Apple HomePod vs Sonos One: Which Smart Speaker Is A Better Buy?

Apple HomePod vs Sonos One Comparison

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The smart speaker landscape has changed rapidly in the last few years. Even though vendors are packing all sorts of features in their smart speakers, music remains the most important thing consumers look at when buying a new voice-controlled home speaker. Sonos is a powerful player in the wireless audio segment. The Sonos One is giving Apple’s HomePod speaker a tough fight in the market. In this HomePod vs Sonos One comparison, let’s check out how the two smart home speakers stack up.

Earlier this year, Sonos launched an updated Gen 2 model of Sonos One. But it brings only minor under-the-hood improvements. All other aspects of the speaker remain the same.

HomePod vs Sonos One: Design

Apple’s HomePod has a cylindrical design. It comes in two color options of White and Space Gray. The HomePod measures 6.8 inches in height and 5.6-inches in width. It is also noticeably heavy at 2.5kg. Apple has covered the body of its speaker with a mesh grille. The top circle accommodates touch controls. The touch surface allows you to control music playback, adjust volume, and activate Siri assistant. The top circle brings up an impressive colorful swirl when Siri is active.

The Sonos One measures 6.36 x 4.69 x 4.69 in height, width, and depth respectively. At just 1.85kg, it’s lighter than the HomePod. Sonos has launched the device in White and Black color options. Neither speaker is going to occupy a lot of space in your home. The Sonos One has an illuminated LED light indicator to let users know when the microphone is active and Alexa/Google Assistant is listening.

The capacitive touch controls are placed on the top panel. It allows you to control music playback, adjust volume, mute/unmute Alexa or Google Assistant.

HomePod vs Sonos One: Voice assistants

Apple’s smart speaker supports only one voice assistant, which is Siri. Siri is deeply integrated into Apple’s entire ecosystem, so HomePod offers a smooth experience with the voice assistant. Siri also allows you to control smart home devices easily.

In contrast, Sonos One supports two of the most popular and most advanced voice assistants: Google Assistant and Alexa. Various studies have shown that Google Assistant and Alexa are much better than Siri at recognizing the natural voice and answering accurately. Google Assistant is also capable of providing answers to conversation-style follow-up questions.

What’s more, Sonos One supports Apple’s AirPlay 2 connectivity standard. It means the Sonos speaker is indirectly compatible with Siri via your iPhone or iPad.

You can use both HomePod and Sonos One to control smart home devices. What devices you will be able to control depends on your AI assistant. Almost every smart home device out there is compatible with Google Assistant and/or Alexa. There are also tons of Apple HomeKit-compatible devices, but the number of Siri-supported smart home products is still much smaller compared to Alexa and Google Assistant.

HomePod vs Sonos One: Audio quality

Music fans will generally be impressed with the performance of the HomePod and Sonos One. Both of them deliver rich, detailed, and clear sound. They both have a punchy bass. But the HomePod comes out at the top in terms of audio quality because of its cylindrical 360-degree design and powerful drivers. The HomePod comes with high-excursion woofer with a custom amplifier, and a low-frequency calibration microphone for automatic bass correction.

The Sonos One can also fill a room with sound, but it’s not as impressive as Apple’s speaker. It has a mid-woofer to deliver mid-range vocal frequencies with rich bass. It is also equipped with two digital amplifiers tuned to match the speaker drivers.

Both smart speakers are capable of stereo pairing, meaning you can configure two Sonos Ones or two HomePods for more detailed sound with stereo separation.

HomePod vs Sonos One: Music services support

The HomePod speaker supports only one music streaming service: Apple Music. It can also play content from Apple Podcasts, your iTunes library, iCloud Music library, and Beats 1 live radio. You can also use AirPlay to play music from other Apple devices such as iPhones, iPads, and Macs. The HomePod doesn’t offer a lot of choices, but it’s a good device for people deeply invested in the Apple ecosystem.

Sonos One gives you complete freedom to choose your music source. You can use the Sonos app on your smartphone to link different accounts such as Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, YouTube Music, Audible, SiriusXM, Deezer, and more. It can also pull music from your iTunes library, computer, smartphone, and even a hard drive.

But which service you’ll be able to access on Sonos One depends on your choice of the voice assistant. If you set up the smart speaker with Amazon’s Alexa, you’ll be able to access Amazon Music, Audible, Pandora, Spotify, iHeartRadio, SiriusXM, Apple Music, Deezer, and Tidal. Setting it up with Google Assistant gives you access to YouTube Music, Google Play Music, Spotify, Pandora, Deezer, Tidal, iHeart Radio, and TuneIn.

HomePod vs Sonos One: Pricing

The HomePod is currently available for $299 on Apple’s website. In contrast, Sonos One costs $199. For the extra $100, the HomePod gives you slightly better sound quality.

The Sonos One is much more affordable than HomePod, and it’s much better value for money than Apple’s device. The HomePod is for people deeply invested in Apple’s ecosystem. For everyone else, the Sonos One is a better choice.




About the Author

Vikas Shukla
Although he has a background in finance and holds an MBA, Vikas Shukla is a technology reporter. He has a strong interest in gadgets, gizmos, and science. He writes regularly on these topics. - He can be contacted by email at vshukla@valuewalk.com