Sonos One vs Sonos One SL vs Sonos Play:1 differences

  • Sonos / Pocket-lint

    Sonos One

    Our top choice

    The Sonos One is a great smart speaker and a perfect addition or start to a Sonos system, if you can find it at a good price now it’s been succeeded by the Era 100. There’s Alexa and Google Assistant on offer, excellent sound performance and there’s still a great design despite being 6 years old.


    • Great design
    • Alexa and Google Assistant integration
    • Excellent sound quality

    • No Alexa calling compatibility
    • Remains expensive
    • Replaced by Era 100

  • Sonos One SL - tag

    Sonos / Pocket-lint

    Sonos One SL

    A great alternative

    The Sonos One SL is – in a nutshell – a Sonos One but without the microphones. It’s for those who want the design and internal advantages of the Sonos One but don’t want, or need, built-in voice control. Again, make sure you’re getting a good price, but the sound performance here is great.


    • Excellent sound
    • Great Sonos features
    • Perfect used as cinema surrounds

    • More expensive than Play:1 it replaced
    • No Bluetooth
    • Not cheaper despite being replaced

Sonos has several speakers within its portfolio, from the latest entry-level Sonos Era 100 to the largest and most powerful Sonos Five, but if you are after an entry-level speaker, then there are a couple of other options aside from the newest Era 100 that you could consider. The Sonos One succeeded the fabulous Play:1 in 2017 and the Sonos One SL was introduced a couple of years later in 2019. You will find it very difficult to get your hands on a Play:1 these days – that speaker is now 10 years old, though it continues to perform very well in our experience – but you can still buy the Sonos One and Sonos One SL through a number of retailers, while stocks last.

Whether you are considering upgrading a Play:1 speaker or you are trying to work out how the Sonos One, Sonos One SL and the Play:1 differ, this feature is for you. We also have a feature comparing the Sonos Era 100 and the Sonos One to help you work out if spending that little bit extra is worth it. For now though, here is how the Sonos One, Sonos One SL and Play:1 features, designs and specifications compare to help you work out which one you should pick and whether you should upgrade.

Price and availability

Before the Sonos Era 100 arrived, the Sonos One was priced at $219 in the US and £199 in the UK, while the Sonos One SL was around $199 in the US and £179 in the UK. You might find the two speakers available for slightly less now, though it is worth considering spending the extra $30/£30 on the Era 100 if the Sonos One remains full price as you get quite a lot of extra technology in the newer speaker.

As we mentioned, the Play:1 is no longer sold through retailers, so it’s likely the only way you will get hold of it is through a private seller. While we still have two of them within our Sonos setup and they still perform well, we wouldn’t recommend buying one these days, unless you are looking to stereo pair an existing one. Instead, we would suggest waiting until there is a discount on the Sonos One to take advantage of that.


Sonos Updates With The Alexa Spotify Control Youve Been Waiting For image 1

The Sonos Play:1 has a lovely design, offering an indented top, rounded edges, a tapered bottom and a metal grille that stretches almost 360 degrees around the speaker. It measures 161.45 x 119.7 x 119.7mm, weighs 1.85g and it comes in white with a light metal grille or black with a graphite grille. On the top of the Play:1, there is a physical Play/Pause button, volume rocker and a status LED light, while the back has a stand mounting screw hole.

The Sonos One and Sonos One SL follow closely in Play:1’s footsteps, offering a very similar design but with a few refinements. They too have rounded edges, tapered bottoms and grills surrounding them, but the top panels are flat with a capacitive control pad rather than indented with physical buttons.

The One and One SL speakers measure and weigh exactly the same as the Play:1 and they too come in white or black options, but the white option has a white matte grille and the black option has a black matte grille rather than the metal finishes of the Play:1. There is also no mounting hole for a stand on the Sonos One or the Sonos One SL, though there are a range of Sonos accessories that can be used to get these devices where you want them.


Sonos One SL review photo 3

The Sonos Play:1, Sonos One and Sonos One SL will all work independently or as part of an existing Sonos system, offering multi-room audio. The Play:1 can be paired with another Play:1 to create a stereo pair, while the Sonos One and Sonos One SL can be paired with another Sonos One or Sonos One SL for a stereo pair, and all three speakers can be grouped with a Sonos Arc, Playbar, Playbase, Ray, Beam or Beam 2 for a 3.1 system, or with a Sonos Sub or Sub Mini too for a 5.1 system.

