Sonos One SL Review – Microphone-Free Smart Speaker

Sonos One SL review

Sonos One SL is a powerful speaker, almost identical to Sonos One. The company dropped the microphone and made it speechless, hence the SL (SpeechLess). The speaker looks like Sonos One, has the same rich sound that fills the room but doesn’t have the voice control built-in.

Do you wonder why they built Sonos One SL when they already have Sonos One, which already has a voice assistant?

There are three reasons behind it.

The first is privacy. Not everyone wants to have a network of microphones around the home. So if you don’t wish for voice assistants, Sonos One SL is for you.

The second reason is that many people consider voice assistants not so useful and not necessary. They prefer to send songs manually to a wireless speaker.

And the third reason is that if you already have one or more voice-activated devices, you don’t need another one for even more significant confusion. For example, if you already have Sonos One, you don’t need another to pair it. You can buy Sonos One SL instead.

But pairing is not a must. You can use Sonos One SL on its own as well.

PROS:

  • Clear and crisp sound
  • Solid bass
  • Works in stereo with Sonos One
  • Apple Airplay 2

CONS:

  • No Bluetooth support
  • No hi-res audio support

Sonos One SL Design

Sonos One Sl has the same monochromatic finish as One. It is available in black and white color.

The top of the unit with its matte finish is fingerprint-proof and has capacitive touch controls. As mentioned earlier, SL doesn’t have a microphone, so accordingly, that button is missing. There is play/pause, volume up and down buttons. If you swipe across the entire area, it works as a skip track control. The small LED light shows when the speaker connects to a network.

The grille has oval holes and wraps almost 360 degrees around the speaker, leaving a small place on the back for the pairing button and the Ethernet port. Similar to the One, the power cable attaches to the bottom.

The dimensions of SL are 16 x 12 x 12 cm, and the weight is 1.85kg.

There is no Bluetooth connection. Instead, it would be best if you stream music via WiFi or through a wired ethernet connection. With the Sonos app on your smart device, you can use it remotely to access whatever streaming service you use (Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music, Pandora, etc.)

If you are an Apple user, then you should know that SL has AirPlay compatibility. That way, you can use SL as a Bluetooth-connected device and play audio from YouTube, Netflix, or similar, while your Apple device is on the same WiFi as the SL.

There is a reason why Sonos prefers WiFi over Bluetooth, and that is the better streaming quality and lack of interruptions when the phone rings or gets a text.

The downside is if you have an Android or Windows smart device, you will not be able to beam audio to the speaker. There are some limitations for visitors who would like to play music from their devices. They need to log in to the same WiFi and download the Sonos app.

The minor setback is the lack of connection without the internet, so the SL loses its functionality if it goes down.

The SL is also compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Voice Assistant.

Sound quality

The sound quality of Sonos One SL is identical to Sonos One. They both have Class D digital amplifiers, one mid-woofer, and one tweeter, all designed to create a warm and pleasant soundstage.

The speaker is well-rounded and has bass, but not too much, delivers high volume without distortion. But if you like the boomiest bass possible, you will not get that.

What is recognizable for Sonos is the clarity that oozes from their speakers. SL is no different from that.

If you listen to acoustic songs, the speaker gives you a live feel, and you can hear every string of the guitar or even a slight tremble in the vocal, which makes it perfect for listening to podcasts and talk shows on the radio.

Even when you play music with the lower end, SL sounds good. It gives you impressive bass for its small size, but it is not a match for the powerful bass offered by some more prominent and more expensive speakers.

Sonos One SL does good with most music styles, but it might sound a bit thin if you are addicted to bass.

Verdict

The price difference between Sonos One and Sonos One SL is minor, and if you don’t like the option of speaking to the device, SL is the right choice. It provides fantastic sound quality at a relatively reasonable price, so if you want an AirPlay-compatible device and you don’t mind the lack of Bluetooth, Sonos One Sl will serve you well.

Sonos One SL Review – Microphone-Free Smart Speaker
Sonos One SL Review – Microphone-Free Smart Speaker

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