There aren’t many differences between the Sonos ONE and Sonos PLAY:1, but they are major. Both can be controlled via voice, however, only one of the speakers has Amazon Alexa assistant built-in. So, today we’ll compare the Sonos ONE vs. Sonos PLAY:1 to help you choose the best smart speaker for your home. If you just want the differences, use the navigation below. But we think we should first start with a little bit about Sonos.
About Sonos Speakers
With Sonos speakers you can enjoy full, rich sound in any and every room of your home. All Sonos speakers work great together, so it’s super-easy to extend one speaker into a stereo pair or a 5.1 surround sound system.
Both Sonos ONE and Sonos PLAY:1 produce mono output, however if you’re looking to move from their mono output to stereo, you’ll need to pair them with their own kind of speaker. So, Sonos One will only pair with another Sonos One for stereo output, and likewise the Sonos PLAY:1 will only pair with another Sonos PLAY:1 to create a stereo pair. Other than that, both the Sonos ONE and PLAY:1 sync seamlessly with all other Sonos players to play music or stream a movie.
Sonos also offers speakers with two-in-one solutions for mono & stereo sound output: the Sonos PLAY:3 and Sonos PLAY:5. These two speakers produce different sound depending on their orientation. You’ll get mono sound placing the speaker in a vertical position and stereo output in a horizontal position. And if you’re looking for a deep, soul-shaking bass, just add a Sonos Sub.
Sonos speakers offer uninterrupted streaming of your favorite songs, playlists, podcasts, radio, and more. With over 50 partner music services, you can easily manage all your favorites in the Sonos app.
Besides music streaming, Sonos offers a full 5.1 sound system set for epic wireless home theater surround sound. You can complement your HD TV with highly-detailed, richly-textured sound from the Sonos Playbase or Playbar. Watching Netflix will never be the same again.
Make sure to check our take on Sonos Playbase vs. Playbar if you’re looking for a home theater sound system and streaming music speaker in one.
Sonos ONE vs. Sonos PLAY:1 — Things in Common
When it comes to sound quality, both Sonos ONE and Sonos PLAY:1 sound very similar, if not the same. Each speaker comes with a pair of class-D digital amplifiers to match the speaker drivers, one tweeter for crisp high-frequency response, and one mid-woofer for deep, rich bass. Plus, the speakers feature adjustable bass & treble controls that let you adjust sound by individual room.
Do you like singing while taking a shower? You can place Sonos ONE and PLAY:1 speakers anywhere you want, even in bathrooms and outdoor patios since the speakers are humidity resistant. Just watch out for water drops! Humidity resistant is far away from being weatherproofed.
The Sonos ONE and PLAY:1 speakers both offer Trueplay — a speaker tuning software. The software helps you get the best sound quality out of your Sonos speakers based on your room size, décor, layout, and speaker placement. It analyzes acoustic factors that usually impact the sound quality to make sure the speakers fill in the room with sound perfectly.
Trueplay is only available for iOS devices and requires a one-time setup.
You can control both Sonos ONE and PLAY:1 from the Sonos app. Choose from over 50 streaming services globally to find your favorite playlists, podcasts, audiobooks and more. With the Sonos app you’ve got complete music control at your fingertips: skip tracks, adjust the volume, and send different music to different rooms — all from your smartphone.
These small size speakers fit perfectly in any room. You can either mount them to the wall, ceiling or a speaker stand, or just place them anywhere it feels right.
Both Sonos ONE and PLAY:1 communicate via WiFi for uninterrupted wireless streaming. They connect to your home WiFi network with any 802.11b/g, 2.4 GHz broadcast-capable router. Or if you’d like, you can also wire the speakers directly to your router via an Ethernet cable.
The two Sonos speakers are very similar, yet there are a few differences to consider when choosing between the Sonos ONE vs. Sonos PLAY:1.
Sonos ONE vs. Sonos PLAY:1 — Differences
Difference #1: Amazon Alexa Built-in – Even though you can use your voice to control both of the speakers via Amazon Echo devices, the Sonos ONE actually comes with Alexa assistant already built-in.
So, besides streaming your favorite music, with the Sonos ONE you’ll also be able to ask Alexa to order an Uber, turn your living room lights red (assuming your have Philips Hue or LIFX), or even check the weather forecast. Though, unlike the Amazon Echo, the Sonos ONE lacks support for Drop In, calling and messaging features via Alexa.
One of the major problems with Alexa built-in devices is the lack of Echo Spatial Perception (ESP) — it’s a feature that directs only the speaker that’s closest to you respond to your command. But, hey, good news! The Sonos ONE is the first AVS device to ship with Echo Spatial Perception. So, whenever you say the wake word, “Alexa,” all Alexa speakers that you have will light up but only the closest to you will respond.
