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

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...
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
Hi. IMO the Sonos ONE are the perfect choice for my  desktop computer, using iTunes to stream music to one or multiple speakers from different manufacturers.

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
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.
https://www.cnet.com/news/apple-homepod-vs-sonos-one-sound-quality-face-off/


The stereo Sonos Ones sounded more like a "real" audio system than the HomePod or Home Max, as long as we didn't try to rock out too hard. The smallest of the three, the Ones' compact dimensions inhibit deep bass, dynamics and high volume more than the HomePod and Max. Played at moderate volume, however, the Sonos Ones' clarity trumps the other two.

When it comes to comparisons between the Sonos and the Home Pod specifically, it was usually vocals that caused Apple the most trouble. The Sonos system had a natural ease with singers' voices, while the HomePod sounded less focused and lacked the clarity of its rival, as if vocalists were singing through their fingers.

So which one should you buy for sheer sound quality? At the current time, it's pretty simple: buying two Sonos One speakers will give you even better sound than a single HomePod. Stereo brings the best music listening experience overall, and the One's balanced sound benefits from Sonos' long history in making Wi-Fi speakers.

As good as it sounds for a single speaker, a month after its debut it looks like Apple is still working out the HomePod's kinks. If you want a kitchen or "pottering around" speaker, the HomePod might be more suited due to its omnidirectional nature, but even buying a single Sonos One gives you 80 percent of the sound for about half the cost.

That being said, my colleague David Carnoy liked what he heard during a demo of the stereo HomePods running beta software in the weeks before the Apple speaker's official release. We're looking forward to testing the HomePod and Sonos stereo modes head-to-head once Apple releases the final software.

But two HomePods is still going to cost considerably more than two Sonos Ones. And in the meantime, a single HomePod can't compete with two Sonoses just yet.
My son-in-law bought his HomePod to my home a month, or so, ago, to compare with my Sonos One. Personally, I think the Sonos One sounded better. The 'One' was clearer and had crisper tones in the mid to high range. It was easily louder than the HomePod at their max volume. The only area where the HomePod was slightly better was the Bass, which was more rounded/mellow, but only just.

A pair of the older Play:1’s completely knock a single HomePod into touch, don’t let anyone fool you otherwise, ... that was very easy to see and my son-in-law completely agreed with me on that point. I would never buy a HomePod in place of a pair of Play:1’s.

I will add that the HomePod was very easy to setup using an iOS device, really simple in fact. Easier than the Sonos One in many respects. Siri on the other hand still has a long way to go yet to compete with the other voice services, like Amazon Alexa and Google.

If anything, the light effect on the top of the HomePod is quite pretty too, if you like that type of thing. I’ll never understand though why Apple decided to build the power cable into the speaker and not allow for much simpler lead extensions and replacements.

My thoughts having now seen and heard the HomePod at close quarters, is that Apple really need to reduce its price. I’m honestly quite an Apple fan too and use their products a lot, like iPhone, iPad, Apple TV etc; and the HomePod is good, but it isn’t great for the money it costs.

Since the comparison a month ago, I have gone onto buy the Sonos Beam for my dining room and to me that is a much better 'all round' product compared to the HomePod and far better value for money. I have no regrets at all with my choice of purchase.
I don’t like airplay for the same reason I don’t care for Bluetooth. I get way to many calls and notifications on my phone. This causes constant interruptions in the music. I much prefer WiFi and uninterrupted music listening.
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As an all in apple user I bought a HomePod but quickly came to the realization that I can do everything HomePod can do with my Sonos setup, airplay 2, and an Apple Watch and iPhone for HomeKit, as well as an Apple TV remote( 5 of them). I have had no issues with airplay2 but, on the other hand, Alexa has given me fits with playing music, or should I say... a Song. It always stops after 1 song when trying to invoke a playlist that plays perfect on the echo.
I am sticking with the Sonos/Airplay 2 setup. I returned the HomePod for an iPad that I use in the kitchen and called it a day.

*oddly, I guess, I do not get interruptions from calls and notifications on my iPhone or Apple watch interrupting playback on Sonos when streaming airplay from any of my devices. maybe that's a blessing for me though! KOW!!!
Local Best Buy finally has the Beam demo set up. Listened, then compared the HomePod at same store. Opinion has not changed, Sonos blows HomePod away. Beam has excellent stereo image, HomePod has none. There’s really no comparison for sound quality, the Beam is far more realistic, not to mention far more flexible. Poor Apple sheep, lol. 😃
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Whoever said that the Homepod is a Play5 killer is on crack :)

Agreed! 🆒
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.
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The i-sheep will lap them up regardless if the work well or not..
Userlevel 7
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As above, who said it was a Play 5 killer?
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/
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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!
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.
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
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
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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.
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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.