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Which Sonos Speaker Should You Buy?

Which Sonos Speaker Should You Buy?

Speakers are the core of an excellent experience of anything: game, music, TV show. Maybe not porn, but any other movie definitely seems better with a dope sound. Sure thing, you can prefer headphones, we won’t judge you. But you should at least give speakers a try.

Great speakers have to deliver music to your very soul, they have to make you feel every note echo somewhere deep in your chest and sound amazing. Also, they should be reliable and not too expensive, but that’s secondary. 

If you came to this article asking yourself “Which speaker to buy?” you won’t find the answer. But if you keep wondering “Which Sonos Speaker should you buy?”, you’re at the right place, boy. Sonos speakers, both wireless and smart, are not strangers to numerous ratings, listings and typically land closer to the top. Consumers Reports thinks they are no shit. They are not top of the top, like it’s still Sonos, but they are very decent. And if you buy a few of them you can build a pretty good flexible whole-home system controlled through your smartphone. 

So you have decided that Sonos is the brand you want to see in your house. Warn you, you might lose your shit trying to get through all the options it has recently brought to the market. Last year Sonos completely reconsidered its line of speakers, extending it with introducing its first portable Bluetooth speaker as well as a Sonos-powered speaker that’s sold by Ikea. How can you not get confused here? It’s Sonos, but it’s Ikea. Different, but still the same. I bet you hate those brand games as much as every other sane person does.

Back to business: here you have an extensive list of presumably unbiased opinions that might help you decide which Sonos to buy, tips on where they are best applicable and who would like a particular model the most. 

Sonos Play:5 wireless speaker

Price: $500

What it is: Play:5 is the ultimate Sonos speaker. First of all, you can count it as something of a classic since it’s the longest-running model of the company. Secondly, it’s one of the most powerful speakers you can find among Sonos offerings. I mean, have you seen its size? This monster is enough to become the heart of a system that will fill your house with divine sounds from the porch to the back-yard. It costs a mere $500. Deal with it.

What’s good about it: The Sonos Play:5 is a solid thing. It will let you enjoy the music all the way through, from bass to trebles, from hard-rock growl to opera sopranos, from the double bass to the ride cymbal — you will hear every detail. So be careful what you listen with it so your ears don’t bleed after hearing some new-made pop-star with nothing but autotune. Consumer Reports rated this device with Excellent — a rare appreciation, have to say. 

What’s bad about it: The price! Gosh, it’s five hundred bucks! And you have to be a goddamn lucky bastard to find it at a discount. Also, like every other Sonos’ speaker (except the newest one), Play:5 is WiFi-only and needs to be plugged into an AC outlet. But well, aren’t we used to having devices tied to the outlets in 2020, right?

Who should buy it: Those who care about the quality of the sound and don’t care that much about spending half a grand on it.

Sonos Move smart speaker

Price: $400

What it is: The Move is that one exceptional speaker mentioned previously. Unlike every other Sonos speaker that is designed to function within the range of a WiFi network, this one works thanks to Bluetooth. So it makes it stand out among others in a good way. And it is portable. And it has a rechargeable battery. And you can take it with you on the go. On the move. The Move. Hehe. 

What’s good about it: As already said, the Move is more adaptable than other devices from Sonos. That Bluetooth thing is a real gamechanger. Also, as it is portable and may end up on a porch at some point, Sonos bothered making it something like weatherproof. But you still don’t want to live it out overnight. Save some money. Because…

What’s bad about it: The price on the Move is outrageous: four hundred US dollars. The Consumer Reports’ experts claim that the sound quality of the Move is somewhere close to Sonos One SL. Mind, that you can buy One SL (see below) half the Move’s price. To be honest, the Move does show better quality in delivering bass, but should you pay twice the price for the bass only? And if you add another hundred you can get yourself Play:5, which is in a completely different league. Just reread the previous few paragraphs. On top of all, the Move is kinda too big to be a truly portable speaker. It’s more like it’s designed to take it all over the household than throw in a picnic basket. 

Who should buy it:  A music lover looking to expand an existing Sonos system to the great outdoors.

Sonos One SL wireless speaker

Price: $180

What it is: The Sonos One SL is basically a replacement prepared for the existing Play:1; the two are more than similar in size, shape, and price. One SL is currently the least expensive model and will cost you only two hundred green papers. The price is lowered as it doesn’t have a microphone and is not “smart” in any way.

