This post is brought to you by CJ Affiliate’s VIP Content Service. While this was a sponsored opportunity from Sonos, all content and opinions expressed here are my own.
I don't foresee the Sonos One hopping up to wash my dishes anytime soon, but this sexy little number gives every other smart speaker a run for its money. And there's even more capability on the way. The biggest testament to its abilities? It got this husband and wife to agree that it's the best choice in home assistant hardware on the market today.
Our household is the first to see a lot of the technology that comes down the pike. Smart speakers are nothing new around here. We have a Google Home, we can talk to our TV…heck, even our refrigerator plays music and tells me about the weather every morning. I tend to be the one driving tech purchases, though, as Nate's a loyalist and gets stressed out over how rapidly the industry moves. When we put the old TV in the playroom and upgraded the living room to a 75-inch, I wanted to incorporate a smart speaker component into our main sound system. Nate was hesitant, though, as we haven't fully committed ourselves to either the Google Home or the Amazon Alexa.
The smart speaker industry seems to be in an LED-versus-plasma situation. Remember when these competing technologies were duking it out in TV-land? It was initially unclear who would win, but the entire world has now resoundingly voted in favor of LEDs.
Nobody wants to be that guy who rushed out and bought a plasma on its release date.
While the Google-versus-Alexa war is raging, we've been in an awkward smart home phase where we're waiting for the victor to be named. Nate is a Google guy all the way, enjoying the ability to sync up with Chromecast on the TV, control porch lights without fuss, and ask the home assistant extremely complicated questions and recipe instructions. Google is smart. Google is Google. On the other hand, Alexa has the ability to drop diapers or soap into our Amazon cart with a single utterance. Sure, Google has voice shopping capabilities with options including Walmart and Target, but let's be real. It's no Prime situation. There's a lot of catching up to do. Amazon puts my household on autopilot, with monthly deliveries of our essentials and monthly new entertainment downloads for my family. Whatever makes life easiest tends to be the victor around here. The problem so far is that – based on our personalities and priorities – one smart assistant system makes life easier for my husband, and one makes life easier for me.
The place where our differing personalities are most clearly displayed is in the bedroom. So that seemed like a fitting destination for our next smart speaker.
I cleared some dust off of Nate's meticulously laid-out armoire and giggled to myself over his arrangement. Three distinct watches with three distinct purposes: dress, casual and work. A dozen books detailing hunting and outdoor tactics. He swears that they each outline a different mindset, and that this collection represents the “best of the best.” Every item you see here speaks to Nate's goal of stretching his capabilities and expanding his limits.
My bedside is very different. Minimalistic. Every item in my nightstand does, indeed, serve a purpose…but not in the same way as Nate's. I have a candle, a scented relaxation spray, and a little pillow where my cat likes to lay. My bedside screams, “I'm trying to relax, here.” For me, the bedroom is a place for tending to my own needs.
Could this smart speaker really be the one that fulfilled both of our requirements?
Nate walked over as I was setting the Sonos One system up – without consulting him, of course, because I didn't want a debate – and eyed it suspiciously. I explained that this was our ultimate smart speaker solution. Amidst the raging clash-of-the-computers, Sonos One has laid down the ultimate trump card. It comes with Amazon Alexa built right in, and the company promises Google Assistant and Siri integration in 2018. With Apple's future HomePod looming imminent in the smart speaker space, the Sonos One is the practical choice for any family like us who isn't 100% committed to team Google, Amazon, OR Apple.
Nate raised his eyebrows at the use of the word ‘practical' in reference to a sound system.
And then I turned it on and made his eardrum hairs stand on end.
Say what you want about shifting tides of technology and platforms, there's no denying that this thing sounds five zillion times better than any other smart speaker out there. And when it comes to music platforms, Sonos has also covered all the bases. iHeartRadio, Pandora, SiriusXM, Spotify, TuneIn and 80 others that I've never heard of. We can skip, increase volume and ask what's playing to the tune of two Class-D digital amplifiers, one tweeter, and one mid-woofer. This thing can bust out all the streaming tunes, podcasts and audiobooks our hearts could possibly desire in crisper quality than I ever thought possible. Tech gurus have always held Sonos as the gold standard in audio, and now I get it.
I suddenly realized that in equipping our home with devices that could hear us and talk back, we had forgotten about actual sound quality.
This served as the perfect, timely reminder.
We still haven't decided what home assistant platform is the best for our household. Right now, it's a confusing situation in which I have to remember, room-by-room, whether I'm shouting commands at Google or Alexa. I also don't know exactly how the Sonos One plans to integrate the two and fulfill its promise to be “the only smart speaker you'll ever need.” Will I be able to summon each at will and send them off on two different tasks at once? Can I make them argue with each other? And most important, will I ever be able to change their wake word to something of my own ridiculous preference such as ‘Jeeves' or ‘Captain Kirk' or ‘Cabana Boy'? In any case, it's good to know that we've chosen the most flexible speaker that can keep pace with ever-changing technology while serving up the most kickass sound available.
From where we're sitting, it'll be fun to watch this tech throw-down continue to play out.