Categories: AppleAudioSonos

Sonos Takes On Apple Homepod

The delayed and seemingly incomplete, or at least limited and locked-in, Apple HomePod has arrived… for pre-order, anyway.

Digital Trends reports that the new $349 connected speaker’s sound really shines, besting all comers in fact. But, to fully appreciate Siri’s soundtrack, one must also subscribe to Apple Music. On the flip side, connected speaker pioneer Sonos recently integrated Amazon’s more adept Alexa voice control with Google Assistant waiting in the wings. Further, given 80 linked services, Sonos natively streams just about everything… including the aforementioned Apple Music. So while a single Homepod may sound better, Sonos is generating some well deserved publicity by offering up two Play One speakers (in black or white) for the price of a single Apple speaker (also in black, err space grey, or white) – essentially a limited time $50 discount.

Personally, having cycled through a number of Sonos and Bose devices, I’ve concluded my hearing is about as good as my vision and I’d probably be content with a few $99 refreshed Amazon Echoes for music playback and even more extensive Alexa interaction. Although our single remaining Sonos Play:1 has stayed strong, playing nature sounds and lullabies remotely, on command each and every day in our daughter’s room.

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  • Absolutely love my Sonos system. Pair of Play:1s in the kitchen, pair of Play:5s in the bedroom, Connect:Amp and sub in the guest room, and a new Sonos One in the bathroom. I can ask Alexa the time, add items to my todo list, skip songs and adjust volume without getting out of the shower... With the new promo I can add a Sonos One to each of the other two bathrooms. And with Sonos Trueplay I’m surprised to hear you suggest that HomePod may sound better — likely not better than a pair of tuned Ones, let alone an (admittedly more expensive) pair of tuned Fives...

  • For everyone who's looking at the Sonos One, keep in mind a few limitations:

    •Not all of the Alexa features you'll find on an Echo device are available on third-party devices like the Sonos One. The big limitation for me is that you can't use the Alexa Drop-In "intercom" system on third-party devices. This means no calling from your bedroom Echo Dot to your Kitchen Sonos One.

    •While the sound quality of my Sonos One is very good, the far-field mic array is not anywhere near as good as the Echo devices. My Sonos One is much slower to recognize the wake word, and I have to speak much louder than I do with my Echo devices. It's pretty common for the Echo Dot in my living room to pick up my voice before my Sonos One does, even if I'm standing 40' and around a corner from the Dot, and 3' from the Sonos One. It was okay when the speaker was released, then got worse, and now has gotten a bit better with a software update... but still nowhere as good as the Echo devices.

    •You cannot disable the Sonos' acknowledgement sound, which means it is constantly beeping to tell you it is listening (even for false positives, which it does—eventually—ignore). It's really annoying. I sure wish they had a visual indicator like the Echo products do, instead of that obnoxious bleep.

Published by
Dave Zatz