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Google Home Max vs. Sonos One: Which One Is Right For You?

The Sonos One stands out from the rest of the Sonos lineup, coming equipped with compatibility for both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. In this article, we're going to compare the One with its closest competitor in the high-end smart speaker segment, the Google Home Max.

Sonos is a name synonymous with stellar sound quality. They make some of the best-sounding speakers, headphones, and other audio devices on the market – and their pricing reflects their reputation.

So, what is the Sonos One?

The Sonos One has one mid-woofer and one tweeter, which provides excellent audio in any environment.

The Sonos One is Sonos’s contribution to the smart speaker market. It’s a chunky, vertical speaker, available in black and white. It’s relatively big for a smart speaker, so it’s the one you’re likely to have prominently displayed in your home.

Instead of having a smart assistant unique to Sonos, the Sonos One comes with both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, depending on your preference. In this article, we’re going to compare how the Sonos One stacks up against the Google Home Max.

What Is The Google Home Max?

The Google Home Max is capable of standing upright or horizontal, making it a little more versatile.

The Google Home Max is the biggest of Google’s lineup of smart speakers, and also its most costly. It comes in two colors – chalk and charcoal – and can stand horizontally or vertically.

The Google Home Max’s biggest selling point has been its audio quality. Alongside having excellent audio, it features all of the same capabilities as the rest of the Google Home lineup. So the only reason to choose this speaker over its smaller variations is the boost in sound quality.

Google Home Max vs. Sonos One

Design

SONOS ONE

The Sonos One has a pretty simple design. It weighs four pounds and stands at 6.5″ tall. The top and bottom of the device are plastic, while the wraparound grille is metal. It also has some basic touch control on the top for things like volume and track skipping.

GOOGLE HOME MAX

The Google Home Max features a simpler design with a little extra capability. Like the Sonos One, it’s a chunky rectangular speaker. However, it only has a grille on the front facing side, and it’s made from cloth rather than metal. The Google Home Max is capable of standing upright or horizontal, making it a little more versatile.

BOTTOM LINE

While both feature a box-like design, the Google Home Max is simpler and more natural-looking than the Sonos One. To me, the Sonos One has the look of Bluetooth speakers from the early 2000s, while the Google Home Max exhibits a slightly more modern feel.

Price

SONOS ONE

The Sonos One costs $199, which is definitely on the high end for smart speaker devices. At that price point, you get both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant – giving you more flexibility with smart home integration – as well as a pretty capable smart home device with excellent audio quality.

GOOGLE HOME MAX

The Google Home Max costs $299, making it the more expensive smart speaker, however recent deals have it as low as $249. The Max does come with two speakers built into it, though, and comes with full Google Assistant and smart home functionality.

BOTTOM LINE

It’s pretty easy to see that the Sonos One is the winner in terms of price, considering it’s $50 to $100 less, depending on what kind of a deal you can find online. It’s still pricey for a smart speaker, but you get that famous Sonos sound quality at a pretty fair price point.

Sound Quality

SONOS ONE

The Sonos One has one mid-woofer and one tweeter, which provides excellent audio in any environment. It has an array of microphones that allow it to customize your listening experience, and it’s capable of partnering with other Sonos One speakers to create a stereo listening experience.

GOOGLE HOME MAX

The Google Home Max features two 4.5″ woofers and two tweeters, making it quite literally twice the speaker that the Sonos One is. In terms of volume, bass, and overall quality, the Max is king.

BOTTOM LINE

This is a tricky one. When comparing a single Google Home Max against a Sonos One, the Max is easily the winner. However, because the Sonos One is capable of pairing with other Sonos speakers and tuning to your environment, a pair of Sonos Ones beats a single Google Home Max. So, we’ll call it a draw.

Smart Home Capabilities

SONOS ONE

The Sonos One comes with both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, and you can alternate between them when setting the device up. When using Google Assistant, the Sonos One’s capabilities are equal to that of the Google Home Max. 

GOOGLE HOME MAX

The Google Home Max comes with the Google Assistant, which is able to control all of your smart home devices with ease. It’s easy to set up and operate, making it very user-friendly.

BOTTOM LINE

With Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant capability, the Sonos One can be used for more smart devices than the Google Home Max, which only connects to Google Assistant enabled devices. It’s important to note that while the Sonos One is compatible with Google Assistant, the Assistant isn’t able to perform certain functions, such as making audio calls. Depending on which smart assistant you prefer in your household, this one is a toss up. 

The Final Word

All in all, the speaker you choose to go with will depend on what you’re looking for. If audio is your deciding factor, then a pair – or even a trio – of Sonos Ones can’t be beaten. If you’re looking for the best all-in-one device, though, the Google Home Max is your best bet.

Photo courtesy of Google and Sonos.

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