The 9 Biggest Complaints About the Sonos One

sonos one

The 9 Biggest Complaints About the Sonos One

Key Points

  • The Sonos One (Gen 2) offers excellent spatial sound quality and supports multi-room audio with Alexa or Google Assistant voice control.
  • The speaker lacks Bluetooth connectivity, limiting its portability and usage in areas with unstable Wi-Fi connections.
  • The Sonos One is not water-resistant, making it unsuitable for use in environments with high exposure to water-related accidents.
  • Limited voice assistant options and erratic voice command understanding can hinder user experience.
  • Users have reported software bugs, audio syncing problems, and the inability to use both Alexa and Google Assistant concurrently.

Lately, the smart speaker market is thriving with competition. Manufacturers like Sonos are always going the extra mile to ensure consumers have useful, fun, and feature-rich products. The Sonos One (Gen 2) is a good example of a device that is meant to build a connection between multiple audio devices consumers use at once. The Sonos One is popular because it delivers good sound quality, connectivity with streaming apps, and a number of other features you would want in a smart speaker as well. However, there needs to be a clear distinction between an ordinary speaker and a smart speaker. Like with many other smart devices, there are some recurrent complaints about the Sonos One that you should think about before you make your final decision to purchase it.    

Our Pick
Sonos One (Gen 2)
  • Compatible with the Sonos app, Apple AirPlay2, and more
  • Voice control
  • Compact design
  • Pair 2 Sonos Ones together in the same room for stereo separation
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
09/14/2023 08:57 pm GMT

Sonos One Overview 

The Sonos One, available in two generations, is an ultra-portable smart speaker with excellent spatial sound quality. It supports multi-room audio and gives you the choice of using Alexa or Google Assistant for its voice control functions.   

In case you have been wondering what differences there are between the two generations, there aren’t many. The second-gen Sonos One just has a faster processor and larger memory capacity. It was only an upgrade to make it future-ready. Everything else remained the same in terms of sound performance. The newer version is a better deal if you want to have a Sonos One in 2023 and beyond. 


Audio2 Class-D digital amplifiers, 1 tweeter, and 1 mid-woofer for mid-range/low-frequency sound, adjustable bass and treble
Voice Control
Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant with powerful microphone tech for voice detection and voice control
ConnectivitySupports 802.11b/g/n (2.4 GHz) and 802.11a/n/ac (5 GHz), Ethernet port (10/100 Mbps).
6.36 x 4.69 x 4.69 inches (161.45 x 119.7 x 119.7 mm)
Product weight
ColorsAvailable in black or white
Power SupplySupports 100-240 V and 50-60 Hz AC universal input
Standby Power0.5W

Smart Speaker Definition

Smart speakers have a unique type of loudspeaker with a voice command program and virtual assistant, to offer hands-free interaction and activation. They’re turned on with a “hot word” or a special phrase to trigger the voice commands.

The Sonos One is a smart speaker that has great sound and other technology. It can be used to play music from streaming platforms; control smart home devices such as lights, thermostats, and security cameras; get news and weather updates; and much more.

The Biggest Complaints About the Sonos One

While it’s an impressive speaker, it’s not perfect. Here are some of the most prevalent customer complaints about the Sonos One (gen 2).

Complaint 1: No Bluetooth or Wired Connection  

Bluetooth still remains an easy and straightforward trick for setting up connections between multiple devices. It is very convenient whenever you need to establish a temporary or ad hoc connection with a new device. If your smart speaker has Bluetooth, you can connect it to smartphones or laptops without the need for a Wi-Fi connection. 

The lack of Bluetooth connectivity on the Sonos One makes people question whether the Sonos One is “smart enough” to qualify as a smart speaker. The Sonos One is handicapped in situations where you may need a one-to-one connection with devices but don’t have Wi-Fi internet access. 

Surprisingly, the Sonos One not only needs a Wi-Fi connection, but it needs a Wi-Fi connection that is stable. You cannot stream and control the gadget if it is situated in those corners of your home where the Wi-Fi experiences slight disruptions. Ultimately, it limits portable usage as you move further away from your Wi-Fi source. 

