Smart speakers are greatly trending these days with each tech giant coming up with feature packed and quality smart speakers. The founder of it all is Sonos which introduced the concept of smart speakers and Home sound systems almost a decade ago. Its products have matured over time and possess all the latest features one needs from smart speakers.
Apple is usually the ground breaker of new tech products but it arrived late in the smart speaker party. However, with the release of HomePod Apple came face to face with the smart speaker giant Sonos. The is Sonos’s most successful smart speaker and is a tough opponent for the . If you are looking to buy one of these two smart speakers then rest assured that you cannot go wrong with these. The only difference between these two speakers is your preference and we will go into a detailed discussion about it. In this article we will dig deep to find the key differences between these two speakers and discover which one of these suits you better.
For some people the looks of a gadget are as important as its quality and performance aspects. Good design is usually an indicator of quality but sometimes looks can be deceiving. It might mean that the manufacturer has put in more effort in making the product aesthetic and less effort on the performance. However, in the case of Sonos and Apple you don’t have to worry about such problems. Both of these companies understand the demands of its customers and always come up with products that have perfect balance of design and performance. The Apple HomePod and the Sonos One are no different. Both of these speakers are beautifully designed and physical features like controls and ports etc. are put in at perfect places.
The Apple HomePod has a very minimalistic yet aesthetic design. It is cylindrical in shape with a mesh fiber covering its body. It is available in two colors Space grey and white. A touch screen display at the top is responsible for all the controls and is usually lit up with Apple Siri’s logo. The silicon ring hold at the bottom provides grip to the HomePod so that it doesn’t skid and holds its position while playing. The power cable is not removable and it goes into the HomePod’s mesh fiber at the bottom.
Sonos One on the other hand looks like a very modern speaker. It has a cuboid shape with touch sensitive keys on the top along with an array of microphones. The body is made up of matte grille and is available in two colors black and white. The woofer and tweeter packed inside is almost visible through this grille. The bottom of the speaker has tiny rubber feet which hold it in place while playing. The back side of the speaker has a power and an ethernet port.
Now, if we compare the designs of these two speakers and try to pick a winner, personally I like the Apple HomePod better. The minimalistic and aesthetic design is very attractive. But it doesn’t mean that the Sonos One is not attractive. Both of these speakers have good designs and can be placed anywhere in your home or office. They will both enhance the style of the room without a doubt.
In the world of speakers, sound quality is the most important aspect. If the speaker does not sound great then it is worthless. Both Sonos and Apple have great experience in the manufacturing of good quality speakers. Apple puts great effort in the design of audio components of its products like the iPhones and Macs and everybody is aware of their performance. Sonos on the other hand is a speaker manufacturing company. So, it is safe to say that great sound quality is expected from their products.
Lets first talk about the Apple HomePod as sound quality is its best praised feature. The engineering teams at Apple have truly created a masterpiece. The sound quality of the HomePod is way ahead of any of its competitors. The sounds are well balanced, fuller and have rich highs, mids and lows. The great audio quality is the result of an ingenious hardware design and software processing. The speaker has a woofer facing upwards for deep bass. An array of six microphones listens for the rooms response to the bass produced and then adjust its levels accordingly to provide the best bass heavy experience. An array of seven tweeters around the body create beaming high frequency sounds and produce true 360-degree sound experience. The main component of this design is the A8 chip installed in the speaker which performs all the processing to produce great audio quality.
The Sonos One on the other hand has one tweeter which is responsible for producing rich high frequency sounds. A mid woofer is also installed which makes sure that the mid-range frequencies are well covered while producing great bass.
It is clear that the Apple HomePod has better sound quality than the Sonos One. However, Sonos one does possess great audio quality and can easily beat all other competitors.
The Sonos One and the Apple HomePod both come under the category of smart speakers. The question is what really are smart speakers? The answer is quite simple. Smart speakers help you with basic day to day tasks usually with the help of voice. You simply ask them to perform a simple task like setting reminders and sending text messages and they do is quite effectively. Smart speakers are installed with smart assistants like Alexa from Amazon, Google Assistant and Apple Siri. All of these assistants have their pros and cons which make them superior in certain aspects than one another.
