistants it can accommodate. Unlike many other smart speakers tied to a specific ecosystem, the Sonos One Gen 2 gives you three choices: Google Assistant, Alexa, or Sonos’ own Voice Control Assistant. The value of such variety can’t be understated, especially in a world where interoperability is becoming increasingly important.
Highlighting the premium design and build
Another compelling aspect of Sonos One Gen 2 is its build quality and design aesthetic. Looking at it, you are struck by its premium feel and the attention to detail that went into its construction. The substantial weight, the refined design, it all speaks of a speaker that is built to last and to blend seamlessly into any home decor.
Distinguishing the Sonos One’s sound quality
Most importantly, the Sonos One Gen 2 distinguishes itself on the front that matters the most – sound quality. Early results suggest that it delivers an incredible sound, which ultimately sets the bar for smart speakers within its price range. However, how does this translate into real-world performance? And more importantly, how does it compare to the likes of Amazon Echo, Apple HomePod Mini, Nest Audio, or Nest Hub Max? These are some of the questions we will be answering in the following sections of this review.
Design Analysis: Sophistication in Simplicity
- Sonos One Gen 2 combines premium solid construction
- Minimalist design helps easily blend in surroundings
- Intuitive touch controls provide easier user experience
One of the first things that caught my attention when I unboxed the Sonos One Gen 2 was its design. With a simple yet elegant aesthetic, it effortlessly drew me into its world. It’s interesting how a smart speaker can look so charming, yet not be overpowering on the aesthetics side. Am I right?
Appreciating the Premium Solid Construction
As I picked it up for the first time, the speaker felt pleasingly hefty in my hands. The Sonos One Gen 2 really boasts a solid build quality that makes it feel sturdy and durable. There’s an inherent sense of quality and reliability about the product that’s quite refreshing. It’s much more than your regular plastic-shell smart speaker, for sure.
Focusing on the Aesthetically Pleasing Simple Design
The minimalist design is quite appealing. It’s soothingly monochromatic, blending seamlessly with a range of room decors. Whether it’s perched on a bookshelf or a kitchen counter, the speaker easily blends into its surroundings like a chameleon without compromising its presence.
Understanding the Touch Controls & Features
If you’re a fan of intuitive controls, the Sonos One Gen 2 won’t disappoint. At the top of the speaker, you’ll find the touch controls. Consisting of clearly defined areas for play/pause, volume adjustments, and microphone mute, these controls are intuitive and had almost no learning curve. Even the gesture control for skipping tracks, a simple slide across the top between volume buttons, felt smooth and easy. I really enjoyed the fact these controls were designed this way. It feels like a step forward in making technology user-friendly.
However, a small reservation I had was about the placement of the controls on the top surface. For those who want to place the speaker in a high or out-of-reach spot, the controls might be a little hard to access. This isn’t a deal-breaker, but surely something I reckon users might want to consider before making the final purchase decision.
So far, the design and build of the Sonos One Gen 2 have been a pleasant surprise. It’s been a great blend of stylish looks and everyday functionality, standing testament to the product’s premium model reputation.
Audio Performance: Sound as the Main Selling Point
- Sonos One Gen 2 offers superior sound quality
- Features ‘TruePlay’ for balanced audio output
- Delivers consistent sound irrespective of room size/placement
One of the most compelling arguments to invest in the Sonos One Gen 2 is undoubtedly its sound quality. Even though this is a compact speaker, sound performance is strikingly good, allowing it to easily outclass many competitors.
Comparing the Sonos One’s sound with other smart speakers
During my time with the Sonos One, I compared its sound quality with other smart speakers in the market, and it stood out remarkably well. This speaker offers a balanced audio mix, ensuring that no detail in the tracks, whether it be a bass guitar or a gentle violin, gets missed.
Introducing the magic of Sonos’ TruePlay feature
One standout feature that contributes to the superior sound is what Sonos calls ‘TruePlay’. This smart feature adjusts the music output based on the size of your room and the speaker’s placement. By emitting a semi-loud sound and using the microphones on your phone, TruePlay advantageously creates a balanced sound output, thus enhancing your listening experience.