Complaint 2: Not Water Resistant   

water drop splash in a glass blue colored
Even a small amount of water could be fatal for your speaker. Don’t even think of using it near the pool.

©Peter Bocklandt/Shutterstock.com

Water resistance in smart speakers offers more protection whenever they are used in situations where spills and splashes are likely. You may want to enjoy music in your kitchen, bathroom, or on the poolside. Such environments have a higher exposure to water-related accidents. The big problem with the Sonos One is that it’s only branded as “humidity resistant”. It also does not offer an IP rating number for people to judge its water resistance. 

Unlike newer Sonos speaker versions such as the Sonos Move, the Sonos One is mostly recommended for wall, shelf, bedside, and desktop placements, away from water or steam. Users should also be careful about leaving it too close to windows when it rains. Having it near the pool, hot tub, or a closed bathroom risks water damage to your smart speaker. 

The unknown-to-limited water resistance ratings of the Sonos One are a reason to avoid it if you want to have one smart speaker that you can use for entertainment in all weather conditions. The Sonos One ranks low if you need a system that remains functional and offers voice control without the constant fear of accidental water damage.  

Complaint 3: Limited Voice Assistant Options 

When the Sonos One first launched, it only had Amazon Alexa as the voice assistant platform. The second generation later included Google Assistant support, but that is still many steps back from speakers that support other assistants like Apple’s Siri. These limited options are a drawback for the Sonos One. You may want to look for newer versions like the Sonos Arc, Era 100, Era 300, and the Sonos Five for expanded voice assistant options. 

Complaint 4: Sound Distortion and Inaccurate Room Tuning

Having the right room tuning for your smart speakers, or any sound system, optimizes the overall audio performance. However, that all depends on the space configurations in the room in which the speaker will operate. In most cases, there are instances of sound distortion at different volume levels. Sonos One has a workaround for this problem. It operates a sound tuning app called TruePlay (available in the Sonos App settings). Once run, the app will only optimize the tonal balance according to the shape and furniture configuration in the room. This built-in tuning fixes one big problem but also creates other problems. 

When built-in tuning is done, it writes off any personalized preferences you may have, such as soundstage characteristics and specific tonal balance. If you have beyond-average acoustic requirements, the Sonos One will give you a hard time. It is not the right pick if you are used to applying your own audio calibration methods. 

Complaint 5: Physical Buttons Versus Touch Buttons

Unlike newer versions of the Sonos smart speakers, the Sonos One has physical buttons instead of touch controls. Physical buttons may appeal to users who want a combination of tactility and vintage practicality. However, the physical buttons on the Sonos One deteriorate faster and are often harder to clean. There is constant worry about them becoming more unresponsive due to wear. It is also easier to clean touch surfaces that do not have crevices. 

Touch buttons, on the other hand, would give a more modern and sleek design for a gadget of the Sonos One generation. Opting for physical buttons would not make a big difference to the instant feedback that touch buttons still offer.  

Complaint 6: Erratic Voice Assistant Understanding

The Sonos One has frequent problems executing voice commands due to its erratic functioning. Erratic voice assistant understanding becomes a problem when users rely heavily on the voice assistant to convey basic commands. The problem is worse when there are complex or less common phrases or when a user has an uncommon accent. Further, it is common to have the Sonos One pick up a command once and then ignore it on a different occasion.  

Complaint 7: Unfixed Bugs in the Sonos Software

google chrome update
Being ignored by your own speaker is awkward and unpleasant.

©AFANASEV IVAN/Shutterstock.com

The Sonos One smart speakers launched with plenty of software bugs. For example, a speaker can suddenly drop reception from the Sonos software, making it completely unresponsive. Once a speaker is unresponsive, you cannot control it. Users have to keep on disconnecting the speaker and reconnecting it to the software over again. Surprisingly, after restarting the Sonos software again, users found that the previously unresponsive speaker had reappeared on the list. 

