Sonos has called time on its faithful Play:1 speaker, launched back in 2013, revealing that it is to be replaced by the new One SL as the brand’s next entry-level speaker. The announcement was made at the IFA technology show in Berlin.
One the outside, the £179 One SL looks almost identical to the existing Sonos One, but a quick glance shows the lack of a dotted ring and microphone symbol on the top, and so showing that the One SL has no mic array, making it impossible to access a digital assistant through the new model.
This means users directly control the One SL through the Sonos app or via AirPlay2 or other compatible music services such as Spotify, rather than by voice.
However, with the SL, Sonos for the first time has allowed two different speaker models to stereo pair – it is possible to link a One SL with a Sonos One for stereo sound. This is a boon for Sonos fans as, up until now, if you wanted stereo you were forced to buy two Sonos Ones and link those together. Once paired, this rendered the mic array on one of the units useless, and therefore making the extra spent over a Play:1 almost a complete waste of money (the One is £50 more than the Play:1).
The new saving is less than that £50, but this is apparently due to that the One SL is not just a reskinned Play:1, or in fact a reskinned One. Sonos says the One SL’s hardware is different to both previous models. Inside the 1.85kg SL are two Class-D amplifiers, one tweeter and one mid-woofer.
“The One SL has the latest in our computing platform and radio performance, so in in that sense, maybe it’s closer to the One,” says Jeffrey Derderian, product creation leader at Sonos. “But in other ways, from a control perspective, it brings in the capacitive touch controls. We don’t like to take something and just reskin it.”
Regarding the sound, Derderian would only say that the One SL would be “comparable” to the One, and this seemed to hold true in our limited demo of the new speaker, which can be calibrated by Trueplay, but not the Auto Trueplay seen on Sonos’s new outdoor speaker, the Move, also unveiled today.
Of course, even though the new One SL will be the new official entry-level speaker from the brand, thanks to Sonos’s recent collaboration with IKEA, those looking for an even cheaper way to start a Sonos multi-room system can opt for the £99 Symfonisk, though the sound quality is noticeably less defined than that of the One SL.
The Sonos One SL can be pre-ordered from today and will be available to buy from September 12, from which point Sonos will phase out the Play:1.
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