Exploring the effect of room size and placement on sound performance
Another interesting element that impacts the sound performance is room size and speaker placement. After testing the speaker in various room sizes and various placements within those rooms, I discovered that the Sonos One managed to deliver consistent sound output irrespective of these factors. It handled all spaces incredibly well, proving its adaptability and versatility.Note: It’s important to understand that these results are from my personal experiences with the Sonos One Gen 2 and might vary for you based on your unique settings and preferences.
- Room Size: The sound resonates differently in a small room compared to a large hall. Despite this, I found that the Sonos One managed to fill every space beautifully.
- Speaker Placement: Whether I kept it on a table or mounted it on a wall, the sound quality remained unaltered and top-notch.
So, if you’re an audiophile looking for rich audio quality and impressive sound output, the Sonos One Gen 2 may be an excellent choice. However, as with any product, it’s not without its downsides, which we’ll explore in subsequent sections.
Practical Features & Setup Experience: Pushing User-Friendly Boundaries
- Sonos One Gen 2 offers user-friendly setup experience
- The Sonos app simplifies setup, controls and features
- Product design balances convenience, simplicity, practical usability
One of the integral aspects of any smart device is undoubtedly the hands-on user experience. With the Sonos One Gen 2, I found that the setup process and practical features made a significant impact.
Unboxing and Initial Setup
The unpacking and initial setup of the Sonos One was quite a pleasing encounter. Their meticulously crafted packaging exuded quality and the quick recognition of the device by the app showed the efficiency of the design. As soon as I plugged the speaker in, it made a delightful appearance in the app.
Furthermore, the Sonos app was smart enough to pull the WiFi network information from my phone, which simplified the setup process. All that was required was to input the WiFi password. User-friendly? I’d say inclined towards the affirmative.
Throughout the setup process, the Sonos app runs software updates and, impressively, keeps the user entertained by guiding through more speaker features. This attention to detail and user convenience is a significant plus point in Sonos One’s favor, contributing to a user-friendly experience. The functionality doesn’t end just there. The Sonos app takes you for a ride with its host of integrated features.
Controls Using the Sonos App
In terms of practicality and convenience, the Sonos app takes the cake. While it could be argued that it might have been too focused on keeping users within their own ecosystem, the ease of control it offers cannot be overlooked. Despite having some shortcomings, the app acts as a universal remote for the Sonos One, putting a world of options at your fingertips.
From adjusting the volume levels to skipping songs, everything can be done with just a few taps. The experience I had with the Sonos app was predominantly smooth, barring a few hiccups.
In conclusion, the user-friendly design of the Sonos One Gen 2 extends beyond its touch controls and aesthetics. It is a balanced blend of convenience, simplicity, and practical usability. Although there is room for improvement, the setup experience and functional controls overshadow most of the minor setbacks.
Sonos App: The Powerhouse of Performance
- Sonos App enhances user experience with integration
- App supports many music streaming services
- Offers mini versions of linked services
As I began to explore the key elements that set the Sonos One Gen 2 apart from other smart speakers, I gradually realized that the Sonos app plays a pivotal role in enhancing the overall user experience. It’s not just a controlling mechanism but a fully integrated platform that amplifies the functionality of the speaker.
Exploring the Integration with Different Music Streaming Services
One of the standout features of the Sonos app is its ability to seamlessly integrate with a host of music streaming services. This isn’t just limited to mainstream platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music, Amazon Music, Tidal, Pandora, Deezer, and TuneIn, but it also extends to other interesting services like Pocket Casts for podcasts and Libby for audiobooks. This opens up a world of audio content to explore and enjoy.
Walking Through the Mini Versions of Different Apps in Sonos App
Speaking of integration, the Sonos app goes one step further by providing mini versions of the linked services within its interface. For instance, Spotify’s mini version impressed me the most with its neat and user-friendly layout. It’s like having the best parts of all your favorite apps nicely packaged within a single app, ready for instant use.
Diving into the Sonos App Settings and Options
But what truly makes the Sonos app a powerhouse of performance are the settings and options available within it. The list includes some impressive features such as TruePlay, audio compression, alarms, media server and music library settings. You can even add the Google Assistant or Alexa to the speaker, apply parental controls, and transfer system ownership – a thoughtful addition indeed. Though the app has a comprehensive set of features, each one feels intuitive and straightforward to use.
