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Sonos Five vs Sonos One (2020): Choosing The Best Multi-Room Speaker

Over the last several years, Sonos has become synonymous to multi-room wireless speakers. The brand’s line of home audio has essentially revolutionized the way we play music inside—and even outside—our houses. Now that the Sonos Five is available, we’re eager to see how it fits with the rest of the brand’s lineup. Here, we compare the Sonos Five to the highly-recommended Sonos One smart speaker.

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Sonos Five High-Fidelity Speaker

The successor to the popular Play:5, the Sonos Five high-fidelity speaker boasts powerful, yet distortion-free audio at any volume level.

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Sonos Five vs Sonos One Comparison Chart

ModelSonos FiveSonos One
Sonos Five speaker
PriceCheck Price

at Amazon.com

Check Price

at Amazon.com

Dimensions8.03 x 14.33 x 6.06 in.6.36 x 4.69 x 4.69 in.
Weight14 lbs.4.08 lbs.
ColorsBlack

White

Black

White

Voice AssistantNoAmazon Alexa, Google Assistant
ConnectivityWiFi Network;

Apple AirPlay 2
Works with AirPlay 2 on Apple devices iOS 11.4 and higher.

WiFi Network;

Apple AirPlay 2
Works with AirPlay 2 on Apple devices iOS 11.4 and higher.

CompatibilityiOS, AndroidiOS, Android
Audio6 Class-D digital amplifiers

3 mid-woofers

3 tweeters

Analogue line-in with 3.5mm jack

2 Class-D digital amplifiers

1 mid-woofer

1 tweeter

Built-in mic

PowerAuto-switching 100-240 V, 50-60 Hz AC universal input.Auto-switching 100-240 V, 50-60 Hz AC universal input.
Release DateJune 2020October 2017

Design

Although the Sonos Five is larger than the Sonos One, both speakers come in streamlined frames and monochromatic finishes for a discreet home set-up.

From the top, the Sonos Five (left) and the Sonos One (right) both feature capacitive touch controls. 

Looking at the Sonos Five, you know it’s not a follow up to the Sonos One. The Five, in fact, will be replacing one of Sonos’ best-sounding speakers instead, the Play:5. While the numbers and naming can be confusing, the design differences between the Five and One are not.

Although larger and certainly heavier, the Sonos Five adopts the Play:5’s streamlined body that allows the speakers to be positioned horizontally—or vertically when pairing two. On the other hand, the Sonos One’s smaller form, clean lines, and rounded corners make for an understated device that aims to put the spotlight on the sound, not the tech.

Both the Five and One adhere to Sonos’ minimalist design-maximum sound philosophy. Like in its predecessor and most Sonos models, the Sonos Five comes with discreet touch controls that meld seamlessly to the speaker’s form. The two speakers seem keen to keep a low-profile no matter where they are placed. And that includes the bathroom, with both models being humidity-resistant.

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Sonos One (Gen 2) Smart Speaker

Featuring a built-in Amazon Alexa and microphone, the Sonos One (Gen 2) smart speaker offers more than just an immersive listening experience.

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Audio Performance

The Sonos Five brings more power with fidelity compared to the Sonos One, which, for a smart speaker, already delivers impressive sound.

The Sonos Five speakers blend well into furnishings and shelves.

Behind the metal mesh, the Sonos One comes with two Class-D digital amplifiers, one mid-woofer, and one tweeter. The last two components help deliver high-fidelity playback of mid-vocal frequencies, and crisp and clear high frequencies respectively. Given its size and price point, there’s an impressive power coming out of the Sonos One even though at higher volumes the sound tends to get distorted.

Speaking of power, expect a lot more coming from the Sonos Five. Unlike the Sonos One, the Sonos Five has been designed precisely for room-filling sound: thumping bass, faithful vocal playback across all frequencies, distortion-free audio performance at higher volumes. Looking at its specs, the soon-to-be-released speaker boasts of six custom-designed drivers, three mid-woofers, three tweeters, and adjustable EQ settings through the Sonos app. The components also come in a phased array to help create a wide stereo soundstage setup.

Smart Features

The Sonos Five is a standalone speaker without any smart features, unlike the Sonos One which has a built-in voice assistant.

The Sonos One’s (right) speaker grille is more noticeable than the Sonos Five’s. 

Unlike the Sonos Five, the Sonos One is a smart speaker. In fact, it’s the company’s first foray into smart tech. This means you can enjoy voice control with the Sonos One through the built-in Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. So aside from playing music, you can also set alarms, check the weather, and ask questions hands-free.

You won’t be getting any of these smart features from the Sonos Five. It’s purely advertised as a speaker. Nonetheless, it does boast of a sound that automatically adjusts based on the device’s positioning. Paired with the same Sonos Five, the speakers will automatically adjust to mono. On its own and set-up horizontally, the speaker will separate the left and right channels instead for a stereo sound.

Deal Finder
Sonos Five High-Fidelity Speaker

The successor to the popular Play:5, the Sonos Five high-fidelity speaker boasts powerful, yet distortion-free audio at any volume level.

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Connectivity and Compatibility

Compatible with both iOS and Android, the Sonos One and the upcoming Sonos Five are standalone devices which can be connected or paired with other Sonos speakers for an enhanced multi-device setup.

Sonos speakers can be set-up in any part of the room. On the left, paired Sonos Five speakers can be seen arranged vertically. On the right, the Sonos One in a black finish. 

What makes the Sonos brand of speakers truly standout is its interconnectivity. This unmatched ease-of-use allows owners to connect to any Sonos speaker in any room. By ditching the messy cables and simply connecting to your home WiFi network, you can pair any two Sonos speakers together for a multi-device setup. That includes both the Sonos One and the Sonos Five.

The two speakers are also compatible with the Sonos App, which is available in iOS and Android. For Apple users, there’s an exclusive software feature in the app called TruePlay that allows you to tune your speakers using your phone’s microphone.

A key advantage the upcoming Sonos Five appears to have over the Sonos One is the inclusion of an analogue line-in with 3.55 mm jack. This means apart from wireless streaming, you can actually connect the speaker to other devices including a projector, a CD player, and even a turntable.

Verdict

While the Sonos One is a practical choice for people looking for more than music features, the Sonos Five should appeal to audiophiles keen on superior audio performance.

Deal Finder
Sonos Five High-Fidelity Speaker

The successor to the popular Play:5, the Sonos Five high-fidelity speaker boasts powerful, yet distortion-free audio at any volume level.

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Deal Finder
Sonos One (Gen 2) Smart Speaker

Featuring a built-in Amazon Alexa and microphone, the Sonos One (Gen 2) smart speaker offers more than just an immersive listening experience.

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Sonos’ bread-and-butter has always been in delivering high-quality speakers for multi-room setup, distinguished as one of the best app platforms on the market today. This remains true for the upcoming Sonos Five, which is intended to replace the Play:5. Based on the specs alone, it’s a modest upgrade from the Play:5 and should be considered distinct from what the Sonos One offers.

The Sonos Five will most likely appeal to the Play:5’s consumer demographic: people who want the full-range, detailed audio performance to fill large rooms and spaces. In contrast, the Sonos One is more of an entry-point to the Sonos system, boasting of smart features with great sound that would attract a broader market. For audiophiles, it’s clear the Five offers a more superior sound performance. But if you’re someone looking for more non-music features, like getting the news or setting alarms, then the Sonos One will be the more affordable and practical choice.

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Mari Bassig
Mari Bassig

Senior Editor, writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, social media, and music.