Sonos has announced a new version of its Sonos One speaker at IFA 2019 in Berlin, the Sonos One SL, which effectively strips out the microphones from its previous iteration for anyone who doesn't want voice control.
While this might seem to reduce the speaker's "smartness", all of its other connectivity options remain, including AirPlay 2 and Spotify Connect. This is literally a way for Sonos to offer something for people who don't like the idea of putting more microphones in their home.
The One SL keeps every aspect of the One's looks, with its all-over grille and squat shape. Keeping all the internals and sound options of the Sonos One is a no-brainer.
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You'll still get capacitative buttons on the top of the speaker, to control volume, track skipping, play and pause, in case you don't want to use your phone and the Sonos app. Like the Sonos One, the SL will be available in black or white.
This is an interesting time for Sonos - it's also just announced the Move, its first battery-powered portable speaker, which we've gone hands-on with already. The speaker maker says it sees the Sonos One SL as replacing the Play:1 as the core speaker in its ecosystem, now, and it can add to existing setups nicely. If you already have a Sonos One, for example, you might not need another microphone-enabled speaker, in which case the One SL will be a logical choice. You'll also be able to pair them in a room, for stereo separation.
The Sonos One SL is priced at $179, and is available for pre-order now, ahead of its launch on 12 September. At $20 cheaper than the Sonos One, there's a little saving to be made if you don't need those microphones.
Sonos Port: hook up your dumb music players
As part of its quest to become the default choice for smart home speaker systems, Sonos is also adding the Sonos Port, a successor to the Connect. The Port lets you expand your Sonos system to include dumb music systems, from record players to older amps or speakers.
For a fairly chunky $399, the Port can automatically engage your whole system with an updated digital-to-analog converter. There are analog and digital outputs, along with a line-in for connecting things like turntables. Best of all is the 12V trigger, which can now automatically turning on an amplifier when the Sonos Port tells it too, something you previously had to do yourself.
This time around, you can also control it with AirPlay 2, which is a very welcome upgrade. Neither Google Assistant or Alexa are baked into this, but if you have a paired smart speaker you can use it to control the Port.
It's available to pre-order now in the US, ahead of its own launch on 12 September.