Which is the right Sonos speaker for you? There are two great entry-level Sonos options in the form of the excellent Sonos One and Sonos Play:1 and, while they’re very similar, there is one key difference.
One brings integrated voice control with Amazon Alexa, as well as Google Assistant in the US (UK from July). Here is how their features, designs and specifications compare to help you work out which one you should pick.
Sonos One vs Sonos Play:1: Design
- Same size and weight
- Similar design, but Sonos One is more refined
- Sonos One has capacitive control panel on top, Play:1 has physical buttons
The Sonos Play:1 has a lovely design, offering an indented top, rounded edges, a tapered bottom and a metal grille that stretches almost 360-degrees around the speaker.
It measures 161.45 x 119.7 x 119.7mm, weighs 1.85g and it comes in white with a light metal grille or black with a graphite grille. On the top of the Play:1 there is a physical Play/Pause button, volume rocker and a status LED light, while the back has a stand mounting screw hole.
The Sonos One follows closely in the Play:1’s footsteps, offering a very similar design but with a few refinements. It too has rounded edges, a tapered bottom and a grille surrounding it, but the top panel is flat with a capacitive control pad rather than indented with physical buttons.
The newer speaker measures and weighs exactly the same as the Play:1 and it too comes in white or black options, but the white option has a white matte grille and the black option has a black matte grille rather than the metal finishes of the Play:1. There is also no mounting hole for a stand on the Sonos One.
Sonos One vs Sonos Play:1: Features
- Both offer seamless multi-room functionality
- Trueplay compatible
- Sonos One has built-in voice control
- Play:1 needs an Echo/Echo Dot or Google Home/Home Mini for voice control
The Sonos Play:1 and Sonos One will both work independently or as part of an existing Sonos system, offering multi-room audio.
The Play:1 can be paired with another Play:1 to create a stereo pair, while the Sonos One can be paired with another Sonos One for a stereo pair, and both can be grouped with a Sonos Playbar, Playbase or Beam for a 3.1 system, or with a Sonos SUB too for a 5.1 system.
The two speakers both offer Trueplay compatibility, allowing them to be tuned in accordance with their surroundings using the microphone within an iOS device and they are both compatible with over 80 music services, including Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music and Tidal.
Where these two devices differ is the Sonos One offers integrated voice control, allowing you to control it via the Sonos app, or by simply asking it to play a particular song, turn the volume up or down or skip a track.
The One offers a choice between the Amazon Alexa personal assistant and soon Google Assistant – Assistant is already available in the US, with the UK getting it in July. Access to both means you’ll also be able to do most things Alexa and Assistant can do through your Sonos speaker, such as ask them to order an Uber, turn your living room lights red, or what the weather is like. It’s worth noting you can’t use both at the same time – you have to choose, but you have the option to switch between the two.
The Play:1 meanwhile doesn’t feature built-in voice control but voice control through Alexa is possible if you have an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot device, and voice control through Google Assistant is possible in the US with a Google Home Mini or Google Home speaker.
The experience will be a little less fluid than with the One, with the command having to go through the Echo or Dot or Home Mini or Home and you needing to tell it the room of the speaker you want the action to take place on, but it’s still voice control.
Sonos One vs Sonos Play:1: Hardware
- Both have two amps, one tweeter and one mid-woofer
- Sonos One has microphones
- Custom drivers on the Sonos One
- AirPlay 2 support on Sonso One
The Sonos Play:1 and Sonos One both feature two Class-D digital amplifiers, one tweeter for high frequency response and one mid-woofer for mid-range vocal frequencies and bass.
The Sonos One does offer custom drivers however, along with a six far-field microphone array that allows it to offer voice control.
There is a microphone button on the capacitive control pad on the top of the Sonos One that you can tap on and off in order to choose whether the Sonos One is listening or not.
Both speakers require a Wi-Fi connection and the Sonos app, which is available for iOS and Android devices, as well as Mac and PC. Neither has Bluetooth support. The Sonos One is compatible with Apple AirPlay 2 however, while the Play:1 is not with Sonos saying it “doesn’t have the horsepower to support Air Play 2”.
Sonos One vs Sonos Play:1: Price
The Sonos Play:1 normally costs £149 / $149 and it is available to buy from various outlets.
The Sonos One normally costs £199 / $199 and like the Play:1, it is available from various retailers.
Sonos One vs Sonos Play:1: Conclusion
The Sonos Play:1 and Sonos One are very similar in design and sound output, but the One is slightly more refined in finish, offers capacitive touch controls and features integrated voice control.
The two devices have many of the same features in terms of music service compatibility, multi-room audio and Trueplay compatibility but the Sonos One offers seamless voice control for your entire Sonos system, without the need for an extra device like the Echo Dot or Google Home Mini as the Play:1 requires.
With only a £50 price difference, the Sonos One is the better option for many looking to start their Sonos collection or add a small speaker to an existing one. Some may not want voice control, in which case the Play:1 is still an excellent device that delivers a great sound from its small package, while also saving you some money too.