The three speakers all offer Trueplay compatibility, allowing them to be tuned in accordance with their surroundings using the microphone within an iOS device and they are all compatible with over 100 music services, including Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music and Tidal. None of these three speakers offer the ability to Trueplay tune using an Android device like the Era 100 allows for thanks to the use of its built-in microphones.

Where these three speakers predominantly differ, however, is the Sonos One offers integrated voice control, allowing you to control it via the Sonos app, or by simply asking it to play a particular song, turn the volume up or down or skip a track. The One offers a choice between Alexa and Google Assistant, as well as Sonos Voice Control. Access to both means you’ll also be able to do most things Alexa and Assistant can do through your Sonos speaker, such as ask them to order an Uber, control compatible smart home devices, or find out what the weather is like. It’s worth noting you can’t use two at the same time – you have to choose, but you have the option to switch between them. It’s worth noting here that the Era 100 doesn’t offer Google Assistant as a choice.

The Play:1 and Sonos One SL don’t feature built-in voice control, but voice control through Alexa to Google Assistant is possible if you have an Alexa or Google Assistant compatible device, like the Sonos One, Sonos Arc, Sonos Beam, Amazon Echo device or Google Home/Nest device.


Sonos One SL review photo 5

The Sonos Play:1, Sonos One and Sonos One SL all feature two Class-D digital amplifiers, one tweeter for high-frequency response and one mid-woofer for mid-range vocal frequencies and bass so the sound performance offered between these devices is solid across the board.

The Sonos One and Sonos One SL do offer custom drivers, however, and the Sonos One has a six-far-field microphone array that allows it to offer voice control. There is a microphone button on the capacitive control pad on the top of the Sonos One that you can tap on and off in order to choose whether the Sonos One is listening or not, but there’s no additional microphone switch like the Era 100 has.

All three speakers require a Wi-Fi connection and the Sonos app, which is available for iOS and Android devices, as well as Mac and PC. Neither has Bluetooth support like the Sonos Move, Sonos Roam SL, Sonos Roam, or the Era 100 and Era 300. The Sonos One and Sonos One SL are compatible with Apple AirPlay 2 however, while the Play:1 is not with Sonos saying it “doesn’t have the horsepower to support AirPlay 2”.


The Sonos Play:1, Sonos One SL and Sonos One are very similar in design and sound output, but the One and One SL are slightly more refined in their finish, offer capacitive touch controls like all the other newer Sonos speakers, and the One features integrated voice control. As we mentioned, the Play:1 will be quite hard to get hold of now, but we wouldn’t recommend buying it now either. If you don’t want to opt for the Era 100, the Sonos One or Sonos One SL would be a much better choice than the Play:1, purely for processing power and their ability to handle new future features if nothing else.

Sonos One - main image

Sonos / Pocket-lint

Sonos One

The Sonos One is a great speaker if you can find it at a good price, with both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, alongside excellent sound performance.

The three devices have many of the same features in terms of music service compatibility, multi-room audio and Trueplay compatibility, but the Sonos One offers seamless voice control for your entire Sonos system, without the need for an extra device like the Echo Dot or Nest Mini as the Play:1 and Sonos One SL require. In the same breath, the Sonos One SL offers all the same features as the Sonos One, including AirPlay 2, but it ditches the microphones for those not after a smart speaker.

The Sonos One is a great option for many looking to start their Sonos collection or add a small speaker to an existing one. Some may not want voice control, in which case the Sonos One SL is an excellent device that delivers a great sound from its small package, the same refined design as the One, and all the latest features, while also saving you some money too. The Play:1 is still a great speaker and it will continue to work as part of a Sonos system, but we’d only recommend it over the Sonos One SL if you can find it at a bargain price and you are prepared for it to potentially lose support at some point in the future, even if that’s not for a few years.

Sonos One SL - main image

Sonos / Pocket-lint

Sonos One SL

The Sonos One SL is – in a nutshell – a Sonos One but without the microphones. It’s for those who want the design and internal advantages of the Sonos One but don’t want, or need, built-in voice control.

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