ReviewTech

New Sonos One SL in Review

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One of the most popular Sonos speakers is the Sonos One, which has been leading our smart speaker leaderboard for years. In the trade, however, you will inevitably also find a variant of the speaker called Sonos One SL, which looks confusingly similar to the original.

The fact that the Sonos One SL is a slightly “slimmed down” version of the Sonos One is not only clear in name: The compact shelf speaker offers all the advantages that the slightly more expensive version offers, but does without an integrated microphone. So, if you can do without the use of voice commands for various artificial intelligences (Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant and Co), you save a few euros with the purchase of the Sonos One SL.

Regardless of whether a microphone has been installed or not, both versions can be conveniently controlled via a free app. For this, however, a connection to the in-house WLAN network is mandatory. Then the multiroom speaker can also be conveniently mixed with other Sonos products and guarantees a stereo sound.

Whether all this really works as promised by the manufacturer and whether the sound will also like audiophile users, we have recorded in our detailed review.

Technical details

The spiritual successor of the popular Sonos Play:1 (see on Amazon) is at first glance particularly compact: With dimensions of 12 x 12 x 16.1 centimetres, the shelf speaker should both on and on the shelf, as well as being able to find a place on chests of drawers or tables. Important: This is not a mobile speaker, because a battery has not been integrated. Instead, a connection via the supplied power cable is necessary.

After all, you have the free choice when connecting to the in-house Internet: Especially simple is the coupling to the WLAN network, which is found and selected with just a few simple steps. However, if you prefer a cable connection, you are in luck with the Sonos One SL – the shelf speaker has an Ethernet input and thus allows the use of a normal LAN cable.

Multiroom function with Sono’s speakers However, it is a pity that the Sonos One SL is not compatible with other manufacturers. So, if you already have a home system with Wi-Fi enabled speakers from another (or even several) manufacturer(s), the Sonos model cannot be inserted here. Even with older Sonos models such as the Sonos Play:1, the One is not easy to pair, which will certainly disturb one or the other Sonos fan.

However, the Sonos One SL can shine as a second or third speaker. If you have a Sonos One, for example, the cheaper SL version makes sense – after all, you don’t need any more microphones for the SmartHome system.

The technical data
Frequency range?
Speaker typeShelf speaker
Audio inputsWLAN, Ethernet
Driver3.5 inch
Sensitivity?
Nominal impedance?
Weight1.85 kg
Dimensions11.45 x 119.7 x 119.7 mm
Housing typePlastic
The Sonos One SL looks classically elegant Scope of delivery and processing

Scope of delivery and processing

The scope of delivery is okay, because in addition to the actual speaker, there is only a power cable and an understandable quick guide, which explains, among other things, the coupling to the WLAN network. We would also have liked an Ethernet cable for direct connection to the SmartHome system, because not everyone will have such a cable lying around at home.

After all, there are no defects to report in the workmanship: The Sonos One SL was not only assembled cleanly, but also offers a stable impression – not least due to its almost two kilos own weight. The manufacturer even points out that the housing is so good that it could be used on the terrace or balcony. However, no IP protection is specified, so here a use only in dry weather

Design and handling

The design is quite classic: Buyers can choose between white and black, whereby the speaker itself was not really designed conspicuously and relies on a classic-elegant concept. We definitely like the exterior, not least because of the high-quality feel, which suggests a rock-solid material choice.

We are also really satisfied with the handling, because the four buttons on the top offer everything needed for basic control. However, the Sonos One SL is best operated via the free Sonos app and can be used without further settings once it has been integrated into the SmartHome system. Even for technically inexperienced users, the connection to the WLAN network is unproblematic, which is a clear plus point.

Also worth mentioning: Apple fans and users can conveniently use the Sonos speaker via AirPlay.

The few control elements offer some practical features

Sound quality

Although the dimensions of the Sonos One SL are similar to those of the Sonos Play:1, from a technical point of view, a noticeable progress has been made here. Thus, the two Class-D amplifiers for a tweeter and a midrange driver provide a really clear sound, which is particularly well accentuated and fine. Whether you like orchestral music, rock or even electronic genres, the sound is always convincing.

We particularly like the free Sonos app here, which can once again improve the sound of the room by taking into account room size and texture, for example. With the equalizer, you can then noticeably add a few percent of improved room sound. Audiophile users in particular might want a bit finer setting for the equalizer, but on the whole, the app is sufficient for 98%+ of all wishes.

Smart sound thanks to smart system

As already mentioned, the Sonos One SL can be conveniently paired with other Sonos One models and then produces a convincing stereo sound. Here it is definitely worthwhile to distribute the two (or multiple) speakers in the room in such a way that the resulting sound optimally corresponds to your own wishes.

Also, modern and practical: If you like to use streaming services, you can of course not only connect voice assistants, but also the streaming providers directly. All major companies such as Apple Music, Deezer, Spotify and many more can be found and connected. In addition, you can browse entire libraries of the various streaming services within the free Sonos app.


  • VALUE FOR MONEY – 9.3/10
  • SOUND – 9.7/10
  • PROCESSING – 9.5/10
  • OPTICS – 9.3/10
  • HANDLING – 9.0/10
product-image

Sonos One SL

9.4

Ultimately, we can recommend the Sonos One SL to anyone looking for a smart speaker for home use. If you prefer voice control, you should choose the Sonos One, if you need a speaker without this feature, you will be more than satisfied with the SL version.

PROS
  • practical Ethernet input
  • high-quality workmanship
  • dynamic, accentuated sound
  • Stereo pairing with multiple Sonos speakers
  • free Sonos app with many features
CONS
  • No Ethernet cable included
  • only compatible with Sonos One speakers
Andrzej Vilenski
Andrzej Vilenski, the Baltic Review correspondent is a PhD student at the University of Vilnius, studying policy.

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