Day 5 of 12 Smart Gifts: Sonos One voice-activated speaker

Day 5 of 12 Smart Gifts: Sonos One voice-activated speaker. Image: Sonos.
Day 5 of 12 Smart Gifts: Sonos One voice-activated speaker. Image: Sonos.

We have used the Sonos multi-room audio system for years, and have continuously enjoyed its high audio fidelity and the expansive set of audio and music services available through a few taps in the Sonos app. But until recently, the system did not have voice activation controls, making it less desirable in today’s connected home. Sonos addressed that chasm in its product line with the launch of the Sonos One, the company’s first voice-controlled speaker with the Amazon Alexa assistant built in.

As we wrote in our detailed analysis of new Sonos voice activation capabilities, playing music services over a Sonos One with the new-found Alexa features can be accomplished with simple English commands. For example, the command—“Alexa, play Smooth Jazz Radio from Pandora in the Great Room”—will play the Pandora station named Smooth Jazz on the Sonos speaker named Great Room. But as this is also a bona fide Alexa-enabled speaker, any legitimate Alexa command can be processed without the need for having any Amazon Echo speakers in the home.

Among the long list of supported Sonos audio services, you should be aware that only Amazon Music, Audible, iHeart Radio, Pandora, SiriusXM, Spotify, and TuneIn can be controlled with Alexa voice commands.  Sonos plans to add more services to the list in the future, but for any services not supported by voice control, the Sonos app will always be at the ready as a fallback.

As a fully-participating player in all Sonos installations, the Sonos One can also be controlled via the Sonos app on tablets and smartphones. Image: Digitized House.
As a fully-participating player in all Sonos installations, the Sonos One can also be controlled via the Sonos app on tablets and smartphones and can be grouped with other Sonos speakers throughout the home for multi-room playback. Image: Digitized House.

The Sonos One is fully compatible with all legacy Sonos speakers and can be included in any single- or multi-room listening experiences you can dream up within the confines of your dwelling. And at a $199 price point—just $50 more than its similarly-sized legacy brother, the non-voice-activated Sonos Play:1—we see no reason to recommend the Play:1.

The Sonos One voice activation features are powered by an array of 6 multi-directional microphones, and the system automatically lowers the volume on all Sonos speakers the instant an Alexa voice command is detected. And the audio output components are just as capable as those on any other Sonos speaker.

We would be happy to see the Sonos One under our Christmas tree, in either the black or white version.

More about this topic:

Sonos website
Sonos and Amazon Alexa make beautiful music together
Smart speaker alternatives resonate at IFA 2017 Berlin
Apple HomePod: Missing card from HomeKit smart-home deck?
Smart-home power broker: SmartThings Hub from Samsung
Digitized House Magazine

Tom Kolnowski
About Tom Kolnowski 152 Articles
Tom Kolnowski is the Chief Content Officer & Founder of Digitized House Media, LLC and Digitized House Magazine, and has enjoyed a career in hi-tech, publishing, marketing, and creative roles—including 10 years as head of global content publishing at a leading hi-tech firm. He lives and works in Austin, Texas.