What’s good about it: The sound. Seriously though, for a device of such a price (180 bucks, yo) it sounds dope. We dare to say that it sounds almost, almost the same as the Sonos One (we’ll tell about this one also. Stay tuned). Consumer Reports guys tell it doesn’t have the best bass, but enough for you to enjoy the overall experience. And it gets even better if you pair it with one more One SL Sonos speaker: it is a monophonic speaker and two will deliver more. Just make sure you stereo-pair them, not just turn on and expect them to communicate. Told you, it’s in no way smart.

What’s bad about it: Well, it depends on what you are looking for in a speaker. If you need a smart device to support your lonely conversations with yourself, One SL won’t be of any help. In case you do hear it respond, consult your therapist. Others may want it to be able to connect via Bluetooth to their smartphone. For those, the Move speaker might be a better option. Some may say it’s not worth the money asked and may as well be right: the Ikea Symfonisk (stay tuned, it’s also on the list) is almost just as good as One SL and costs much less. 

Who should buy it: Those who want some good music and need no smartness to their devices.

Sonos One (Gen 2) smart speaker 

Price: $200

What it is: Do you happen to know the Sonos One speaker? The Sonos’ entry-level smart speaker? If you do, you pretty much know everything about the second generation model. Gen 2 has an improved processor, but all the rest is absolutely the same. Including sound quality and overall performance. And price: it is still retailed for two hundred American money.

What’s good about it: Again, if you know about the original Sonos One, you won’t read anything new here. Let’s remind you. This Sonos speaker stands out among many other smart speakers because it is compatible with both major digital assistants on the market: Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant. Not to mention that it also works with Apple’s Airplay. Google, Apple, and Amazon on one device. Can you imagine that? Talking about the actual sound, Consumer Reports experts say it to be “clear and detailed”. The bass is nice and tight, you can hear it has its impact even being not super-deep. The same as One SL, the Sonos One is a monophonic speaker and two of such will make a nice duo if you stereo-pair them.

What’s bad about it: The issues are the same as with its younger brother, One SL. No Bluetooth connection to your smartphone. If that’s critical for you, go for the Move, which, to your disappointment, probably, is twice as expensive. The already-mentioned Ikea Symfonisk will give you almost the same sound quality for half the price. So, up to you.

Who should buy it: The one who wants great sound and smart speaker convenience but is concerned about obsolescence in the fast-changing AI marketplace.

Ikea Symfonisk wireless bookshelf speaker

Price: $100

What it is: It is Ikea’s first attempt to crawl into the growing market of wireless speakers. The result of the Sonos-Ikea collaboration is the cheapest item in the entire range of Sonos speakers.

What’s good about it: Probably, the best price-to-quality ratio. For a hundred bucks you get the sound which is slightly worse than the Sonos One and Sonos One SL. The Symfonisk can brag clear trebles, a balanced and detailed midrange, and bass that’s tuneful although not especially deep. It differs from the One in such details that most of the average users won’t give it a fuck whatsoever. Yet again, it can be stereo paired with another Symfonisk to achieve a better sound. So for the price of the Sonos One you can get a decent stereo pair with an ambient sound.

What’s bad about it: It’s not all roses with the Ikea speaker, have to admit it. First, it looks like an Ikea item, not like one from Sonos in terms of geometry: it’s taller and narrower than you would expect from the Sonos speaker. However, it is subjective whether it is a flaw. Secondly, it’s positioned as a bookshelf, meaning you can mount it on the wall horizontally and have it repurposed. But, there is no way it will work as a bookshelf with its size. It’s more like a keyholder or some penny-ante stuff. Next, it’s again about the absence of Bluetooth connection. Only WiFi, only hardcore. And where’s three, there’s four: the name. I bet you’ve been reading it as SymfoniKS against real SymfoniSK. all this time. Am I right?

Who should buy it: Someone who’s attracted to the sound and convenience of a Sonos multiroom system but can’t justify the expense. And who can properly read Ikea names.

That’s what there to say about Sonos smart and not so smart speaker currently available on the market. It seems enough to make a choice to buy one of those. Or ditch the idea of having Sonos and go elsewhere. All in all, it’s all the same shit.

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