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Thomas, our 11 year old guitar playing son, likes to use our Sonos speaker to play music from his iPod playlists loud. The rest of the family likes the ability to shout “Alexa, play some Tom Petty.” When I heard that Sonos was releasing Sonos One, a system integrated with Amazon Alexa, I was extremely excited. After all, we could all use less devices that do more than the current lineup of single purpose electronics.
Sonos music systems are the gold standard of streaming music players. Sonos is a premium brand with high quality speakers and the ability to stream music within your house or from practically every online music service. And we’re all pretty familiar with how Amazon Echo is changing the way we interact with devices in our home.
Introducing Sonos One
Sonos One is a Sonos speaker with Alexa built into it that provides over 50 different music sources, all controlled through Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant. You can play music, ask it questions, get the weather, and all of the other things you would expect from Alexa. With the addition of the Sonos, you get a louder, bigger speaker, additional music sources, and the ability to voice control your existing Sonos systems as well.
Sonos One comes in matte black or white, intended to blend in with your surroundings and be placed in a central location in your home. It is about as big around as a roll of paper towels but only about 60% as tall. It is elegantly designed and quite solid. The electronics, amplifier and speaker add some heft to it, making it a sturdy package that won’t tip over.
Setting Up Sonos One
Sonos has been making streaming speakers for years and the setup process is quite detailed yet easy to follow. You plug the system into your home router temporarily so that the device can learn your WiFi network login information. Once the system is on the network, you add it to your Sonos account and then link your Amazon account to your Sonos account. The process is supposed to work quite easily, but I ran into some trouble with it.
Before setting it up, you should have a plan of which family member’s Amazon account you will link the system to, and make sure that any existing Amazon credentials or Alexa apps on your mobile device aren’t using different accounts.
I was able to get Sonos One working with my Amazon account after some help from Sonos’ excellent US-based technical support. These guys listened to my issues and responded with knowledgeable answers. They were clearly NOT reading from scripts and asking me to check to make sure my mouse was plugged in correctly. They understood the trouble I was having and they worked with me to get it solved in a quick manner. Huge thanks to Sonos for maintaining a quality customer support team!
How Sonos One Works
Once I got Sonos One up and running, it was time to blast some music giving it commands like “Alexa, play DC101.” “Alexa, play some Foo Fighters.”
We placed the Sonos One on the kitchen island, usurping a spot previously held by our Amazon Echo and more recently by Google Home.
The Sonos One is a bigger speaker that produces larger, louder sound. It has good bass but and very crisp treble. Overall, it sounds great, and I think I’ll probably move the Sonos One over to the corner of the room, reclaiming space on the kitchen island.
With a more powerful speaker and bigger amp, it sounds great and it deserves to be turned up a little bit. Like a Ferrari, you need to give it some gas to really see how it performs.
The integration between the Sonos interface and Alexa seems pretty good, but I did find the system to be a bit finicky. I had some trouble where the speaker would connect to the internet, answer questions, and tell me it was going to play music, but then failed to actually play anything. I disabled and re-added the Sonos skill and things seemed to come back to life. In terms of the tightness of integration, I’d give it about a 7 out of 10, which is pretty good. I’m sure that they’ll work out any product launch kinks in the next few months and push them to the field with software updates.
Sonos One is the best of Sonos and the Amazon Echo for your living room, kitchen, office, or just about anywhere you want to shout “Alexa, play some music.”
Retailing for $199, this is one of Sonos’ least expensive products, yet it’s most powerful in terms of features. This seems like the deal of the century if you ask me. Even if you already have an existing Sonos system, Sonos One is a perfect addition to your system because it allows you to control all of the Sonos products in your house through the Sonos One speaker. Once you get past the account logins and initial setup, this speaker really rocks and with Sonos and Amazon Alexa continuing to update their products with new features, services, and skills, music and voice options will keep getting better with time.
I was compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free. All opinions are my own and based on personal experience. Affiliate links are included in this post.