Sonos speakers are a step up for most home audio systems and the just added Google Assistant support makes the products even more appealing. The Sonos One and Beam are now frustratingly close to being a better Google Home, but ultimately are not direct replacements, especially if you’re already invested in the Google ecosystem.
Li’s main complaint is that Sonos devices still don’t support casting, which means they are not good for taking content on your phone or tablet and transferring it to the Sonos speaker. This is totally fair, and I sympathize with the frustration.
But here’s the deal, the Sonos One has AirPlay 2, so it’s a perfect device for sharing audio from iOS or macOS. And now that they have added support for Google Assistant, it does everything you can do with Google’s…assistant. that means playing music from Spotify or YouTube Music with your voice, or adding tasks to your Google account, or doing more elaborate information queries, or all the other great things Google Assistant can do.
I think that there are people out there who want something like a HomePod. They want something that sounds good, looks nice, can play the music they want, has a voice assistant built in, can play music across multiple rooms, can be paired to add stereo sound, and the like, but they don’t want Siri and they don’t use Apple Music. For those people, a HomePod was not going to work because it simply couldn’t do the things they wanted to do.
But with Google Assistant built in,these folks can spend $100 less than a HomePod and get great sound (not as great, but in the same ballpark), but with the assistant they prefer and the music services they use. And on top of that, they don’t lose any of the AirPlay 2 magic that you get with a HomePod. You can still “cast” to it like a HomePod and you can still ask Siri on your phone to play something on the Sonos speaker. Hell, I have 2 HomePods in the living room and constantly have them paired with a Sonos One in the kitchen to play something everywhere and it’s just as easy as if it was another HomePod in the kitchen.
I still really like my HomePods and I don’t think everyone should go out and buy a Sonos instead, but if you want AirPlay 2 for your other iOS devices and you’re either deep in Google’s ecosystem or prefer Spotify for your music, then this is a really compelling HomePod alternative.
I’ll add here at the end that i kind of agree with Li about it not being as great a Google Home alternative. The fact you can’t Chromecast audio to it and it lacks Bluetooth entirely means your only option on Android is to use the Sonos app, which I very much find to be the worst way to use any of the services that work with it.