Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central
Over the last few years, we’ve seen a resurgence in home speakers thanks to the rise of Alexa and Google Assistant. The idea of having a “smart speaker” is a lot more appealing to folks than a traditional, dumb speaker, and this has created for a significant shift in the home audio market. Sonos has been creating killer speakers since 2002, and lately, has been adapting to the changing industry. The company’s product line is now better than ever, with its top overall offering being the tried-and-true Sonos One. Here’s why the One is so darn good, along with the company’s other top gadgets.
Source: Android Central
Sonos has an impressive portfolio of speakers, but the one that stands out as the best pick for most people is the Sonos One. This is the Gen 2 model that was quietly released in March 2019, and while it’s mostly the same as the Gen 1 version, it benefits from an upgraded processor and better Wi-Fi performance.
In any case, the Sonos One is our favorite Sonos speaker for a lot of reasons. It’s compact and easy to fit in just about any room, and even though it has a small footprint, the sound that comes out of it is incredible. Audio is crisp, full of life, and worlds better than your typical Google Home or Amazon Echo speaker.
Speaking of Google Home and Echo, the Sonos One has an array of far-field microphones, allowing you to talk to both Google Assistant and Alexa. You can only have one assistant active at a time, but the fact you can switch back and forth between them on the fly is fantastic. Also, if you’re involved in the Apple ecosystem, Sonos One supports AirPlay 2.
On top of all that, you get the usual array of Sonos perks. You can pair two Ones together for stereo sound, control the Sonos One via the excellent Sonos mobile app, and connect the One with other Sonos speakers throughout your home for simultaneous music playback across all of them at once.
- Compact size
- Excellent sound quality
- Works with Google Assistant and Alexa
- Supports AirPlay 2
- One of the more affordable Sonos speakers
- Less powerful sound compared to other Sonos speakers
- Google Assistant doesn’t work quite as well compared to on a Google Home
The one to get
For most people, the Sonos One is the best pick. It’s compact, has impressive sound, and works with Google Assistant + Alexa.
Best Value: Sonos One SL
If you really like what you see with the Sonos One but don’t care about using it to talk to virtual assistants, take a look at the Sonos One SL. This is the same speaker as the Sonos One, offering the same sound quality, pairing capabilities with two One SLs for stereo sound, and the ability to be controlled and used with other Sonos speakers with the Sonos app. The one and only difference is that you can’t use it to interact with Google Assistant or Alexa. AirPlay 2, however, is still present on the One SL.
We think it’s worth spending the extra money for the Sonos One as having the option for Assistant and Alexa adds a lot of extra functionality, but if you just aren’t interested in that, you might as well save some cash and go for the SL.
- Same great sound of the Sonos One
- Can fit in just about any room
- Pair two SL’s together for stereo sound
- The cheapest speaker Sonos sells
- Still AirPlay 2 compatible
- No microphones for Alexa or Google Assistant
An excellent value
The Sonos One SL is exactly the same as the regular One, minus no microphones for Google Assistant and Alexa.
Best Wireless Speaker: Sonos Move
Source: Android Central
After years and years of patiently waiting, Sonos finally released its first wireless speaker earlier this year with the Sonos Move. The Move is the most versatile speaker is Sonos’s lineup, and while you’ll pay a pretty penny to own it, it’s a phenomenal product.
The Move sounds noticeably better than the Sonos One, with deeper bass and a more powerful amplifier allowing for better overall audio. You’ll need to stick with the Sonos Five (more on that later) for the best possible sound Sonos has to offer in a speaker, but this is an excellent mid-range option between the two. There are also microphones on the Move, allowing you to talk to Google Assistant and Alexa, along with support for AirPlay 2.
You can set up the Sonos Move as a stationary speaker in your home, but the real draw to it is the fact that you can take it with you wherever you want. Transporting the Move is easy thanks to the built-in handle on the back. Battery life is shockingly good, and the Move has an IP56 rating to protect it from rain, snow, dust, salt spray, UV rays, and extreme heat/cold. The Move is quite heavy and might be too expensive for some potential buyers, but if you’ve ever dreamed about taking a Sonos speaker with you out of the home, you’ll be hard-pressed to not fall in love with the Move.
- Deep, powerful sound
- You can take it anywhere
- Long-lasting battery life
- Resistant against water and other elements
- Supports Google Assistant, Alexa, and AirPlay 2
- It’s rather large and heavy
- Too expensive for some
Best Wireless Speaker
Take it anywhere
Considering the Move is Sonos’s first wireless speaker, it did a phenomenal job. Audio, battery, and design are all top-notch.
Best Soundbar: Sonos Beam
Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central
A good soundbar can take your TV experience to the next level, and when it comes to the Sonos ecosystem, the Sonos Beam stands out as the soundbar we recommend the most.
Soundbars are generally thought of as being cumbersome, and in many cases, quite long. That is not the case with the Beam. The first time you see it in person, you’ll be surprised with just how small of a footprint it actually takes up — making it a great choice for people with limited space on their TV stand. Setup is also a breeze, as the Sonos Beam only requires you to plug in its power cord and an HDMI cable between it and your TV. That’s all there is to it.
Considering the Beam’s size, I was blown away the first time I heard it. There’s a good amount of bass, you can crank the volume without any noticeable distortion, and everything from movies to music all sound excellent — something that can’t be said for all soundbars.
