The Sonos One and Google Home are perhaps two of the best smart speakers on the market today. Even though these two smart devices provided much of the same functionality – play music, provide information, control your smart home – each smart speaker goes about it in different ways.
Both devices are excellent smart speakers, but let’s face it, you only really need one. Making the choice for which smart speaker works best for you boils down to which ecosystem or technology you prefer. So here’s a closer look at the Sonos One and the Google Home. We’re hoping it will give you the information you need to make an educated choice about which smart speaker works for you.
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Most people know that Sonos was first a speaker company, but has since broken into the smart speaker market. With the company’s Sonos One with smart assistant enabled, you get the best of both worlds.
The Sonos One is loosely designed on the company’s already existing Play 1 smart speaker, however you’ll notice a significant number of improvements. On top of the device is a touch-sensitive surface with a trio of play/pause and volume buttons.Swiping to the left or right skips the tracks backward or forward through the playlist.
Tapping the center of the touch-sensitive top plays or pauses the music, while touching the right and left sides of the panel lower and raise the volume. The touch controls are simple and intuitive, but typically you’ll control the device through the smartphone app. Using the physical controls on the device are handy if you just want to skip a track, but the reality is that you’re unlikely to use them.
This is especially true since you now have the option to use voice control. To manage voice control the Sonos is outfitted with six microphones to hear you no matter what you’re asking. The mics are joined by a pair of amps, a mid-woofer, and a tweeter.
On top of the Sonos is an LED light indicating both power, and to let you know when the device is listening. This LED is hardwired to the microphones contained within the Sonos One, and the company states that the device does not listen if the LED is not illuminated.
Since the Sonos combines its own services with Amazon’s Alexa smart assistant, setting up the device is a little more involved than it is with the Google Home. It’s not a painful experience, it just requires more patience and time.
Once you have the Sonos One plugged in and turned on, you’ll have to go through the process of signing into both your Alexa and Sonos smartphone apps, and then both accounts. You will also need to sign in to any additional music services you stream on a regular basis.
After you’ve signed into your accounts, the Sonos One will ask you to perform a tuning process it refers to as “Trueplay Tuning.” Basically, you walk around the room with your phone so the device can get determine its environment and adjust its sound accordingly. However, if you don’t like the way the Sonos One sounds, you can always adjust the bass and treble manually through the app.
Lastly, you’ll want to assign your Sonos One to a specific room. This step allows you to identify the device through the app. It’s also during this step that you’ll be able to add additional speakers to the device to get a true in stereo experience.
Since Sonos is well-known for the quality in its speakers, it’ not surprise that the Sonos One sounds amazing. For its size, it does a fantastic job of producing beautiful highs and solid lows. It separates the sound so that it doesn’t sound mashed down into a single channel. The ability to be paired with other Sonos speakers doesn’t hurt either.
Integration with Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant is nearly flawless on the Sonos One. This is perfect for those that prefer to use their voice to launch and play music, as opposed to digging through their phone. The beauty is that the Sonos integrates with nearly all streaming music apps, and behaves nearly exactly as you would expect an Alexa speaker to behave.
You can ask the Sonos One to play music, tell you the weather, or essentially anything else an Amazon device should be capable of doing. Additionally, you can tell the Sonos One play music on other Sonos speakers in your home.
Additionally, Sonos has announced that it expects to bring Google Assistant support to the Sonos One in 2018. Details have not been given, however if this is the case, the Sonos One can add Chromecast Audio speakers to its already growing repertoire.
The Sonos One feels like it could eventually be the perfect Alexa speaker. Its audio quality is a level above the rest of the Echo hardware currently available on the market, and its speaker already integrates very well with other Sonos speakers. The Sonos One offers all the streaming services that Amazon offers, and more, and you won’t find a better Amazon speaker out there.
