The Sonos One Is a Smart Speaker for Music Geeks

The brand’s new speaker combines voice-activated performance with state-of-the-art sound capabilities.

Choosing a smart speaker can feel like a Bachelor elimination. Alexa is the popular one, but Siri shares your taste in (streaming) music. When it entered the increasingly crowded field of smart speakers this week, sound-system maker Sonos decided that all AIs should get roses. The company’s new Sonos One ($199) supports multiple voice and streaming services, and while it launched with only built-in Amazon Echo capabilities, Google Assistant will be available for deep, soul-searching conversations next year. It also links wirelessly to existing Sonos systems for a surround-sound experience. “Devices that were designed for one purpose are now being asked to do the work of a home stereo,” Sonos design VP Tad Toulis says of the preexisting smart-speaker market, so the company is matchmaking audiophiles to performance—not just a voice-activated platform. Toulis adds that Sonos feels similarly agnostic about visual presence, noting that “the periphery is where people want these things to behave. The physicality of something has to be immediately understood and desirable, without shouting at me when I’m watching a movie.” Of course, you should feel free to yell at Sonos One mid-scene. It’s always listening.

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