Sonos One SL Speaker Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Mar 02, 2021 at 08:57 am
Sonos One SL Picture
6.5
Music
5.5
Videos/Movies
6.4
Podcasts
2.8
Voice Assistant
4.5
Outdoors
Bluetooth
No
Wi-Fi
Yes
Speakerphone
No
Voice Assistant
No
Battery Powered
No

The Sonos One SL is the microphone-free variant of the Sonos One Gen 2. While it doesn't support voice assistants, it 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 also has bass and treble sliders so you can customize its sound, and you can even add it to your existing Sonos-compatible soundbar setup as satellite speakers. Unfortunately, it doesn't get very loud, and there are compression artifacts at max volume. It also doesn't support Bluetooth.

Our Verdict

6.5 Music

The Sonos One SL is just okay for music. It has a boomy sound profile that's suitable for genres like hip-hop. The mid-range is also fairly balanced, so vocals and lead instruments are clear and present. While it struggles a bit to reproduce low-bass, there are bass and treble sliders in its companion app to help customize its sound to your liking. Unfortunately, it doesn't get very loud and there are a lot of compression artifacts at max volume. It also downmixes stereo content into mono to play it.

Pros
  • Bass and treble sliders available.
Cons
  • Doesn't get very loud and compression artifacts at max volume.
5.5 Videos/Movies

The Sonos One SL is disappointing for videos and movies. While it has a boomy sound profile, it still has some trouble reproducing low-bass, so sound effects lack thump and rumble. It also has to downmix stereo content into mono, which doesn't sound very immersive, and it doesn't get very loud. Luckily, if you have a Sonos-compatible soundbar, you can use this speaker as a satellite speaker in your setup.

Pros
  • Bass and treble sliders available.
Cons
  • Doesn't get very loud and compression artifacts at max volume.
  • Downmixes stereo content into mono.
  • No audio streaming via Bluetooth.
6.4 Podcasts

The Sonos One SL is passable for podcasts. It has a balanced mid-range, so vocal-centric content is clear and accurate. Although it can only be used wired, you can connect multiple units if you want to listen to different audio throughout your home. The speaker also has decent directivity, so your podcasts should sound clear from most angles.

Pros
  • Bass and treble sliders available.
  • Supports multi-room.
Cons
  • Doesn't get very loud and compression artifacts at max volume.
  • No audio streaming via Bluetooth.
2.8 Voice Assistant

The Sonos One SL doesn't have a microphone, and it 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

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
RGB Lights No

The Sonos One SL has an almost identical look and feel to the Sonos One Gen 2. It's meant to sit vertically on your table, and it 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 (2302 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.

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. It's advertised 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 we don't currently test for this.

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 Sonos One SL has decent controls. They're located on the top side. 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 add audio that's playing in another room, which groups speakers together. 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. It has a Trueplay tuning feature, which automatically adjusts the speaker to the acoustics of your room by measuring how sound reflects off of your walls and other surfaces around it. Using this feature, it has a boomy sound profile, although it lacks a bit of low-bass. Vocals and lead instruments are clear and present, though. If you prefer a different sound, the companion app offers bass and treble sliders so you can tweak it to your liking.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
Binaural Recording @ 1m
Binaural Recording @ 2m
5.7
Sound
Soundstage
Directivity Index
4.23 dB
Stereo
No (mono)

The Sonos One SL has a sub-par soundstage. It has to downmix stereo content into mono to play this content, which doesn't sound very immersive. That said, it has decent directivity, so your audio should sound clear from most angles.

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

The Sonos One SL has a sub-par dynamics performance. It doesn't get as loud as the Denon Home 350 and there are a lot of compression artifacts at max volume. This speaker may not be the best choice if you have a large or crowded room.

Active Features
0
Active Features
Battery
Battery Life
N/A
Charge Time
N/A
Power Saving
No
Charging Port
No Battery
0
Active Features
Voice Assistant
Alexa
No
Google Assistant
No
Siri
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 so you can customize its sound to your liking. You can also 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 Version
No Bluetooth
Bluetooth iOS Latency
N/A
Bluetooth Android Latency
N/A
Bluetooth Range
N/A
Multi-Device Pairing
No

The Sonos One SL 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.

8.1
Connectivity
Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi Version
Wi-Fi 4
Wi-Fi Frequency Band
2.4GHz & 5GHz
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 shouldn't notice audio sync issues. However, it doesn't support Chromecast.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Sonos One SL 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

The Sonos One SL is a variant of the Sonos One Gen 2 and lacks a microphone, so it doesn't support voice assistants. It's a suitable choice for those looking for a non-smart speaker, though, and it 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. Check out our recommendations for the best home speakers, the best speakers for iPhone and iPod, and the best Bluetooth speakers.

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 One Gen 2

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.

Apple HomePod

The Apple HomePod has a better overall 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. However, the Sonos has bass and treble sliders to help adjust its sound, and it feels somewhat better-built.

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.

Discussions