The primary purpose of Google Home is to make your life as easy as possible. It can lower your thermostat, tell you weather, or find a funny video and cast it onto your television. Your Google Home can tell you how much plane tickets cost to Barbados, who won the 2015 World Series, and give you the specs of the latest piece of technology.
Google’s Home device is far from the perfect smart assistant and speaker, but it’s sure to continue to make improvements as the technology makes advancements. For now, enjoy the fact that you can play your favorite music without the need to pull out your phone and find the right app. Just tell the Google Home what you want to hear, sit back, and enjoy.
The best way to describe the Google Home device would be in the shape of a small vase. It is wider on its bottom and tapers to a smaller top. All Google Homes come default with a gray base made of fabric and a rubber bottom. If you want a different base color, you can purchase additional ones on the Google Home site.
On the top of the Google Home, you’ll find a touch-capacitive panel. This touch portion of your Google Home lets you control the volume, as well as pause and play music. You can also activate the Google Home assistant with a touch.
Once your Google Home is active, you can wake it up by saying the words “Ok Google” or “Hey Google.” When you do, you’ll see four multi-colored lights whirl across the top to indicate that the device is listening. The Google Home also includes a physical button which allows you to mute the speaker, which means you can be completely sure whether the device is listening or not.
Included the Google Home are two microphones, which do a decent job of picking up your voice. In the bottom you’ll find two passive radiators and a speak, which put out an impressive amount of volume. The Sonos One sounds better since that’s what it was built for, but the Google Home comes close to matching it.
As mentioned in the previous paragraph, the Google Home is definitely capable of holding its own as an audio device. While it can’t access all the streaming services the Sonos One can, it still has its fair share of options. Some of these include Google Play Music, Spotify, Pandora, and YouTube Music. The benefit here is that Google Play has perhaps the largest song library of any streaming service available today.
Compared with the Sonos One, however, music on the Google Home doesn’t quite pack the same amount of punch in the low end. The mids and highs also aren’t quite as clear, but that doesn’t mean the music on the Google Home doesn’t sound good.
If you’re expecting to replace your surround sound setup with the Google Home, you’re going to be disappointed, but you’re still getting a solid music device that produces a quality sound.
Features that set the Google Home apart from the Sonos One are great to have, but don’t necessarily have anything to do with your music and sound experience. These are features that you might discover you want, so you’re willing to sacrifice on sound quality or streaming music services to have them.
For starters, you can use your Chromecast to cast songs and videos from your Google Home to your television. While this isn’t a feature that a lot of people may put to use, it’s still pretty cool to have. You can tell the Google Home to play or pause the video, and it’ll do so. You can do the same with TV shows and movies.
The second thing Google Home users will enjoy is the ability to integrate it with smart home devices. You can turn down the thermostat, control your lights, and secure your home, all through voice commands with the Google Home. If you’re at all interested in setting up a smart home, a Google Home is a great place to start.
The Google Home is not the end all be all of smart home speakers, but it does have a lot of benefits and features. It will work well with other smart home devices, and the list will only continue to grow.
You will get a smart speaker that has a massive default library from which to pull with Google’s Play Music. It’s quality doesn’t quite match that of the Sonos One, but for a small device, it’s packs a pretty powerful punch.
Now that we’ve taken a closer look at both smart speakers, let’s take a high-level look at how the two devices stack up against one another.
|Sonos One||Google Home|
|Microphone||Six microphone array||Yes|
|Wakeup Word||Alexa/Okay Google||Okay Google|
If you’re looking only for a smart speaker, then the clear choice is the Sonos One. It offers a high-quality sound experience that is currently unrivaled on the smart speaker market. You’ll have a ridiculously expansive selection of streaming services to choose from, with all the abilities of Amazon’s Alexa.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a smart speaker that does more than play music and tell you the weather, then you might want to consider the Google Home. The ability to use the device to cast videos and songs to your television, and as a way to manage your smart home devices puts the Google Home in a class of its own.
Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn’t have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!