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.
THE HORRORS: V WOLF ALICE: VISIONS OF A LIFE TYLER, THE CREATOR: FLOWER BOY