The Beam also benefits from Alexa and Google Assistant support, along with Apple’s AirPlay 2. If you want, you can pair the Beam with Sonos Ones, Fives, and the company’s Sonos Sub subwoofer to create a true surround sound system.
- Doesn’t take up too much room
- Stupidly easy to set up
- Powerful sound with good bass
- Has Alexa and Google Assistant support
- Can be used with other Sonos speakers for surround sound
- Not the best value
- Microphones are hit and miss
Big sound, small size
The Sonos Beam is one of the best soundbars out there, regardless of brand. It’s compact, sounds great, and set up is a breeze.
Best Sound Quality: Sonos Five
None of Sonos’s speakers are considered cheap, but if you want to go overboard and “treat yo’ self” to something especially nice, the Sonos Five is the way to go. It’s an update to the already-great Play:5 that debuted in 2015, and it keeps the same great audio quality while upgrading the internals to ensure it gets updates for years to come.
The Five ships with three custom-designed subwoofers, allowing it to kick out deep bass that gives all of your tunes immense power and force. The entire package is also sealed tightly, meaning that you won’t put up with annoying echo or reverb like what you’ll find on other speakers of this size. Add that together with six digital amplifiers and six speakers, and the end result is outstanding audio no matter what you’re listening to.
If you can afford two Sonos Fives, you can pair them together for truly heart-stopping stereo sound. There’s also support for AirPlay 2, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and a 3.5mm headphone jack allows you to plug in a turntable or phone.
- Rich, booming sound
- Supports stereo pairing
- Google Assistant, Alexa, and AirPlay 2
- 3.5mm jack for turntables/phones
- Clean design
Best Sound Quality
Spoil your ears
Should you value sound quality above all else, the Sonos Five is the way to go. It also has a sleek design and plenty of smarts.
Best for Home Theaters: Sonos Arc
Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central
While the Sonos Beam is the best soundbar/TV speaker for most people, the Arc is Sonos’s most powerful product for your home theater setup. It’s long, bulky, and expensive, but there’s no denying the sheer prowess offered by it.
You’ll find a total of 11 drivers inside of the Arc, which is a big step up from the 5 inside of the Beam. This allows for even better sound quality, giving your movies, TV shows, and music that much more oomph. Also present on the Sonos Arc is Dolby Atmos, which creates for a 3D listening experience unlike anything you’ve heard before.
Outside of the impressive audio quality, the Sonos Arc comes equipped with voice control via Google Assistant and Alexa, along with support for Apple’s AirPlay 2. Set up is dead simple, as is the ability to expand the Arc with additional gear like the Sub and One SL for a true surround sound system.
- Unmatched room-filling sound
- Supports Dolby Atmos
- Google Assistant and Alexa voice control
- Installation is a breeze
- It’s quite pricey
- Dust magnet
Best for Home Theaters
Home theater champion
A proper home theater isn’t complete without the Sonos Arc. From its jaw-dropping sound to the sleek design, the Arc is a gem.
Best for Old Speakers: Sonos Port
Sonos speakers stand out for two main reasons — Sonos makes great-sounding speakers and the seamless pairing and playback across multiple Sonos devices is ridiculously simple. With the Sonos Port, you can bring that second point over to any old, non-smart stereo speakers you already have.
The Port has a variety of, well, ports on the back to connect to your old hardware, and once all set up, you can make your existing speakers a part of your Sonos ecosystem through the Port’s interface. The line-in ports allow you to connect your record player, CD player, or another audio source, whereas the line-out ports support amplified audio equipment.
Also included with the Port are controls for treble and bass, AirPlay 2, and seamless control of everything through the Sonos app.
- Brings old speakers into your Sonos ecosystem
- Line-in and line-out ports
- Customizable bass and treble
- AirPlay 2
- Compact size
- Requires you to have an existing stereo speaker
- A little expensive
Best for Old Speakers
Upgrade your existing gear
With the Sonos Port, you can bring your old, non-smart speakers seamlessly into your growing Sonos ecosystem.
There’s not a bad speaker in the entire Sonos lineup, but among everything the company offers, the one we think is the best overall pick for most people is the Sonos One.
When you step back and think about it, the Sonos One is kind of the perfect speaker in a lot of ways. It’s small enough to fit in most rooms, offers shockingly great sound quality being such a compact speaker, and has the awesome flexibility of being able to use the Google Assistant or Alexa to answer all of your random questions throughout the day.
The Sonos One works great on its own, but thanks to the way Sonos has designed its ecosystem of products, gets even better the more you buy into it. You can pair the One with other Sonos products throughout your home for home-filling audio, pair two Ones next to each other for stereo sound, or pair a couple of Ones with the Beam or Arc for 3.1 surround sound.
Whatever you decide to do with the Sonos One, it offers an insane amount of value and function for its relatively low asking price. Looking for the best Sonos deals? We have you covered as well.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Joe Maring is Android Central’s News Editor. He loves talking about all things tech, but smart wearables are what get him really excited (just ask the drawer of smartwatches in his office). He also likes coffee and goes to Starbucks far too often. Have a tip? Send an email to joe.m[email protected] or hit him up on Twitter @JoeMaring1
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