Sonos One or Apple HomePod?

I’ve been using a Sonos One with Alexa and a HomePod with Siri since the HomePod came out, and there’s absolutely no question in my mind that the HomePod is a better product, even taking into account Siri’s relative weakness as a voice assistant compared to Alexa. Why? Simple: Alexa on the Sonos One is highly unreliable. Ours live in the living room, and triggers accidentally all the time (by which I mean several times a day) while listening to the TV. If it’s playing music, you have to shout to get its attention. And even when it’s silent, it often picks up the wrong request (my favourite from today: “Alexa, play BBC Radio 3”, to which it responded with “Here’s a playlist by The Prodigy, from Amazon Music”. No, I don’t get it either). And that’s leaving aside the HomePod’s clearly superior audio quality, even with streamed radio. Don’t get me wrong, Sonos One sounds a mile better than Amazon’s Echo products. But it’s a classic example of a design that’s had a voice assistant bolted on to it without proper thought (see also: Alexa-equipped light switches).

Technovia @ianbetteridge