You'll notice right away that the new speaker, which arrives October 24th for $199/£199, looks nearly identical to the Play:1. That said, the One does come with a few aesthetic changes, including a ring of microphone holes, an LED light and the traditional play/pause button -- all located on the top panel. Additionally, the grill has been tweaked subtly and it now comes in two colors: all-black and all-white. When asked what exactly changed internally, aside from addition of an array of mics, Sonos only went as far as to say that the One was "reengineered" from the ground up and features the "same great sound" as the Play:1.
If you've ever owned any Sonos hardware, then you know it has a reputation for sounding great. And the One isn't an exception. During our demo of the speaker, we listened to a couple of tracks, including one from Drake and another from David Bowie, and everything in the room sounded crisp, with balanced lows, mids and highs, and not too much bass. The Alexa voice commands worked as smoothly as you'd hope, with the assistant playing tracks and honoring other voice commands in a matter of a second or two, if not less.
Once you say something like "Alexa, play More Life," the LED on the top of the speaker lights up and lets you know that the assistant is processing your command. Sonos says it wanted the voice-recognition system to be visually quiet, hence the subtle light blink. At the same time, though, the company wanted to make it easy for users to know every time the microphone is active. What's more, you can use the One to control other Sonos speakers in your home with your voice -- think: "Alexa, play David Bowie's greatest hits in the living room." We expect Google's own platform to perform just as well as Amazon's next year, when it's scheduled to hit the Sonos One.