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Sonos SL vs Sonos One (2021): Which Smart Speaker Is Right For You?

Sonos is one of the go-to brands if you are in need of smart speakers. The Sonos One SL and Sonos One (Gen 2) are wireless bookshelf speakers from the brand and they come with compact designs that allow you to place them pretty much anywhere. The two are identical in a lot of ways and today, we’ll be comparing the two to highlight their similarities and differences. Here’s a comparison chart to start things off.

Sonos SL vs Sonos One Comparison Chart

ModelSonos One SLSonos One (Gen 2)
 Sonos One SL - Microphone-Free Smart Speaker – BlackSonos One (Gen 2) - Voice Controlled Smart Speaker with Amazon Alexa Built-in - Black
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
Dimensions6.36 x 4.69 x 4.69 inches6.36 x 4.69 x 4.69 inches
Weight4.08 lbs4.08 lbs
FinishMatteMatte
Speakers2x Class-D digital amplifiers
1x tweeter
1x mid woofer
2x Class-D digital amplifiers
1x tweeter
1x mid woofer
ControlsTouch capacitive
Swipe left/right
Play/Pause
Volume up/down
Join button
Touch capacitive
Microphone on/off
Swipe left/right
Play/Pause
Volume up/down
Join button
Voice ControlsNoAlexa
Google Assistant
MicrophoneNoneYes (with LED indicator)
ConnectivityEthernet port
WiFi – any 802.11a/b/g/n, 2.4 and 5 GHz
Apple AirPlay 2
Ethernet port
WiFi – any 802.11a/b/g/n, 2.4 and 5 GHz
Apple AirPlay 2
Color OptionsBlack, WhiteBlack, White

Design

The Sonos One SL and Sonos One have identical designs.

From the front, the Sonos One SL (left) and Sonos One (right) look the same.

The Sonos One SL and Sonos One are basically the same speakers. The biggest difference between the two is that the latter has a built-in microphone for voice controls while the former does not. They have the same physical dimensions—6.36 x 4.69 x 4.69 inches—and they weigh the same as well, at 4.08 lbs. Both speakers are available in black and white, and they have the same matte finish.

Due to their compact size, they can be placed anywhere. You can wall mount them by purchasing Sonos’ proprietary wall mounting kit or by buying third party mounting kits specifically designed for both the Sonos One SL and Sonos One. For a simpler setup, you can just put them on top of a shelf or you can place them on a stand. The Sonos One SL stand that you can buy from Sonos can also be used with the Sonos One. Although they are quite small and easy to carry, they are not really portable since they need a nearby outlet to plug into.

The two speakers are built really well. Even though the top and bottom parts are made of plastic, the speakers are covered by metal grilles. They feel like premium products.

Sound

The Sonos One SL and Sonos One have the same sound profile.

Due to their compact design, you can place the Sonos One SL (left) and Sonos One (right) pretty much anywhere.

Since the two speakers have the same cabinet and same internals, they sound similar. They both come with Sonos’ Trueplay feature, which measures the room’s acoustics so that the sound output of the speaker is optimal.

If you get just one speaker, the sound is downmixed from stereo to mono, however, if you get a pair, the speakers will output true stereo and it sounds significantly better. The low frequency output of the Sonos One SL and Sonos One is punchy and boomy, but since they are small, they don’t rumble.

The mids are forward, so listening to vocals-focused tracks is a pleasant experience. The highs are clear and detailed as well, so high-pitched vocals and treble instruments can be clearly heard without harshness. You can adjust the sound for both speakers with the Sonos S2 app as it has an EQ slider for the bass and treble.

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Features

The Sonos One SL does not have voice controls while the Sonos One does.

The Sonos One SL (left) is missing the microphone controls since it doesn’t have built-in voice assistant, unlike the Sonos One (right).

As mentioned earlier, the Sonos One SL does not have a built-in microphone so it does not have voice controls. The Sonos One, on the other hand, has a built-in microphone and it supports voice controls via WiFi. It has built-in Alexa and Google Assistant support. You can mute the mic by pressing the microphone button at the top of the Sonos One and there is an LED indicator that shows you when the mic is on or off.

Aside from voice controls, the two speakers offer the same features. The Sonos One SL app is the same as the Sonos One app—the Sonos S2 app. The app is compatible with iOS and Android. In the app, there are sliders for the bass and treble, so that you can adjust how the speakers will sound. You can also use the app to connect either the Sonos One SL or Sonos One to different speakers to use them on stereo mode, multi-room mode or party mode.

The controls for the Sonos One SL and Sonos One are touch capacitive and they are responsive. There are buttons for microphone (Sonos One only), play/pause, volume up/down and swiping left or right allows you to return to previous or skip to next track.

Connectivity

The Sonos One SL and Sonos One offer the same connectivity options.

At the back, the Sonos One SL (left) and Sonos One (right) have their join buttons and an Ethernet port.

The two speakers can stream music wirelessly via WiFi and they both support Apple Airplay. Unfortunately, they don’t support music streaming via Bluetooth as they are WiFi only. They both support the 2.4 GHz and 5GHz band. At the back of both speakers are Ethernet ports that allow you to connect them to your network.

Verdict

Choosing between the Sonos One SL and Sonos One will depend on whether you need voice controls or not.

Since the only major difference between the Sonos One SL and Sonos One is the latter’s voice control support, choosing between the two will depend on whether you need that particular feature or not. As for everything else, they are the same. They have the same design and build quality, they sound similar and they also have the same connectivity options.

FAQs

📌 What is the difference between the Sonos One SL shadow edition vs regular?

The shadow edition is simply the black version of the Sonos One SL.

📌 What does Sonos One SL stand for?

The SL in the Sonos One SL stands for “speechless” since it does not have a built-in microphone for voice controls.

📌 What’s the difference between the Sonos One SL and Sonos One (Gen 2)?

The only real difference between the Sonos One SL and Sonos One (Gen 2) is that the Sonos One (Gen 2) has voice control support while the Sonos One SL does not. Other than that, they are similar speakers.

📌 Is the Sonos One SL worth it?

It’s worth it to buy the Sonos One SL if you’re looking to get a compact smart speaker that sounds good. and you don’t really need voice controls.

Last update on 2021-06-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Carlo Salvador

Senior Editor at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about fitness, gaming and music.