Homepod vs Sonos

  • 14 February 2018
  • 48 replies
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Picked up a Homepod over the weekend. No comparison to my Sono's system...in fact it has made me fall in love with my Sonos all over again. Whoever said that the Homepod is a Play5 killer is on crack 🙂

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48 replies

Userlevel 7
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Whoever said that the Homepod is a Play5 killer is on crack :)

Agreed! 🆒
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
I thought that it was supposed to beat the Play:3? Anyways, it looks like Homepod is going to sell well, despite having fewer features that other products that are well established in the market. Essentially, they are riding on the Apple name...pretty predictable.
Userlevel 5
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The i-sheep will lap them up regardless if the work well or not..
HomePod will help out the economy of Portugal. You’ll need to buy a cork pad to set it on. :D

http://www.businessinsider.com/homepod-leaves-white-marks-on-some-wooden-surfaces-apple-admits-2018-2
Userlevel 6
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As above, who said it was a Play 5 killer?
Userlevel 7
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HomePod will help out the economy of Portugal. You’ll need to buy a cork pad to set it on. :D

http://www.businessinsider.com/homepod-leaves-white-marks-on-some-wooden-surfaces-apple-admits-2018-2


That's funny. If it really bothers you just resurface your furniture..
As above, who said it was a Play 5 killer?

An Apple fanboi mag. :D

https://9to5mac.com/2018/02/09/homepod-review-diary/
Userlevel 5
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Once article on the rings issue says it needed to be on a hard surface because of the the down-firing tweeter, so you can't put it on a cloth. Guess Apple has a great cross marketing opportunity with ThirstyStone - HomePod coasters with the Apple logo!
The HomePod is at least as good as a Play 5. Multiple reviewers have said this including the Verge which is hardly an apple site.
Once article on the rings issue says it needed to be on a hard surface because of the the down-firing tweeter, so you can't put it on a cloth. Guess Apple has a great cross marketing opportunity with ThirstyStone - HomePod coasters with the Apple logo!

The Sonos One leaves rings too.
https://www.tomsguide.com/us/sonos-one-damages-wood,news-26628.html
The i-sheep will lap them up regardless if the work well or not..

People desperate to justify their Sonos purchases are far worse.
IMO, it will always be a question of price v features. And streaming stability. Both brands will have devotees of the two sonic signatures and both sets will be right because the brain is a very flexible thing that can get adapted to any decent signature after a few days of listening to one.
Apple has removed Airplay 2 from iOS beta, with implications outlined in this article:

https://9to5mac.com/2018/02/20/airplay-2-removed-11-3-beta/

Also makes you wonder if Sonos big update in April will now include Airplay 2, or will even happen...
Userlevel 7
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The HomePod is at least as good as a Play 5. Multiple reviewers have said this including the Verge which is hardly an apple site.
Multiple reviewers have also said the opposite -- when comparing the HomePod to a Sonos ONE, let alone a PLAY:5.

Few of these reviews have involved true blind comparisons, so they're mostly suspect anyway. However, David Pogue did conduct a blind test (warning: this will conflict with your confirmation bias):
http://pogueman.tumblr.com/post/170722337727/head-to-head-does-the-apple-homepod-really-sound
More that have Sonos as the one to beat. I don’t think there’s any question that a pair of Sonos Ones beats the HomePod at the same price, for realistic stereo imaging, sound quality, versatility, and much better voice Assistant.

https://gizmodo.com/how-the-homepod-stacks-up-against-other-smart-speakers-1823045960

https://www.consumerreports.org/smart-speakers/apple-homepod-early-test-results/

https://techcrunch.com/2018/02/20/sonos-one-is-the-speaker-to-beat-for-those-that-want-great-sound-and-smarts/

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/features/apple-homepod-amazon-echo-sonos-review-compare-best-deals-uk-us-smart-speaker-a8218381.html

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/feb/15/sonos-one-review-best-smart-speaker-audiophiles-amazon-alexa
The i-sheep will lap them up regardless if the work well or not..

People desperate to justify their Sonos purchases are far worse.


I’m definitely a Apple fan boy. My last non Apple computer product was a Compaq Presario all the way back in the early 90’s. I currently have in my home several iPads, several watches, several iPhones, several MacBooks, several iMacs, a Mac mini, a air express and a time machine. This doesn’t include a few older devices that no longer work. To say I love all things Apple would be a understatement.