Plus, it’s totally up to you to allow the Sonos ONE to listen to you or not. There’s a microphone button on the top panel of the Sonos ONE speaker that you can tap to turn the microphone on or off. If the microphone is on, there’ll be an illuminated LED light indicating it, so you always know when your speaker’s microphone is active. Sonos ONE respects your privacy and we respect Sonos for that.
Difference #2: AirPlay 2 – With the AirPlay 2 support, you can send any sound from your iPhone, iPad or Mac straight to the Sonos ONE smart speaker. Be it a soundtrack, Netflix movie, or a YouTube video — everything is better when you hear it from Sonos speakers.
The AirPlay 2 feature will be available for Sonos ONE, PLAY:5, and Playbase later this year. Unfortunately, the Sonos PLAY:1 won’t support AirPlay 2 since it has way less processing power than it’s modern equivalent, the Sonos ONE.
However, once you get one of the Sonos Airplay-compatible speakers, you’ll be able to unlock AirPlay for your entire Sonos system! Just group any Sonos speaker with a compatible player and you’re all set.
Difference #3: On-Device Control – Besides app and voice control, Sonos ONE and PLAY:1 also offer on-device control. The Sonos ONE features touch buttons whereas the PLAY:1 comes with actual physical buttons.
With the Sonos ONE, everything is just a tap away: tap to adjust the volume or mute the microphone, swipe to skip a track — you’ve got total control at your fingertips.
The Sonos PLAY:1 has a Play/Pause button on the top panel along with a volume rocker and a status LED light.
But all in all, button design is just a matter of preference, however the Sonos ONE’s capacitive control buttons add a nice, stylish touch to its overall look.
Sonos ONE vs. Sonos PLAY:1 — Comparison Chart
|Sonos ONE||Sonos PLAY:1|
|Stereo Output||Only when paired with |
|Only when paired with |
|Class-D Digital Amplifiers||2||2|
|Adjustable Bass & Treble Controls||Yes||Yes|
|A Bass Radiator||No||No|
|Voice Control over Amazon Alexa||Yes||Yes|
|Amazon Alexa Built-in||Yes||No|
|AirPlay 2 coming this year||Yes||No|
|Set Up Over WiFi||Yes||Yes|
|One App Control||Yes||Yes|
|Power supply||Auto-switching 100-240 V||Auto-switching 100-240 V|
|WiFi||802.11b/g, 2.4 GHz||802.11b/g, 2.4 GHz|
|Dimensions||6.36 x 4.69 x 4.69 in.|
161.45 x 119.7 x 119.7 mm
|6.36 x 4.69 x 4.69 in.|
161.45 x 119.7 x 119.7 mm
|Weight||4.08 lbs. (1.85 kg)||4.08 lbs. (1.85 kg)|
|Product finish||White w/ white matte grille;|
Black w/ black matte grille
|White w/ light metallic grille;|
Black w/ graphite grille
Sonos ONE and Sonos PLAY:1’s Accessories
The placement of any speaker can influence its sound quality dramatically. That’s why Sonos made sure you’ve got quite a few options when it comes to speaker placement. With the Sanus Wall Mount you can tilt and swivel your Sonos speaker by 30º and 132º degrees respectively. The mount is ideal for Sonos ONE and Sonos PLAY:1 speakers, though you can also use it with the PLAY:3 speaker.
And in case you’re looking for the best audio experience, we’d recommend checking out the Sanus Floor Stand. With this stand you can easily adjust positions of Sonos ONE and PLAY:1 speakers at the recommended height and angle. Plus, you can make the speaker’s cables disappear in the column’s and base wire channels.
And since Sonos speakers are heavily dependent on a good WiFi signal, make sure your home’s WiFi Network is strong and reliable. Otherwise, just add this Sonos Boost to rooms with a low WiFi signal. The Boost creates a dedicated wireless network for your Sonos system for optimal and stable performance.
Sonos ONE vs. Sonos PLAY:1 — Our Thoughts
The Sonos ONE and Sonos PLAY:1 are very similar when it comes to design and sound output. Though the ONE is slightly more advanced with its Amazon Alexa assistant already built-in, capacitive touch controls and latest hardware to support AirPlay 2.
With around a $50 difference in price, you’ll probably enjoy the Sonos ONE more if you’re at the very beginning of your Sonos sound system build. Plus, you’ll have a smart wireless speaker and Amazon Alexa in one device to entertain and assist you throughout the day.
However, if voice control is not your thing, we’d recommend going with the Sonos PLAY:1. After all, the sound quality is little to no difference between the two. And, you’ll save some money, too.