The Jeeves of a home assistant

When faced with a domestic dilemma, what do you go for: Sonos One, a good all-rounder with access to Amazon’s Alexa, or Apple HomePod with its superior sound?

Sonos One, £199
Sonos One, £199 | Image: Hugh Threlfall

I continue to be a fan of Apple’s HomePod smart speaker, but have been listening more to its direct competitor, the Sonos One, which is a little smaller, cheaper and has access to Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant, which I find a few notches above Apple’s Siri. The Sonos sounds good, but the HomePod is about 20 per cent better – with richer, more dramatic bass and superior spatial sound. So it should be, as the Apple makes its noise via seven tweeters and a woofer to Sonos’s one of each. 

Apple HomePod, £319
Apple HomePod, £319 | Image: Hugh Threlfall

On the other hand, if you just want a music player for the kitchen that sounds better than Amazon Echo, will time a dish for you and play Radio 4 when requested, for me it has to be the Sonos One. At the time of writing the HomePod still couldn’t play BBC radio stations – a really odd omission – and it could also only provide one timer at a time, which is useless for a kitchen. Bear in mind, too, that the Sonos integrates with other Sonos items, if you have them. A big advantage to Sonos people.

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A knotty choice then. My verdict: buy a Sonos One if you’re after an all‑rounder of a home assistant; but if you want music at its best and aren’t someone who asks too many questions, go for the HomePod.

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