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Sonos One SL Speaker Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Review updated Jan 04, 2023 at 12:12 pm
Latest change: Writing modified Apr 20, 2023 at 03:18 pm
Sonos One SL Picture
6.5
Music
5.5
Videos/Movies
6.4
Podcasts
2.8
Voice Assistant
4.5
Outdoors

The Sonos One SL is the microphone-free variant of the Sonos One Gen 2. While it doesn't support voice assistants, this wired speaker retains the audio-centric features of the Gen 2, like Trueplay tuning, which adjusts the speaker's audio reproduction to better suit the room it's in. It's designed to integrate into your existing Sonos ecosystem, and you can even add a pair to your existing Sonos-compatible soundbar setup as satellite speakers.

Our Verdict

6.5 Music

The Sonos One SL is fair for music. Like most premium models, it uses a room correction tool to optimize its output based on your room's unique acoustics, ensuring the best possible sound. Voices and lead instruments are clear and present in the mix, and there's even a touch of extra boom in the bass range. Overall, it's suitable for listening to a wide range of music genres. You can also customize it with bass and treble adjustments in the Sonos S2 app, though there's no full graphic EQ.

Pros
  • Compatible with Sonos soundbars.
  • Bass and treble adjustments.
Cons
  • No Bluetooth support.
  • Downmixes stereo content into mono.
5.5 Videos/Movies

As a standalone speaker, the Sonos One SL is middling for videos and movies. However, it's designed to be compatible with other Sonos products, meaning you can use a pair of them as surround speakers with a compatible soundbar. Plus, it has low latency over Apple AirPlay, so you don't have any lip-synching issues. That said, on its own, this speaker downmixes stereo content into mono, which doesn't provide the most immersive feel.

Pros
  • Compatible with Sonos soundbars.
Cons
  • No Bluetooth support.
  • Downmixes stereo content into mono.
6.4 Podcasts

The Sonos One SL is passable for podcasts. Right out of the box, dialogue is reproduced with clarity and fidelity, meaning you can follow along easily with your favorite shows. It's better for listening in more average-sized rooms, though, since it doesn't get loud enough to fill larger and more open spaces. Since it's wired, you can't bring it with you from room to room, either. That said, if you want to chill in one room with a show, it's a solid pick.

Pros
  • Bass and treble adjustments.
  • Clear vocal reproduction.
Cons
  • No Bluetooth support.
  • Not very portable.
2.8 Voice Assistant

The Sonos One SL doesn't have a microphone and doesn't support any voice assistants.

4.5 Outdoors

The Sonos One SL isn't recommended for outdoor use as it has a wired design.

  • 6.5 Music
  • 5.5 Videos/Movies
  • 6.4 Podcasts
  • 2.8 Voice Assistant
  • 4.5 Outdoors
  1. Updated Apr 20, 2023: Added market comparison with the Sonos Era 100 in the Bluetooth box.
  2. Updated Jan 04, 2023: Updated review text for clarity and consistency. No changes in test results.
  3. Updated May 27, 2021: Updated sound tests with current 13.1 firmware.
  4. Updated Mar 02, 2021: Review published.
  5. Updated Feb 26, 2021: Early access published.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

This speaker comes in two colors: 'Black' and 'White'. We tested the White variant, and you can see its label here. This speaker is also a variant of the Sonos One Gen 2. It doesn't have a microphone or support voice assistants, but it otherwise performs very similarly.

If you come across another variant, please let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Speakers

This speaker is a variant of the Sonos One Gen 2 and lacks a microphone or voice assistant support. It's a suitable choice for those looking for a non-smart speaker, though, and has many of the same features as the Gen 2, like Trueplay tuning, which helps adjust its audio reproduction to better suit the room you're using it in, and an Ethernet port if you want to connect it to your home network. However, it still lacks Bluetooth support, and it can't get very loud.

For more options, check out our recommendations for the best home speakers, the best speakers for iPhone and iPod, and the best Bluetooth speakers.

Sonos One Gen 2/One SL

The Sonos One SL and the Sonos One Gen 2 are almost the same speaker. The primary difference is that the Sonos One SL lacks a microphone and doesn't support voice assistants. That said, both speakers have the same alright build quality, downmix stereo content into mono, and have disappointing dynamics performances. On the upside, they're both compatible with the Sonos S2 app, which offers bass and treble sliders.

Sonos Five

The Sonos Five is a better overall speaker than the Sonos One SL. The Five is capable of reproducing a lot more low-bass, which is great for genres like EDM or hip-hop, and it can play stereo content without downmixing it into mono. However, some may prefer the One SL's smaller size. You can also add it to a Sonos-compatible soundbar setup if you want surround speakers.

