Sonos One SL full review
The big Sonos news of 2019 was the portable and Bluetooth-enabled Move, but Sonos also launched a new entry-level speaker. But should you buy the cheapest Sonos? Find out in our One SL review.
You might be doing a double take, as the One SL looks quite familiar. It’s essentially identical to the excellent One, but doesn’t have microphones for voice-control. This can also be thought of as a replacement to the Play: 1 speaker.
The One SL is the cheapest Sonos speaker you can buy so far at £179/US$199. It’s still a lot more than a budget Bluetooth speaker, but this is Sonos so you’re getting a lot more. There is the Symfonisk at £99/$99 and the £150/$179 Symfonisk Lamp which are Sonos speakers made for Ikea.
If you do want the smarts of the regular Sonos One, then it’s not too much more at £199/US$219. It lets you take advantage of the Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.
Read our best Sonos speaker guide to find out about the whole range and how the system works.
Design & Build
There’s very little to say about the design of the One SL since Sonos hasn’t changed anything about it compared to the regular One. It’s exactly the same shape and dimensions, but doesn’t have tiny holes on top for the microphones.
Sonos design is sleek, elegant and timeless. You can choose from black or white as usual and we’re sure this speaker will fit in almost any room in your house. Build quality is once again top-notch, there’s no sacrifice to achieve a lower price here.
On top are touch sensitive controls, which are the biggest change if you’ve got a Play:1, which uses traditional push buttons. You might prefer the old method but these touch controls are very accurate, easily allowing you to pause, play, adjust volume and skip tracks.
Sound Quality & Features
Since this is the Sonos One but without microphones, the sound quality is the same thanks to a single tweeter and single mid-woofer. These are each, as usual, powered by a Class-D amp.
As we’ve come to fully expect from Sonos, even the cheapest speaker in the range sounds excellent. The bass response is crisp and full without being over the top, therefore dominating the remainder of the frequency range.
The mid- and high-tones are delicate yet carry power, creating a very well-rounded and balanced tone. Sonos tuning means that the One SL sounds great no matter what you play through it.
If you happen to dislike the sounds, you can always use the app to make adjustments or use Trueplay to automatically tune it for the room its in.
It might be compact, but the One SL can easily fill a reasonably large room with rich tones without breaking a sweat. We’ve rarely needed to pump the volume very high to achieve a big sound, and without any distortion.
This isn't 360-degree sound but is close despite only having front-facing drivers. You’re unlikely to notice with the One SL placed on a shelf or on the kitchen worktop.
Top-notch sound quality is backed up by Sonos’ excellent range of features. The firm is still the leader for home wireless multi-room audio and it’s easy to see why.
You can use a huge range of music streaming services and AirPlay means you can send content directly from your iPhone or iPad without the Sonos app. Buy two One SL speakers and you can make a stereo pair, or with a regular One since you only need one to have microphones.
They can also be used as rear surround speakers with Sonos speakers like the Playbar to create a home cinema system.
If you’re not fussed about the speaker having smart assistant features, and therefore voice control, the One SL is a great option from Sonos. It replaces the Play:1 and does a great job of it.
As well as using it stand alone, buy it if you want a second speaker to pair with a regular One, or to use as rear surrounds with one of the home theatre speakers.
This is stylish, compact, sounds great and packs loads of features. All at an affordable price making it one of the best wireless speakers around.
Sonos One SL: Specs
- 3.5in mid-woofer
- Two Class-D amplifiers
- Touch controls
- Apple AirPlay 2
- Ethernet port
Price comparison from over 24,000 stores worldwide