What I currently don’t have is a HomePod. My purchase of Sonos has really no bearing on my purchase of the HomePod except for my disappointment with the HomePod in comparing the two. I fully expected Apple to come out with a product that moved the bar. So far that hasn’t happened in my opinion.

I will wait and see. Apple has a track record of continually improving a product once introduced.

Once airplay2 and stereo support arrives I will revisit
Userlevel 5
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The i-sheep will lap them up regardless if the work well or not..

People desperate to justify their Sonos purchases are far worse.


Seriously. You think this is difficult to justify? :D:D:D

Homepod is a good sounding speaker only necessary for persons who are desperate to voice control Apple Music. For everyone else Sonos.

- It can't stereo pair - yeah yeah its coming. But it's not here. SONOS HAS THIS LONG TIME
- No multiroom - going with Airplay 2 - yeah yeah it's coming - but not here. SONOS HAS THIS LONG TIME
- Only can play other services through Airplay. Inferior to Sonos support for countless third party services over Wifi
- Alexa better and more flexible than Siri
- Sonos is part of a larger overall audio ecosystem with other good speaker options and home theatre options that works well together
- I can get two pretty good sounding speakers for the same price. Either giving me audio in two rooms or stereo separated sound in the same room - which beats a HomePod.

So for me its already game. set. match for Sonos. And this is even before google assistant and Airplay 2 support (although I have my doubts that this will materialize)

Seriously. I repeat unless you are an Apple Music subscriber who really wants to control the service by voice it is a very weak case to buy the HomePod.

And note I am saying this as the owner of an iMac (last 2015), iPod classic, iPhone 6s, iPad Air 2, Apple Watch 3 and an Apple TV. So I am an avid apple user for more than a decade. IN fact research shows that many Sonos users are Apple users. Hence for example there isn't TruePlay on Android but only Apple phones.

It's just that when something is not good enough.......it's not good enough. Love Apple but in this space........ Sonos!

Homepod is a good sounding speaker only necessary for persons who are desperate to voice control Apple Music. For everyone else Sonos.

if so, it really gets down to features and user profiles that will drive market share capture. For example, that particular "only necessary for" category is large enough for Apple to build a market from, adding features as time passes. Unfortunately for Sonos -"for everyone else, Sonos" also isn't how it has panned out so far in terms of sales/market share, nor does it look likely to; there are many competitors for that space.

It will be interesting to see if Apple can pull off what it did first with iPod and then with iPhone. And perhaps with iPad as well.

There is also some irony in the Sonos fans' view of Apple; Sonos has imitated Apple in many ways, including adopting a walled garden approach to extent it could.
Userlevel 5
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if so, it really gets down to features and user profiles that will drive market share capture. For example, that particular "only necessary for" category is large enough for Apple to build a market from, adding features as time passes. Unfortunately for Sonos -"for everyone else, Sonos" also isn't how it has panned out so far in terms of sales/market share, nor does it look likely to; there are many competitors for that space.

It will be interesting to see if Apple can pull off what it did first with iPod and then with iPhone. And perhaps with iPad as well.

There is also some irony in the Sonos fans' view of Apple; Sonos has imitated Apple in many ways, including adopting a walled garden approach to extent it could.


You are right. It may just be that Apple's following and loyalty to buy their products among "i"users is enough to capture a profitable market share. My comment on everyone else Sonos was basically a head to head comparison if consumers are faced with a choice between Apple and Sonos.

Thirdly I really can't say I have seen reliable or consistent data on how Sonos sales or market share are doing. And that all depends on how the market is defined or sliced. If it is "multi-room" audio speakers where Apple doesn't yet play - I am sure Sonos is the runaway winner. If it is the vague classification if "wireless" speakers" well I wouldn't be too sure. If its "smart" speakers clearly Amazon Alexa and Google are the movers and shakers there.

In any event I am pretty sure that with Sonos' combination of features across categories that it now participates in also has a share of the market that is profitable. People don't give Sonos enough credit for some smart and quick strategic responses to the rising competition. The Alexa enabled Sonos One - getting it out ahead of HomePod - aided also by the delay past Christmas was a very nimble response. The ability to get Alexa working with all existing speakers quite effective.

