Sonos One vs Play 1: The Breakdown

Multi-room speakers have become all the rage in the home automation world.  And when it comes to multi-room speakers, you don’t get much better than Sonos.

Sonos One vs Play 1

What We Use At Home

Sonos One

It’s the upgraded version of the Play 1, but is it better; find out below.

Sonos One

VS

The New Kid

Sonos Play 1

It was one of the first affordable multi-room speakers in the Sonos range.

Sonos Play 1
Sonos OneSonos Play 1
Sizes (Inches)84.7″ x 4.7″ x 6.4″4.7″ x 4.7″ x 6.4″
AlexaBuilt-inEcho
Mobile ApplicationYesYes
WiFIYesYes
Bluetooth PlaybackNoNo
Multi-room AudioYesYes
True PlayYesYes
AUX InputNoNo
Wall MountableYesYes
Humidity-ResistantYesYes
Warranty1-Year1-Year
BuyFind Best PriceFind Best Price

#1 – Sonos One

Challenger #1 

Sonos One

The Sonos One a powerful smart speaker that comes with Alexa and Google Assistant built-in.

This enables you to take control of the device using your voice and without the need to buy additional accessories.

By using the AI assistant, you can keep up to date with the news, set alarms, or get your questions answered.

This brilliant sound system provides the user with a rich room-filling sound

And it’s compact design means it can fit in nearly any space, without taking to much room.

You can even put it in the bathroom due to the Sonos speaker being humidity resistant.

One of the most desirable features the Sonos One provides is the ability to connect to Apple AirPlay 2.

Sonos One also has the ability to pair two devices together in the same room for stereo separation and more detailed sound. You also have the option to build your own system to create a home theater surround system.

Key Features

  • Supports AirPlay 2
  • Multi-room audio
  • Built-in voice control
  • Small compact design
  • Powerful sound
  • Two class D amps
  • One-touch privacy mode
  • Over 50 streaming services using the Sonos App

What Other People Say

The sound quality was amazing, and considering the small size, it managed to keep up with the Sonos 3 model. Another customer was very pleased with the overall build quality; it was loud, robust, and looked the part. They also mentioned the second unit was a must-have.

For the most part, people couldn’t say enough good things about the Sonos One Speaker. The voice command integration was easy to set up and worked fantastically. One of the main problems I saw was the inability to play music using Bluetooth.

Final Verdict

With the addition of built-in voice controls, the Sonos One really stepped the game up. Due to the powerful audio capabilities, it takes it a step further than Amazon and Google can offer as yet. It was also great to see the integration of Apple AirPlay 2.

Overall it’s a lovely piece kit that showed the world that Sonos is leading the way in multi-room speakers. One downside was the lack of Spotify on launch day, luckily they rolled out an update quickly, but this does mean you need to be a premium member to access the App.

What We Liked

  • Multi-room audio
  • Surround sound configurations
  • Alexa and Google Assistant ready
  • Rich and powerful sound
  • Stream over 50 services through Sonos App

What We Didn’t Like

  • Can distort at high volumes
  • No Bluetooth or wired audio

#2 – Sonos Play 1

At the time it was, and still is one of the most affordable multi-room Sonos speakers in their ranges.

Again, don’t let its small size fool you; it’s extremely powerful and can do a lot more than just play some music. 

The compact design means it can fit in nearly any space you have available. They make the side of speaker with a single piece of metal for smoother edges and a more careful design. 

The speaker stands at 16 cm tall, around 12 cm in width, and weighs in at 185g.

Set-up takes a few minutes to get running. It’s a simple case of plugging in the speaker and downloading the App. At the top of the device, you’ll notice a volume rocker accompanied by a play and pause button.

At the back of the Sonos Play 1, you’ll find an Ethernet port, power jack, and wall mounting socket. You also have the opportunity to pair two of the devices together for a more detailed sound.

Key Features

  • Two Class-D amps
  • Humidity resistant
  • Touch controls
  • Compact design
  • Alexa compatible
  • Multi-room audio
  • Surround sound configuration
  • Powerful sound

What Other People Say

One customer said they had purchased multiple wireless speakers in their lifetime, and this was one of the best they’ve owned. It has superb sound quality and was extremely easy to set up. They said you could tell Sonos had spent time and effort making this speaker.

A different consumer said it was a phenomenal speaker; it was easy to use and provided them with excellent sound quality. But not everyone was happy (are they ever?), some people had difficulties setting up Alexa, while others were unhappy that you now had to sign up to the App to use the device.

Final Verdict

Considering the speaker was built seven years ago, you’d expect it to a little outdated now. But that really isn’t the case, yes it missing a few of the more recent developments, but it really does hold its own even with today’s standards.

Overall the sound quality remains fantastic, and the small size meant you could place it wherever you needed without it taking up to much room. For anyone looking to dip their toes into the multi-room speaker world, the Sonos Play 1 is a great place to start.

What We Liked

  • Small and convenient size
  • Excellent sound
  • Good value for money
  • Easy to set-up
  • Multi-room audio

What We Didn’t Like

  • No built-in Alexa feature
  • No AirPlay 2 support
  • No Bluetooth or wired AUX

Things They Have In Common

Due to both devices being produced by the same company, they have quite a few things in common. Which I’m sure you expected.

