- The Sonos One SL is available in India at Rs 24,999.
- It can be controlled using a proprietary app.
- The speaker secured 8.1 out of 10 in our review.
The Sonos One SL might have caught your eye if you are in the market for a premium smart speaker without much of the frills. Sonos’ audio range is quite wide, but this one stands out from the lot for a particular reason.
Sonos One SLRs 24,999
Most smart speakers available are voice-controlled, with Google Assistant, Siri, and Alexa’s voice echoing (pun unintended) in your homes. While that caters to a lot of audiences, there are a bunch of them who prefer something simple. It could be the always-on microphone that raises privacy concerns, or maybe they feel weird talking to a speaker.
The Sonos One SL skips that aspect while retaining all the functionality of its elder sibling, the Sonos One. Priced at Rs 24,999, should you consider this speaker to fill up your room with music? Find out in our review.
Sonos One SL Review: Design and build quality
- It has three touch-sensitive controls on the top
- The speaker is 6.3 inches tall and has a width of 4.7 inches
The One SL might look like a container for your kitchen, but it’s built with subtlety in mind. Both the black and white variants are a looker, but if you live in a dusty region, going with the former would be a safer choice. The speaker is an amalgamation of two materials: Plastic and metal. The top and bottom portion is made of plastic, while the entire speaker grille is made of metal. It is painted in matte, so there’s no room for smudges.
The bottom part has four rubber paddings that help keep the speaker steady. The One SL is meant to stay in a single place, and hence its form factor does not allow it to be portable. The entire thing weighs in at 1.85kg.
It has the most subtle branding with “Sonos” written on the top plate, which reads correctly even when placed upside down. The rear side of the speaker has a button for pairing and an ethernet port for a wired connection. You can find the power port on the underside of the speaker. Removing the power connector from the port is quite a cumbersome task, so much so that we had to use a plier to get it out.
Surprisingly, the One SL does not have a power button but just three touch-sensitive buttons for music playback. The controls are pretty responsive and easy to remember. Swiping from left to extreme right will skip to the next track, and vice versa will skip to the previous track.
Funnily enough, these gestures also help keep the top portion of the speaker clean. Holding down on the left button will decrease the volume, and the right button does the opposite. A physical LED on the top indicates the connection status, among other things.
Sonos One SL Review: Features
- The Sonos app lets you tweak the EQ, loudness, volume limit, and more
- It does not support Bluetooth streaming
Sonos’ products are known for their functionality when paired with its proprietary app. Furthermore, almost all the speakers from Sonos’ ecosystem can be inter-connected to create a mesh system, which is pretty cool. To help put things into perspective, you can buy a pair of the One SL for your theatre room and connect them with each other for stereo output. While all of that sounds quite rosy, the One SL has one very painful downside. It does not support Bluetooth streaming. Yeah, a bummer.
This means you’ll always have to keep the speaker connected to the internet. This also means you are pretty much locked into the Sonos app for music playback. If you are on Android. The app allows integrations with music platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music, Amazon Music, and many other options. However, this feels very limiting, especially when you want to connect it to your PC for gaming or just casually watching movies.
Speaking of the Sonos app, it is pretty much the brain of the project. The initial pairing isn’t very cumbersome once you are connected to the same Wi-Fi network. Once the initial process is completed, everything is smooth sailing thereon.
The app is quite straightforward. Logging in to an account helps you gain access to all the features. The One SL also has support for Trueplay. It’s a feature that allows improving the sound output depending on the width and height of your room. Sadly, it’s only available on the iOS app.
We did not notice any groundbreaking improvements with this turned on. If you are on an Apple device, AirPlay also works flawlessly. Sadly, as an Android user, you won’t be able to use Google Cast to play your music. The app also allows you to set alarms.
Overall, our experience with the app was quite smooth. The ease of hitting the play button from any room is quite satisfactory.
Sonos One SL Review: Sound Quality
- The One SL can get quite loud without any distortion
- The insides are similar to the Sonos One
From an acoustics point of view, there’s not much difference between the vanilla Sonos One and One SL. The One SL has two Class-D amplifiers specifically tuned for this form factor. It’s accompanied by one mid-woofer and one tweeter. Despite its compact size, the One SL’s output was enough to fill up our entire flat with music at 75 per cent volume. As soon as we unboxed the One SL, we cued up World’s Smallest Violin by AJR.
The speaker has a wide soundstage with breathing space, so the overall output sounds airy. The output is immensely detailed and crisp. The bass in songs like Heat Waves by Glass Animals is also balanced and does not seem overdone. The lyrics also come out well-defined, without unnecessary focus on the highs. Even at 100 per cent volume, we did not notice a hint of distortion.
Sonos One SL Review: Verdict
The One SL is perfect if you are someone who listens to music a lot and usually hosts your friends. The build quality and design are neat and should fit every home. The sound quality is fantastic, and this, paired with the very competent app, improves the overall experience. Of course, the no Bluetooth part is a bit disappointing.
The One SL can be an excellent choice for those seeking a smart speaker without a voice assistant. The price difference between the Sonos One and One SL is just about Rs 2,000, with the former being pricier. So, if you have your priorities set, the choice should be easy.