However, the Sonos app is not without its shortcomings. In my experience, the music service integration within the app seemed subpar compared to using the standalone music service apps. Specifically, when selecting a single song to play within the Sonos app, it simply plays that song without generating a play queue, unlike the standalone music service apps.
Despite this limitation, the Sonos app remains a pivotal part of the user experience and could be seen as a game-changer for many potential customers. It does a commendable job of getting the most out of the speaker’s capabilities, giving users a broad range of controls and streaming services right at their fingertips.
Sonos’ Voice Control: Bridging the Gap Between Sound and Commands
- Sonos’ Voice Control is decent but with limitations
- Issues include abrupt song end and volume control problem
- Sonos’ Voice Control and Google Assistant incompatible
When you think of a smart speaker, the ability to control it via voice commands is a given. In case of Sonos One, I spent a significant amount of time putting their advertised voice control feature to the test. It’s called the Sonos’ Voice Control – a built-in feature designed to manipulate the device without touching it.
My Experience with the Feature
Over the last six months, I mainly used Google Assistant on my Sonos One. My initial observation – it worked pretty smoothly. The device was decently responsive to voice commands and made listening to music or podcasts a hands-free experience. However, I must mention that the voice control feature on Sonos One isn’t as up-to-the-mark as some competitor smart speakers from Google and Amazon.
Encountering the Limitations
I found some noticeable limitations with Sonos’ Voice Control that could hinder the user experience. For instance, if I asked Alexa or Google Assistant to play a song from Apple Music or YouTube Music, it transitioned smoothly from one song to the next. However, it stopped abruptly after a song ends. This, I could say, is definitely a hindrance to the seamless listening experience.
Another notable flaw I noticed was with the Google Assistant functionality specifically. After making a song request, the volume of the Sonos One was automatically dimmed for the Assistant to continue listening for a follow-up request. However, the volume stayed low for an unnecessarily long time, creating a false impression that the volume had been turned down.
Troubles with Compatibility
One rather frustrating aspect was the incompatibility of Sonos’ Voice Control and Google Assistant. Currently, they can’t function simultaneously on the device – a limitation that seemed unreasonable and inconvenient.
Summing up, despite its perks, the Sonos’ Voice Control feature comes with significant limitations that could impact the overall user experience. The seamless voice command experience that one might envision doesn’t quite line up with the reality.
Critique on the Sonos One: The Other Side of the Coin
- Sonos One Gen 2 lacks cord management
- No Google Cast support given for Android users
- Sonos app’s playback features need improvement
As much as I genuinely appreciate the elegance and exceptional sound quality of the Sonos One Gen 2, it’s equally vital to address some sticking points that have surfaced during my six months with this smart speaker.
Discussing Cord Management Issues
The first slight drawback I encountered relates to cord management. In my experience, a device that boasts premium build, design and high-end price tag should provide some form of cord management. Regrettably, Sonos One Gen 2 falls short in this area. Absence of cable clips or a dedicated mechanism for cord management, especially when the speaker is placed in more exposed areas like a kitchen counter, clutters the otherwise sleek look.
Contemplating the Lack of Google Cast Support
In the era of advanced interoperability, the lack of Google Cast support in Sonos One Gen 2 is a baffling oversight. Being unable to directly cast audio from an Android device to the speaker, as one can do with an iOS device via Airplay, limits the user experience for Android users. Currently, one can only play music from an Android device through the Sonos app or Spotify Connect, which, to be honest, feels unnecessarily convoluted in 2022.
Evaluating Music Service Integration within the Sonos App
Speaking of the Sonos app, while it does a commendable job of integrating numerous popular music streaming services, the user experience still leaves room for improvement. The biggest drawback lies in its playback features. Unlike the standalone apps of these music services that provide an automatically generated play queue, the Sonos app simply hums to the halt after you play a single song from any music service. This interrupts the seamless listening experience and contrasts starkly with the app’s otherwise robust capabilities.
In conclusion, while these issues are by no means deal-breakers, I believe addressing them would significantly enhance the user experience and, in turn, elevate the Sonos One Gen 2’s overall value proposition.
