The smart speaker market has expanded in recent time beyond just the Amazon Echo and the Google Home. The Sonos One and the Apple HomePod are looking to become best sellers in their own right. The competition is tough but being a relatively new market space, these two units have the chance to become kings in their own right.
The smart speaker war has begun with the Amazon Alexa/Echo line taking a demanding lead. However, there is time for one of these newcomers to take over that top spot. Will either the Sonos One or the Apple HomePod have what it takes to dethrone the current king of the smart speaker world? We’ll take a look and find out.
The Apple HomePod is one of Apple’s newest products on the market. Having been released on February 9, 2018, the Homepod is the newest major player in the smart speaker world. Why would someone choose to buy the Apple HomePod? Well, mostly because of brand recognition. Apple is the most valuable mobile company in the world, and their products are used by more people daily than any other. This is definitely something that they bring to the table in regards to new technology. Name recognition is key to Apple’s marketing campaigns, and sometimes that is enough to carry mediocre or below average products to best sellers. Will the HomePod stand out from the crowd because of the brand? Or will it stand out because of excellent audio quality?
Being a big brand doesn’t necessarily mean success. Many major corporations have brought failed or outclassed items to market in the past, and sadly I believe this to be the case in regards to Apple’s HomePod. This device does have a few details going for it that make it better for some people than the other options. Unfortunately for Apple, audio fidelity is not one of those reasons.
The Apple HomePod is the only device that utilizes Siri. This is a feature that could make the HomePod stand out from the crowd for diehard Apple fans. Apple has also made the claim that this speaker has reimagined what sound in a smart speaker should sound like. They claim that this has the best sound quality of all the smart speakers on the market. It comes in at 7 inches tall and includes 7 individual tweeters and a 4-inch woofer for slightly above average sound quality. It also includes a 6 microphone array for spatial awareness. This allows it to hear your voice from anywhere in the room. The microphone system on the HomePod is better than the Google Home and Amazon Echo, but Alexa and the Sonos One have it beat in this category.
The utilization of Siri and the ability to access Apple Music might be the reason most people buy this item. Unfortunately for Apple, there are better, less expensive options than the HomePod. The Apple HomePod retails at $349.99 USD
The next contender to enter the arena of smart speaker superiority is the Sonos One. This speaker has some history to go along with it. Sonos is on the top of the world for home audio solutions, so it makes sense for them to get into the smart speaker game. Sonos has produced many different home audio devices and they have had varying levels of success.
Audio lovers are often keen on pointing out the sound quality that the Sonos system puts out for its smaller size in comparison to its competition. The Sonos One is a wireless speaker that runs directly on your home WiFi signal. It also comes with a dedicated app to allow you to control it with your mobile device if you wish to do so. The Sonos One is built off the Amazon Alexa/Echo framework. It has the ability to stream from up to 80 different services directly through voice commands.
Sonos has struck gold with the new Sonos One. The device has some of the highest reviews on Amazon for smart speakers. It is able to run off the Amazon Alexa interface or the Google Home Assistant interface. This device is OS agnostic, allowing you to use whichever services that you want. It has a very simple setup, allowing you to start listening to music within only ten minutes of unboxing. The sound quality is the best of the smart speakers on the market today.
The choice that the Sonos One gives the user, to be able to choose Alexa or Google and the excellent sound quality makes it a must buy for any music enthusiast, or simply anyone who wants a more efficient home life regarding news, music or weather. The Sonos One is hands down the top offering in the field of smart speakers as of now. It has a much more reasonable price of $199 USD.
If you’re in the market for a new smart speaker for your Smart Home, chances are you like the idea of being able to have a mobile, wirelessly controlled audio outlet. Both the Apple HomePod and the Sonos One will fulfill that role. However, one of them will do the job better for half the price of the other. The Sonos One ultimately defeats the Apple HomePod due to the price difference between the two, and the superior sound quality offered at the lower price. The Apple HomePod is a good device for an Apple lover, however, unless you are specifically looking for a unit that connects with your existing Apple account, the Sonos One is a better speaker.
Hopefully, in the future, Apple will realize their failure in this product, and be able to offer something at a more competitive price point. Even if they were both $199, the Apple device would need improvements to its sound design and Siri optimization to compete with the Sonos One.