Garmin Speak is now on sale at Amazon or Best Buy for $149.99. With the Sonos One, launching on October 24th for 0, the first great-sounding Alexa-powered speaker has finally arrived, and the early reviews are glowing.
As I navigated Spotify to play music through the Sonos One, Alexa tried to help out with the setup. However, there is an audio cue when Alexa has heard you. Now, Sonos introduces Sonos One which can offer them both.
Out of the box, the Sonos One is really just a Play:1. The Kansas based company collaborated with Amazon to include Alexa (Amazon’s virtual assistant) in the Garmin Speak, creating a Global Positioning System device that is both a navigational tool as well as a personal assistant. The touch controls let you swipe to skip a track, and tap to turn up the volume.
However, since Alexa is built into the Speak, you can do much more than get directions to work in the morning. But I’m a Spotify fan, so for my actually listening session I switched to Spotify, sacrificing the fun voice control for the time being. Then, it is not possible to send SMS messages by voice command. “Alexa, what song is playing in the kitchen?” can be the best kind of conversation starter. If you’ve completely bought into the Amazon eco-system, including music subscriptions and shopping, then having Alexa easily accessible from your vehicle while you commute to and from work will certainly be useful.
I was using the beta app, since the Sonos One is still running a beta software, but it worked just as well as the original Sonos app.
Besides power the only port available is an Ethernet one. Now Garmin is taking Alexa for a ride, incorporating the digital assistant in a teeny in-vehicle navigation device.
Finally, one of the most perplexing drawbacks of the Sonos One is that it does not yet now support voice control for Spotify – a Spotify spokesperson says that this will be “available soon, likely before the holidays”. Sonos tells me this enabled them “to maximize the components in the speaker, and also made room for our partners to innovate on great ways to mount the” speaker. If this device doesn’t check your boxes, a few alternatives are on the way: There’s Google’s upcoming, 0 Home Max (which looks like the Play:5), and Apple’s $350 HomePod, expected in December. After that, Alexa will save it and you’ll be able to start adding items to it. So how does the Sonos One sound? The good news: Sonos says it will be Amazon’s first partner to gain that privilege later this year.
One of the nice things about Sonos speakers is that you can tune them to the acoustic properties of the room you’re in. This brings us to the biggest selling point of the Sonos One: It’s still a good speaker, so if you’re not anxious about the price, then theres no harm in picking one up.
Unless you find the drawbacks I’ve described to be deal breakers, the Sonos One is a no brainer. But until now I’ve been using the Amazon Echo Dots and Echo Taps to boss her around.