Let’s start with the general design; both are the same size, so you’ll have no trouble finding a spot for them; plus, they both look stylish enough for it to not look out of place.

They’re also both built to be humidity resistant, which, if you like singing in the shower, is a perfect speaker to help you find your pitch. The outside edges are molded with a single piece of metal to ensure no sharp edges and a seamless finish.

When it comes to sound, both use two class-D amps to provide clear and compelling audio. Both can be integrated with Alexa to provide voice controls.

Head To Head

To make to clearer which speaker wins the Sonos One Vs Play 1, I’ve picked five categories to put the speakers in a head to head battle to see which one will come out victorious.

Let’s take a look:

Price

If you’re planning to pick a Sonos speaker based purely on price, then I’m afraid there can only be one winner. Sonos Play 1 has a starting price of $149, which is around $50 cheaper than the Sonos One. Now for the extra $50, you do get a lot of additional features.

But, this round is based solely on price, which is why the Sonos Play 1 wins this battle.

Winner: Sonos Play 1

Design

When it comes to design, both devices are pretty similar. And it shouldn’t come as a surprise; the Sonos One is just an updated version of the Sonos Play 1. The dimensions of both devices are nearly identical, and they also use one sheet of metal to ensure smooth edges.

There are a few differences though, Sonos Play 1 comes with a threaded mounting hole, which gives you a few more placement options. Another difference you’ll notice is the touch-sensitive controls on the Sonos One compared to the three physical buttons on the Play 1.

It’s tough to pick a winner when it comes to design; they’re both too similar. But, if I were going to be picky, I’d choose the Sonos One, but only just.

Winner: Sonos One

Set-Up

Setting up the speakers might seem precisely the same to start with, but it does vary a little towards the end. Both devices start by plugging the speakers into the wall and downloading the App. But this is where the similarities stop. With the built-in voice assistant with the Sonos One, you’ll be asked to choose which assistant you want to work with.

But this process is a lot easier than linking your Echo to the Sonos Play 1, which takes a little more configuration, which is why the winner of this round is the Sonos One.

Winner: Sonos One

Sound

Again, it’s another tough round to judge, partly because Sonos is so secretive when it comes to the spec of their speakers. What we do know is both the Sonos One and Play 1 sound excellent; they both provide a rich sound, but which one is better?

If I’m honest, they both sound very similar, but the Sonos One does seem slightly better but by a very thin line. In fact, I doubt the average user would be able to tell much difference.

Winner: Sonos One

Features

I have to be honest; there isn’t much competition here at all. Let’s start with Sonos One coming with Alexa or Google Assistant built-in.

This was a massive game-changer; it meant you didn’t have to purchase an extra device to gain voice controls. To switch between the two, all you have to do is configure the settings in the App.

Another nice feature that comes with the Sonos One is the privacy button; we all understand that the AI is always listening from or smart devices.  And for some people, this is a massive concern. But, by tapping the mic button, it will disable the microphone, so you’re guaranteed Amazon or Google are not listening.

There’s one more thing I’d like to add to this list; the Sonos One can support AirPlay 2, which is vital for a reason. With changes being made to Apple’s iOS, it will prevent the App from seeing what music is stored on your phone locally, which, as you can imagine, would cause all types of problems.

Winner: Sonos One

Final Verdict: Sonos One Vs Play 1

The Sonos One smashed the Play 1 out of the park, don’t get me wrong, the Sonos Play 1 is still a fantastic piece of kit, it’s just a little outdated now.

To start with, the touch-sensitive buttons are a nice touch, which gives a smarter feel to the device.

Also, the built-in voice control system means you don’t have to purchase a new device to use voice commands.

Sonos One

The ability to use Apple AirPlay might not be a massive advantage right now, but with future iOS updates, it’s sure to come in handy.

I also really liked the privacy button, too many smart devices are invading privacy, so it was nice to know Google and Amazon couldn’t listen to us.

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Frequently Asked Questions

The short answer is yes, if you haven’t already got a multi-room speaker, then the Sonos One is 100% a great option. It’s one of their cheapest ranges, but with big features. The speaker sounds fantastic and provides a rich and powerful sound.

Unlike Sonos Play 1, it comes with built-in voice commands, meaning you don’t have to purchase any additional devices.

There are a few key differences between the two models, and most of them you can’t see with the naked eye. The design feature you’ll notice is at the top of the device, instead of the classic push-button controls; the Sonos One opted for a touch-sensitive panel. Inside, they’ve decided to integrate Amazon Alexa and Google Home, which now means no additional devices are needed if you’re interested in finding out more check out my full review.

No, Sonos is not designed to be a portable device, which is why their device requires a wired power source. You can play music wirelessly as they provide no AUX ports.

Yes, Sonos released last year that they were going to discontinue the Sonos Play 1. With the release of the Sonos One, there was little point to continue manufacturing them. That being said, if you’re desperate for a Play 1, there are still a few left, which you can find here.

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