The Upside: Why Choosing Sonos System Makes Sense
- Sonos One offers flexibility with multiple assistant options
- Provides high-quality accessories and easy setup
- Another advantage is superior audio quality
Often when you are investing in a smart speaker, the long-term essentiality and system flexibility become paramount considerations. Here’s why the Sonos System, despite some of its shortcomings, still manages to carve out a unique niche for itself.
Flexibility with Multiple Assistant Options
One of the most user-centric features Sonos One offers is the ability to run either Google’s Assistant, Alexa, or Sonos’ own Voice Control. Unlike other systems that lock you into a specific ecosystem, Sonos offers the flexibility to choose your virtual assistant. This kind of flexibility can be a game-changer, allowing users to customize their smart speaker experience based on individual preferences.
Gen 2’s High-quality Accessories
With Sonos, you aren’t just purchasing a premium speaker, but an entire ecosystem of high-quality accessories and add-ons. There’s the Sonos shelf , for example, which is aesthetically pleasing while also practical for saving space. Not to mention the Sonos wall mount option which gives you the freedom of placing your speaker anywhere you want. It integrates the Sonos One perfectly into any home decor.
The Ease of Connectivity and Setup
For many, setting up their smart speaker can be an intimidating task. Thankfully, Sonos One outperforms in this aspect, offering an experience that is straightforward and less fussy than its competitors. The high-speed device detection during setup is impressive, along with an intelligent system that pulls Wi-Fi network information from your phone, simplifying the entire setup process. It shows Sonos’ commitment to user-friendliness and simplicity.
Superior Audio Quality
When it comes down to sound, the Sonos One Gen 2 really stands out. Paired with the unique TruePlay feature, the device delivers a crisp, detailed sound and a pronounced bass. If you’re an audiophile, it’s a pleasure listening to Sonos One, giving it that edge over many smart speakers in the market.
While the Sonos One Gen 2 does have its share of limitations, it offers tremendous upsides that make it a user’s delight. The choice of the assistant, high-quality accessories, ease of setup, and superior sound quality create an impressive package. However, Sonos would do well to listen to user feedback and address its limitations to truly create the perfect smart speaker.
Verdict: Is Sonos One Gen 2 the Best Smart Speaker?
- Sonos One Gen 2 offers impressive sound quality
- Supports Google Assistant, Alexa, and Sonos’ Voice Control
- Lacks Google Cast support and optimal music service integration
In the realm of smart speakers, the Sonos One Gen 2 stands out in several respects. It offers some impressive features and delivers a sound quality that, in my opinion, surpasses many of its rivals. However, the question remains – is it the best choice for every user’s scenario? Let’s critically analyse my experience with this speaker.
Powerful Sound and Design Appeal
Sonos One Gen 2knows how to make an impression. The premium design, solid build, and the incredible sound quality make it an attractive choice for real connoisseurs of music and design. The touch controls function flawlessly and are a splendid combination of simplicity and functionality, enhancing the overall user experience.
Multiple Assistants – A User’s Delight
The versatility of being able to use either Google Assistant, Alexa, or Sonos’ own Voice Control as the smart assistant makes the Sonos One Gen 2 adaptable and flexible. This feature eliminates the restriction of locking the user into one specific assistant, unlike many of its competitors.
Shortfalls in User Experience
However, it is not all bliss when it comes to user experience. While the lack of Google Cast support may be less significant for iOS users, it appears glaring for Android users in comparison to today’s standard speaker capabilities. This limits the direct casting of audio, confining users to the Sonos app or Spotify Connect for using their devices. This drawback feels like a missed opportunity in enhancing the user experience.
Sonos App – A Mixed Bag
The app integration within the Sonos One Gen 2 has its highs and lows. Although it makes streaming from different music apps simple, its subpar music service integration compared to the native applications is a disadvantage. For instance, it plays only a single song chosen in a service like Spotify or YouTube Music, without automatically generating a play queue thereafter, a functionality offered by the native music service apps.
- For Apple users: If you have a string of Apple products, prefer to run Alexa, and prioritize top-notch sound quality, this speaker checks all the boxes.
- For Android users: The lack of cast support and less-than-optimal music service integration makes the Sonos One Gen 2 less recommendable.
In the grand scheme of things, while the Sonos One Gen 2 excels in sound quality and aesthetic appeal, its overall user experience weighs it down. Therefore, it might be a reigning champion for some but unfortunately does not emerge as the one-size-fits-all smart speaker in every scenario.