The Apple HomePod is installed with the Apple Siri assistant. There has been much debate about the smart functionalities that the Apple Siri can handle. Apple Siri generally is a very good voice assistant and can do most of the smart task one can need from a voice assistant. However, it falls short in some features which are readily available in other assistants. Some of these features include setting more than one timer and distinguishing between the voices of the users. This means that you cannot ask an Apple HomePod to set more than two timers at a time. Similarly, anyone can send text messages through your phone as Apple Siri cannot differentiate between your voice and someone else’s voice.
Sonos One on the other hand, has Amazon Alexa built into it and is compatible with Google Assistant as well. Both of these smart assistants are very good and can handle all the tasks you might need from them without any flaws. This feature makes the Sonos One smarter and flawless.
As Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa are better than Apple Siri, the Sonos One beats the Apple HomePod in this aspect. However, Apple Siri is still a great assistant and can perform most of the tasks.
The supported music services in a Wi-Fi smart speaker make a lot of difference in terms of choice. The users of different streaming services want the speaker to support their favorite service. There is no smart speaker that is compatible with all of the services. However most top manufacturers try to pack as many services as possible in their speaker. This makes their product very versatile and hence increase the bandwidth of users.
Apple HomePod is widely criticized for its restriction to Apple Music only. The criticism is fair since it limits the users to use only Apple Music and effectively to the Apple echo system. The music can still be played using AirPlay but you are limited in the sense that you cannot use Apple Siri to play music. You have to manually airplay the music to the HomePod. This ultimately reduces the smartness of the Apple HomePod.
Sonos One on the other hand supports an extensive list of music and streaming services. It is considered one of the most versatile smart speakers in the market. The support of most popular streaming services like Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music, Tidal, iheartRadio and many other less popular and region-specific services make it very usable. Unlike Apple HomePod all of these services can be used through the voice assistants automatically.
In terms of supported music services Sonos One is the better option. It is more versatile as compared to the Apple HomePod which is very limited. However, as other services can still be used via Apple AirPlay HomePod can still be a very good option for some people.
Setting up of smart speakers is usually very and the manufacturers try their best to make this process as simple as possible. However, some people still get confused and are unable to setup the device properly.
Setting up an Apple HomePod is extremely simple. In fact, setup of Apple HomePod is considered the simplest among smart Wi-Fi speakers. Its setup process is similar to the set up of Apple AirPods. You can read our complete article on the Apple HomePod setup . Essentially, you need to bring your iPhone near the HomePod and it will automatically be detected. After that you simply run through simple instructions and the setup is completed.
Meanwhile, Sonos’s setup is a bit lengthy yet easy. You can also read a detailed article about Sonos’s controller app and how to set it up . While setting up a Sonos One it needs to be synchronized with the Sonos Controller app and then a few simple instructions can be followed to complete the setup.
Price is an important factor to consider when shopping for a smart speaker. You have to evaluate whether paying more or less is worth it. Sometimes you might get a speaker with more features at much lower cost. Evaluating what features you need in your smart speaker will help you tune your preferences. Both the Sonos One and the Apple HomePod are feature packed smart speakers. The Sonos One is retailed at and the Apple HomePod is retailed at . Features of both speakers are similar however preferences like the support of music streaming services, voice assistants and other subtle features will help you decide whether you want to pay more to get the Apple HomePod or get the Sonos One for a more affordable price.
Both of these speakers have their own pros and cons. It is hard to say that one beats the other and in the end the choice between these two speakers depend on your preferences. If you are a proper Apple nerd and want to enhance you Apple collection than the Apple HomePod is the best option available to you. However, the HomePod can be very limiting in certain aspects. You cannot use the Apple HomePod with any streaming service other than the Apple Music. This issue can be resolved using the AirPlay but it is not the best solution. People listen to different services depending on their taste of music. Similarly, some people might like to listen to podcasts available on other streaming services. All of such services should be on the tip of their tongue and can easily be played using assistants. Another big problem with the Apple HomePod is that unlike iPods and Macs it cannot be used with android devices. This is a big game changer for people who prefer to use android devices over apple devices. These are the things that you should consider before buying an Apple HomePod.
On the other hand, Sonos One is a much more versatile speaker. It supports a lot of streaming services and works with both android as well as the Apple devices. It can be considered smarter than the Apple HomePod as well. The only thing the Sonos One lacks is the sound quality offered by the Apple HomePod. But still it is a very good sounding speaker and is better than most of the speakers at this price range. The quality of sound can be compensated by the fact that it costs way less than the Apple HomePod.