Sonos Move

The Sonos Move is a better speaker than the Sonos One SL. The Move is battery-powered and has a built-in carrying handle, making it more portable. It can get louder and has better directivity so its soundstage may be perceived as more open and spacious. It also offers fantastic voice assistant support with Google Assistant and Alexa built-in, and can understand your commands from far away and in noisy environments.

IKEA SYMFONISK Bookshelf

The IKEA SYMFONISK Bookshelf speaker and the Sonos One SL are similar speakers. The Sonos is smaller and has a more neutral-sounding sound profile. However, the IKEA can get slightly louder than the Sonos with fewer compression artifacts present at max volume, so your audio sounds clearer during louder listening sessions.

Apple HomePod mini

The Sonos One SL and the Apple HomePod mini have different strengths. The Sonos offers a better-balanced sound profile that can produce a more extended low-bass when its Trueplay tuning feature is on. You can even tweak its sound using the bass and treble adjustments featured in its companion app. That said, the Apple comes with Siri built-in and can understand your commands from far away and in noisier settings. Also, it has better directivity, resulting in a wider and more natural-sounding soundstage.

Sonos Roam SL

The Sonos Roam SL is a better speaker than the Sonos One SL overall. Since the Roam SL is designed to be taken along with you on the go, it's Bluetooth-compatible, battery-powered, and smaller in size. It's also better-built with an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance that certifies it to be dust-tight and immersible in a meter of water for 30 minutes. It gets about as loud as the One SL, though it has less compression present at max volume, resulting in cleaner audio at louder volumes. That said, the One SL is a wired speaker designed to be used at home. It offers a better-balanced sound profile with its room correction feature enabled and can produce a more extended low-bass.

Bose SoundLink Revolve

The Bose SoundLink Revolve is a more versatile speaker than the Sonos One SL. The Bose is smaller, better-built, has a wider soundstage, and supports your phone's voice assistant. Since it's battery-powered, you can also take it with you outside, and it supports Bluetooth for easy wireless streaming. However, the Sonos supports Wi-Fi, and it has bass and treble sliders to help customize its sound. It also has a Trueplay feature, which allows the speaker to adjust its audio reproduction to better-suit the room it's in.

Sonos Era 100

The Sonos Era 100 is a more versatile speaker than the Sonos One SL. Unlike the One SL, the Era 100 has built-in voice assistant support, and it allows for Bluetooth connectivity. Since it can playback stereo content without downmixing it into mono, it has better sound quality, too. The overall sound is cleaner, as there's less bass leaking into the mids. Android users get access to the Quick Tuning feature for room correction, which is a nice touch.

IKEA SYMFONISK Speaker lamp

The IKEA SYMFONISK Speaker lamp is a slightly better speaker than the Sonos One SL, though they perform similarly. The IKEA speaker can produce a slightly more extended low-bass. It has better directivity, resulting in a wider-sounding soundstage. It also has a dual function as a speaker and a lamp. That said, the One SL is smaller in size. It also has a bit less compression present at max volume, so your audio quality doesn't degrade as much as you bump up the volume.

IKEA SYMFONISK Picture frame

The IKEA SYMFONISK Picture frame and the Sonos One SL perform similarly. The Picture frame gets a touch louder than the One SL, with a lot less compression present at max volume, so your audio sounds cleaner and clearer when you blast the speaker. Its subtle design helps it seamlessly blend in with your home decor too. That said, while the One SL doesn't offer the most spacious-sounding soundstage, it's still much more open and wide-sounding than the picture frame.

Apple HomePod (1st generation)

The Apple HomePod (1st generation) has a better performance than the Sonos One SL. The Apple has a better-balanced sound profile capable of reproducing more low-bass, and it can get louder with fewer compression artifacts. It also has Siri voice assistant built-in, which offers excellent performance. It may be harder to find in new condition since it's been discontinued. However, the Sonos has bass and treble sliders to help adjust its sound, and it feels somewhat better built.

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
RGB Lights No

This speaker has an almost identical look and feel to the Sonos One Gen 2. It's meant to sit vertically on your table and comes in two different colors: 'Black' and 'White'. You can also pair it with compatible Sonos soundbars like the Sonos Beam or the Sonos Arc if you're looking to upgrade them with surround speakers.

5.3
Design
Portability
Volume
140 in³ (2,302 cm³)
Weight
4.0 lbs (1.8 kg)
Power Source
AC Only
One-Hand Carry
Yes

This speaker isn't very portable. Although you can carry it with one hand, it needs to be plugged into a power source to work. For a portable Sonos speaker that you can take with you on the go, check out the Sonos Roam and the Sonos Roam SL.