Conclusion: The Final Take on the Sonos One Gen 2
After spending six enriching months with the Sonos One Gen 2, it has become plainly clear that this smart speaker is a product that packs quite a sonic punch. Its sound quality, unquestionably, stands apart from many of its competitors essentially making it a haven for audiophiles.
Evaluating the Sound Experience
The TruePlay feature and the overall sound output certainly bring a unique, immersive listening experience to the table. There are a very few smart speakers that come close to achieving such a fine balance of crisp, detailed sound, and a surprisingly stout bass performance.
The User-Friendly Quotient
Another commendable aspect of Sonos One Gen 2 is its straightforward setup process and user-friendly operation via the Sonos app. The capability of integrating multiple music streaming services into the Sonos app, indeed, adds to the ease and convenience of usage.
However, the speaker is not without its drawbacks. The lack of Google Cast support, for one, is a glaring miss which impacts the overall user experience especially for those who predominantly use Android devices. In addition, improvements can be made regarding the cord management to make it more pleasing to the eye.
Is It Worth The Investment?
If you are an iPhone user, with the aim to primarily use smart speakers for a superior audio experience, then investing in the Sonos One Gen 2 seems like a good decision. However, if you heavily rely on Google services or belong to the Android ecosystem, then Sonos One Gen 2 might not be the most convenient choice.
In conclusion, while the Sonos One Gen 2 hits the sweet spot with its superior sound quality, it falls short in being the all-around best smart speaker for all scenarios mainly due to its shortcomings concerning Android synergy. Still, it stands as a top-quality product within its niche market segment and has the potential to bring about significant improvements in future iterations.
Should you buy the Sonos One SL?
Buy it if…
You need superior sound
The Sonos One Gen 2 has incredible sound quality, outperforming many other smart speakers in the market.
You appreciate elegant and solid design
The premium build quality and aesthetic appeal of the Sonos One Gen 2 make it a standout device that will blend effortlessly into any home decor.
You have Apple products and want to use Alexa
The Sonos One is the best smart speaker for those who heavily use Apple products and prefer Alexa as their voice assistant.
Don’t buy it if…
You’re an Android user without fixed music service
Despite its many advantages, the Sonos One might not be the best choice for Android users due to the lack of Google Cast support and subpar music service integration within the Sonos app.
You value cord management
The Sonos One lacks cable clips and doesn’t have a well-designed system to manage the cord, which could be an issue for some users.
You want a seamless voice control experience
Current limitations in music service integration and voice control may hamper the overall user experience on the Sonos One Gen 2, especially for users heavily relying on voice commands.
- Can Sonos One Gen 2 support multiple voice assistants?
Yes, Sonos One Gen 2 can support either Google Assistant, Alexa, or Sonos’ own Voice Control Assistant.
- Does Sonos have humidity resistant design?
Yes, the Sonos One Gen 2 is designed with high humidity environments in mind.
- What are the music streaming services that can be connected to Sonos?
The Sonos supports a range of streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music, Amazon Music, Tidal, Pandora, Deezer and TuneIn, among others.
- How is the sound quality of Sonos One?
The Sonos One Gen 2 outperforms most other smart speakers. It produces a crisp, detailed sound and has a surprisingly good bass given its size.
- Can Sonos One Gen 2 be set up easily?
Yes, the setup experience is user-friendly and the device is easy to update via the app.
- How does the voice control feature work with Sonos One Gen 2?
The Sonos One Gen 2’s voice control feature uses on-board mics to control your music and your Sonos system. The device is fast but comes with limitations such as inability to use with Google Assistant simultaneously.
- Does Sonos One Gen 2 support Google Cast?
No, Sonos One Gen 2 currently does not have Google Cast support. The lack of this support is one of the downsides of the device.
- Is Sonos One Gen 2 the best smart speaker for all users?
While Sonos One Gen 2 offers superior sound quality, due to issues like lack of Google Cast support and certain limitations in voice control, it may not be the best choice for all users, especially Android users.
- What are some of the accessories available with Sonos?
You can get various accessories with Sonos like the shelf, wall mount and you can group other speakers together with Sonos One like the Sonos 1 SL, the Sonos Arc soundbar, or the Play 5.