Best Sonos One SL Black Friday Deals 2021

Deal Score0
Deal Score0

Our Verdict
Whether stereo paired, put into a home theatre set-up or used solo, as of this level it’s a good sonic win from Sonos

For
Works in stereo with Sonos One
Open, clean sound
Solid and agile bass
Against
No Bluetooth support
In the rapidly evolving realm of wireless speakers, packing as much into each fabric-jacketed box as possible – drivers, streaming service support, features – is definitely the path to success. More has definitely been more.

Why has Sonos released something that looks identical to its latest five-star smart speaker, the Sonos One, but overlooked the smart aspects, including those little microphone dots around the very best, and the built-in voice assistant?

Build

(Image credit: Sonos)
Our overview of the Sonos One described it as “essentially a Play:1 with voice control built-in”, and figured it was “an excellent mixture inside our book”. Which begs the question that if the Sonos Play:1 may be the Sonos One without voice assistant smarts, what’s the point of the brand new Sonos SL?

The Sonos One SL looks almost identical to the Sonos One, with a touch-sensitive top plate and pairing button at the trunk. But as for the goal of the SL, our overview of the Sonos One hinted at one possibility.

“Much like the Play:1, two Sonos Ones could be combined to make a stereo pair with the capacity of filling an area with hi-fi-like focus,” we wrote. “Given the sonic similarities, it’s a shame you can’t form a stereo pair comprising one One and one Play:1. Buying two Alexa-powered speakers for just one room just feels as though overkill, especially if you curently have a Play:1.”

You’ve guessed it: now you can pair a One and One SL in stereo, a set-up that looks and sounds best for the amount of money. Simply give your two speakers different names then select either speaker in the Sonos software and choose ‘create stereo pair’. You are then prompted to press and release the pairing button on whichever speaker you intend to be the left of the pair. Do this and you’ve created a set of stereo speakers where in fact the You can handle voice activation.

Features

(Image credit: Sonos)
Of course, the Sonos One SL is made for both Sonos system integration and solo use – you don’t need to pair it with another. So for the purposes of the review, we tested it alone, in its right.

Two sonic top features of note within the app’s sound tab are Trueplay and, in the EQ settings, the Loudness toggle. Trueplay analyses the main one SL’s surroundings and adjusts its sonic balance accordingly. In addition, it involves travelling our listening room (having positioned the main one SL where we wish it) waving an iPad around, which is accompanied by lightsaber noises emitted from the Sonos’s drivers.

Sonos One SL tech specs

(Image credit: Sonos)

Amplifiers 2x Class-D amps

Stereo pairing Yes

Home theatre no

Dimensions (hwd) 16 x 12 x 12cm

Weight 1.85kg

Despite the clear draw for Star Wars fans, the Trueplay feature will probably be worth doing; when the performance is complete and our One SL notifies us with a nice musical power chord, the sound has been optimised to your room. Much like our Sonos One, we also recommend keeping the Loudness feature to maximise the breadth and depth that such a speaker can provide.

A DIFFERENT ONE SL addition is AirPlay 2, although the intuitive Sonos software handily corrals your music streaming services into its ‘Browse’ tab for quick access so you may well not require it unless heavily ensconced in Apple’s ecosphere. The iphone app may also find songs kept on your own local network (from a NAS drive, for instance). Our one gripe here’s that there’s still no Bluetooth, this means if the wi-fi is down you’re out of luck.

The touch-control panel on the Sonos could be disabled via software settings, and the status light could be turned off if you discover it distracting – all small yet useful features. Of course, if you wish to include voice-activated smarts to the SL without investing in a Sonos One, adding an economical Echo Dot would also allow this.

Sound

(Image credit: Sonos)
Having set all EQ presets to neutral, deployed Trueplay and kept Loudness toggled on, we cue up ALMOST EVERY OTHER Freckle by alt-J on Tidal. The rumbling bass first is agile, solid and remarkably weighty for a speaker of the size. Vocals and strings through the treble and midrange frequencies are well-placed and notably similar to the sophistication displayed by the Sonos One.

Exploring the SL’s low end further, we create Dave’s rap-heavy Question Time. Vocals are upfront and central, set in addition to the low bass tones, which are both perceptible and musically cohesive with regards to the high hat. Bass-wise, it’s just as energetic, punchy and detailed a performance as you’d get from its voice-controlled sibling.

Eric Clapton’s strummed classical guitar first of Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out is both textured, bluesy and 3d, layered with the meandering and sparkling piano notes and Clapton’s quieter vocal. As always, his axe takes centre stage, but there’s a lot of space for backing vocals and bass to shine too, which are kept in balance within a clean, open and expansive mix.

Verdict
As the price difference between your Sonos One and Sonos One SL is negligible, for many who see no benefit in talking with their speaker, the SL is a practicable proposition. The sonic performance, streaming options and app-support are one of the better we’ve tested as of this level.

The Sonos One SL is a justified update on the Play:1, a definitive, malleable companion to the Sonos One, and a musical, punchy, pleasing little bit of kit when

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