ma­zon’s Echo is great for loads of things. It can be your alarm clock and me­te­o­rol­o­gist ev­ery morn­ing, and the ar­chi­tect of your smart home. Alas, there’s one thing it’s not quite so awe­some at: music. So the Sonos One is here to get Alexa in good voice.

A1 Let’s talk about grilles

Ap­par­ently Sonos toyed with lots of de­signs for the One be­fore land­ing on the same cute squar­ish shape as ever. Still, the Play:1 was an adorable-look­ing thing and the same goes for the se­quel. It’s got a fun wrap­around grille that dom­i­nates its front, al­low­ing as much space as pos­si­ble for its ar­ray of two Class-d dig­i­tal amps, one tweeter and one mid-woofer. All that adds up to an almighty sound for a speaker this size.

2 Teenage kicks

Sonos has built the One to live up to the same au­dio stan­dards as the ex­cel­lent Play:1. Place the two speak­ers side by side and you’ll find that’s ex­actly the case. This ranks as one of the best small speak­ers you can buy right now, whether it’s blast­ing out Brand New, Solange or Ein­stürzende Neubauten. The dif­fer­ence between it and the Echo is night and day.

3 Lis­ten­ing in

Google As­sis­tant sup­port is also com­ing to the Play:1 next year, but for now the Sonos One runs on Alexa alone. As with an Echo, this means you can bark all man­ner of in­struc­tions at it and it’ll largely do your bid­ding. Since the soft­ware was still in beta at the time of writ­ing, we did ex­pe­ri­ence a few bugs and Spo­tify play­back wasn’t yet sup­ported by voice con­trol.

4 Fam­ily en­ter­tain­ment

As ever, the new One tucks right into Sonos’s ex­ist­ing line-up of mul­ti­room de­vices. So you can con­trol it via an app, as well your voice, and cre­ate a mesh of speak­ers around your home that all blast out Barry White in glo­ri­ous uni­son (other love-wal­ruses are avail­able). Bet­ter still, the app has been trimmed down with a re­cent up­date so find­ing what you want to play isn’t such a faff. Wor­ried some­one could tune into your mut­ter­ings through the mi­cro­phones? The six-mic ar­ray is hard-wired to a light that turns on when they’re in use. Bri­tish in­die’s premier shapeshifters give stomp­ing elec­tro a go on their fifth record, and find it fits them rather well with this post­de­peche Mode af­fair. If there was any doubt that Wolf Alice are some­thing spe­cial af­ter their blind­ing de­but, this stonk­ing fol­low-up puts the ar­gu­ment to rest. Odd Fu­ture’s premier trou­ble­maker gives his sen­si­tive side a wel­come out­ing and creeps a few notches up in hip-hop’s peck­ing or­der.


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