What's Different About Sonos's New Speaker?

Photo: Courtesy of Sonos.
If you're thinking about buying a smart speaker — one equipped with the recognizable voices of Alexa, Google Assistant, or, soon, Siri — the number of options at the moment can seem intimidating. There's Apple's HomePod, which is coming out later this year, Amazon just unveiled a new line of Echo devices, and Google launched Google Home Max and the adorable Google Home Mini today. Now, Sonos is joining the competition.
The company known for its high quality sound and stylishly minimalist speakers. Today, it announced the latest product: Sonos One. One looks very similar to Sonos's popular Play:1 speaker — it also comes in black and white, costs $199, and is compact — but comes equipped with support for multiple voice-activated helpers. Currently, only Amazon Alexa is included, but Sonos says Google Assistant will be available next year. Alexa will be able to connect to Spotify, Pandora, and other streaming services, as well as a given, Amazon Music.
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Sonos is betting on a few things to win a highly coveted spot in your apartment. One, its well-acknowledged sound quality: If you haven't heard heavy bass streamed from Play:1, just know that it's sharp enough to make you feel like there in the recording studio with your favorite artist. It's also touting the fact that, when Google Assistant joins in 2018, it will be the only speaker supporting more than one virtual assistant. This will be exciting to try, but it isn't yet clear how useful it will actually be. (How many virtual assistants does one person really need to have on hand?)
If you're a current Sonos user, you'll still get some of the perks of today's announcement without needing to invest in the new Sonos One. A software update rolling out today will allow you to access Alexa — though you will need to invest in an additional Alexa-enabled device to use it. If you're in this position, opt for the less expensive Echo Dot.
Stay tuned for word on how Sonos One stacks up against Google Play Max and HomePod.
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