Why the Sonos One was our Smart Speaker champion of 2018

It arrived early in the year, and remained the speaker to beat

Why Sonos One was 2018's best smart speaker
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In 2018 we saw the smart speaker mature, but when it came to choosing our number one speaker of the year, it wasn't an Echo or a Google Home we crowned the best – but the Sonos One.

While the Google Home Hub was, in our opinion, the number one smart home product of 2018, in the pantheon of dedicated smart speakers alone, Sonos was top dog. Initially slow to changing trends, Sonos made a huge entrance into the smart speaker market with the One, which marries the company's typically top-notch sound with Alexa smarts.

Read this: All the Ambient Smart Home award winners revealed

In fact, the Sonos One looks so much like the company's "non-smart" Play:1 that, when it arrived, it really didn't look like a smart speaker at all. Sonos saw that people were mostly using their smart speakers for music and seized an opportunity to deliver something truly worthy of our ears.

A classy design, punchy Sonos sound, baked-in Alexa and a tempting price all came together to make the Sonos One the speaker to beat in 2018. Sonos essentially made an Amazon Echo for anyone who wanted a good music player, while the addition of AirPlay 2 later in the year made the Sonos One even more versatile.

Even if you don't want Alexa, the One still works as a superb Sonos speaker in its own right, slipping nicely in with the rest of your Sonos/AirPlay ecosystem for all that multi-room goodness.

And even better, the Sonos One is set to improve in 2019 with the long-promised addition of Google Assistant, giving the One twice the power over the smart home – and twice the appeal.

Why the Sonos One was our Smart Speaker winner of 2018

As for our Highly Commended choice, it was of course the Google Home Hub. It doesn't touch the Sonos One on sound, but the Home Hub excels in other ways, namely in giving a face to the Google Assistant.

It also proved to be more efficient in controlling the smart home, thanks to its handy dashboard controls and ability to stream video from supported smart cameras and doorbells to the display.

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