A closely related bug caused the speaker to stop taking commands, whether verbal or direct inputs from the Sonos software interface. Some bad experiences include telling the speakers to “cancel” or “stop” mid-track and having nothing happen. Being ignored by your own digital assistant is annoying to users who have to unplug the speakers to get everything back to working order. 

Complaint 8: You Can Only Use One Voice Assistant at a Time

You can set up the Sonos One to use Alexa by signing into an Amazon account or use Google Assistant by configuring your speakers to the Google Home app. The Google Home app lets the speaker use both Google Assistant and Google Cast device functions. However, one big problem with the speakers is that you cannot operate both Alexa and Google Assistant concurrently. 

It is hard to blame Sonos for that mess because there is a lot of legal and commercial red tape to be overcome before both platforms can be used concurrently. At the moment, users can only switch between both assistants, but the inconvenience makes most choose one assistant once and for all.

Complaint 9: Audio Syncing problems

During its launch, many people bought the Sonos One in pairs. True, there is an enhanced audio experience when the Sonos One is used in a stereo pairing. Combining the Sonos One pair with other home entertainment speakers gives an immersive experience as they were designed to work with multiple gadgets in sync. However, users encountered problems with improper synchronization and audio playback inconsistencies. 

Often, the Sonos One pairs would experience audio delays between the speakers, especially if they were in different rooms. It can be annoying to have a right speaker playing sounds a step behind the left speaker. Wireless interference between other home gadgets near the Sonos One is the common cause of delays and disruption. Some gadgets that commonly cause this include microwaves ovens, cordless phones, and Wi-Fi security kits installed in the home.    

sonos sub vs sub mini
Sonos One (2nd gen) features increased the memory from the 1st gen.


Concluding Thoughts  

The Sonos One had a very mixed reception because it offered portable sound and smart voice assistant features in a speaker from its generation. However, its success was diminished by many small conflicts. Sonos does a lot to fix those deficiencies in future upgrades when there is good reason to do so. In our overall opinion, the Sonos One was a perfect piece of hardware that was ruined by horrible software. It would be better to buy newer versions of Sonos smart speakers such as the Sonos Era 300, Sonos Ray (Gen 2), or Sonos Beam (Gen 2).  

Our Pick
Sonos One (Gen 2)
  • Rich, room-filling sound
  • Built-in Amazon Alexa
  • Humidity-resistant
  • Pair 2 Sonos Ones together in the same room for more detailed sound
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
09/14/2023 08:57 pm GMT

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Summary Table

1No Bluetooth or Wired Connection
2Not Water Resistant
3Limited Voice Assistant Options
4Sound Distortion and Inaccurate Room Tuning
5Physical Buttons Versus Touch Buttons
6Erratic Voice Assistant Understanding
7Unfixed Bugs on the Sonos Software
8You Can Only Use One Voice Assistant at a Time
9Audio Syncing Problems

The 9 Biggest Complaints About the Sonos One FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Do Sonos Ones support Alexa groups for multi-room playing?

The Sonos One does not support Alexa groups. To enjoy multi-room playing, you need to use the Sonos App and specify your multi-room audio preferences.

What makes a Sonos One initially connect to Wi-Fi and then later disconnect?

Wi-Fi connectivity problems mostly arise when you have multiple wireless devices on the same frequency stationed too close to each other. 

What makes the Sonos One not to respond to the "Wake Up" command?

The Sonos One had wake up recognition issues in its first-ever system version. Updating the software version to a more recent release will fix some of the recognition issues.

Why is the Sonos One not powering on?

First, check if the power adaptor has been plugged into your Sonos One. If the power adaptor is properly plugged into the speaker and a power outlet and the indicator light is still off, there could be a problem with the power supply receptacle.

Can you pair the Sonos One with any other Bluetooth devices?

The Sonos one does not have Bluetooth capability. You can only use Wi-Fi connections to play media.

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