6.7
Design
Build Quality
Material Quality
Great
Water Resistance
No
Dust Resistance
No
Impact Resistance
Unspecified
Floats In Water
No

The Sonos One SL has an okay build quality. Just like the Sonos One Gen 2, its top and bottom sides are made of plastic. It also has a metal grille to cover the front and sides, which gives it a premium feel. The manufacturer advertises it to withstand high-humidity environments like a bathroom with a running shower. However, it doesn't have an IP rating for dust and water resistance, and it's not meant to be used outdoors.

7.0
Design
Controls
Ease Of Use
Great
Feedback
Great
Music Play/Pause
Yes (Tactile)
Call Answer/End
No
Volume Up/Down
Yes (Tactile)
Track Next/Previous
Yes (Tactile)
Microphone On/Off
No
Additional Controls
Yes

The controls are located on the top side of the speaker. However, unlike the Sonos One Gen 2, it doesn't have a microphone. You can swipe left or right to return to the previous track or skip to the next one. You can also press and hold the play/pause button to group different Sonos speakers and sync up music playing in another room. There's a small light on the top that lights up when you're registering commands and can be turned on or off in the companion app.

Design
In The Box

  • Sonos One SL speaker
  • Power cable
  • User manual

Sound
7.1
Sound
Frequency Response Accuracy
Slope
-0.03
Std. Err.
3.06 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
52.6 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
19.3 kHz

The Sonos One SL has decent frequency response accuracy. Like most premium models on the market, it comes with a room correction feature to calibrate its output based on your room's acoustics—Sonos calls it Trueplay. With it on, the speaker's sound profile is pretty even and balanced, especially in the mids. Voices and lead instruments are clear and present in the mix, and there's a little extra boom in the bass to bring genres like hip-hop and EDM to life.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
Binaural Recording @ 1m
Binaural Recording @ 2m
5.8
Sound
Soundstage
Directivity Index
4.23 dB
Stereo
No (mono)

On its own, this speaker has decent directivity, so your audio sounds clear from most angles. However, it has to downmix stereo content into mono to play this content, which doesn't sound very immersive. You can stereo-pair it with another One SL speaker if you want.

5.3
Sound
Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
85.4 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
4.73 dB

This speaker gets loud enough to fill an average-sized living room with sound. However, compared to other models like the Denon Home 350, it isn't quite loud enough for larger and more open spaces. Also, as you crank up the volume, there are more compression artifacts that distort the sound.

Active Features
0
Active Features
Battery
Battery Life
N/A
Charge Time
N/A
Power Saving
No
Charging Port
No Battery
Battery Powered
No
0
Active Features
Voice Assistant
Alexa
No
Google Assistant
No
Speakerphone
No
Siri
No
Voice Assistant
No
Voice Activation
No
Microphone Mute
No Microphone
Far-Field Performance
No Microphone
Ambient Noise Performance
No Microphone
9.3
Active Features
App
App Name
Sonos S2
iOS
Yes
Android
Yes
EQ
Bass/Treble
Stereo Pair Mode
Yes
Party Mode
Yes
Multi-Room
Yes

The Sonos S2 App is outstanding. It's supported on iOS and Android. Although it lacks a more comprehensive EQ, there are bass and treble sliders to you can customize its sound to your liking. You can connect this speaker to another unit to create a stereo pair or link multiple speakers to cover a wide area. You can connect multiple units in different rooms of your home, too.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Wired
Aux Input
No
USB Audio
No
Other Ports
Yes

This speaker has an Ethernet port, which is nice if you want to connect it to your home network. Unfortunately, it lacks an AUX port, so you can't use a wired connection to link your smartphone and speaker together.

0
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth
No
Bluetooth Version
No Bluetooth
Bluetooth iOS Latency
N/A
Bluetooth Android Latency
N/A
Bluetooth Range
N/A
Multi-Device Pairing
No

This speaker uses Bluetooth low-energy, so you can temporarily communicate with your phone or mobile device to simplify the first-time setup process. However, you can't use this connection to stream audio like with the Sonos Era 100.

8.1
Connectivity
Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi Version
Wi-Fi 4
Wi-Fi Frequency Band
2.4GHz & 5GHz
Wi-Fi
Yes
Apple AirPlay
Yes
AirPlay Latency
43 ms
Google Chromecast
No
Chromecast Latency
N/A

This speaker is Wi-Fi compatible and supports Apple AirPlay. It has low latency over this connection, so you won't notice audio sync issues. However, it doesn't support Chromecast. If you're looking for a Sonos speaker with an even lower Apple AirPlay latency, consider the IKEA SYMFONISK Bookshelf speaker.