The price response to the launch of the HomePod also quite brilliant. Basically making people think why would I pay twice as much for smart speaker that is that walled up. They have done their part to ensure that as many people realize as possible that the HomePod, on objective measure, is not sensible value proposition for anyone other than Apple Music users wanting voice control - because that is the only differentiable offering at present.

Thirdly I really can't say I have seen reliable or consistent data on how Sonos sales or market share are doing. And that all depends on how the market is defined or sliced. If it is "multi-room" audio speakers where Apple doesn't yet play - I am sure Sonos is the runaway winner.

With the advent of streaming services, the need for multi-room has substantially come down: after all, if one has a family plan, every dweller with a smart phone can play the music they want in their rooms without multi room capability of the kind Sonos offers. All it takes is an Echo, or where better sound is needed, a Dot wired to a better speaker, or if that capability is there in the speaker, via bluetooth. In the past, where all music was held in one NAS, the Sonos capability of all units playing different songs from it was a requirement. Sonos may be still be a runaway winner, but it may well be so in a shrinking market that needs multi room.

I suspect that with better routers/WiFi protocols, the Sonos net USP for stable streaming also may not be as strong as before.

With the One and Alexa capability, Sonos have been able to retain a presence in probably the highest growing segment of speakers, but as you point out Amazon and Google are big movers there.

I don't think that the existential crisis that Amazon created for Sonos a couple of years ago has subsided to a significant degree. Many more smart moves are needed to get past that.
Userlevel 5
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Well let me ask this. As a Sonos user do so feel the existential crisis? From what you are saying - Sonos is becoming less "needed" based own the recent offerings of competitors and the evolution of the market.
As a Sonos user, I see no need to replace my 5 zone system because it hasn't stopped being as useful as it has been at any time in the past seven years even while the use of my NAS has significantly reduced and because I believe that voice control even at its best, at this time is still a gimmick. But this stance from the installed base does not help Sonos at all.

But if I were buying just now instead of in 2011, Sonos would no longer be the automatic choice. That however is a problem for Sonos - if many new buyers think like this.
Further to the above, I will toss out just one of the many alternatives to Sonos that are now viable with streaming services, Alexa, stable broadband, and cheap Android devices all easily available.
A Dot, wired to a pro audio studio monitor pair from someone like JBL. Voice controlled music via the Dot and where one wants to play any other service even with broadband down, music from that service stored offline in the dedicated to audio Android, streamed to the Dot via Bluetooth and thence to the active speaker pair.
All for less than USD 500, with sound quality not too far behind a 5 pair that costs double that.
That is one example of the competition that Sonos faces.
Userlevel 5
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Agreed. But that is par for the course in developing and growing markets. Sonos should not have expected to experience the level of competition it experienced in 2011 in 2018. It is an entirely different scenario now. As you allude to what really were your choices in 2011? So you are in the market and must respond to its evolution. That's just how it is. I think though that they are doing a reasonable job given the behemoths they are up against.

I like you have my doubts that voice control is the game changer it is touted to be - but that may be due to that technology still being in its relative infancy. In any event I have experimented with it through integrating two echo dots into my Sonos experience. So far my experience is just ok. Good for churning out some quick genre or mood music/playlists. But I am a deep music explorer and the app will always be my mainstay.
Userlevel 5
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Further to the above, I will toss out just one of the many alternatives to Sonos that are now viable with streaming services, Alexa, stable broadband, and cheap Android devices all easily available.
A Dot, wired to a pro audio studio monitor pair from someone like JBL. Voice controlled music via the Dot and where one wants to play any other service even with broadband down, music from that service stored offline in the dedicated to audio Android, streamed to the Dot via Bluetooth and thence to the active speaker pair.
All for less than USD 500, with sound quality not too far behind a 5 pair that costs double that.
That is one example of the competition that Sonos faces.


To be honest a person who will do this is not really the crowd that Sonos is after. I think if we were able to see the profile of the typical Sonos user you may realize this. That's the other thing - Sonos is not a mass product. It's a bit niched to more sophisticated music lovers hence there has been a strong correlation between Sonos and Apple users - HomePod debates aside.