Amazon Echo Plus (2nd gen) vs. Sonos Play:1 — Which should you buy?

Amazon Echo Plus 2nd Gen
Amazon Echo Plus 2nd Gen (Image credit: Android Central)

Amazon Echo Plus

Echo Plus 2nd Gen official render

The Echo Plus is a great sounding speaker at the center of your smart home, with plenty of smart features right out of the box.

Amazon Echo Plus

Alexa's got skills

Powered by Alexa
Built-in smart home hub
Multiroom audio with other Echo devices
Same sound architecture as cheaper, newer Echo
Sound doesn't match Sonos quality

Sonos Play:1

Sonos Play 1

The Sonos Play:1 is a great sounding speaker that checks all the right boxes. It's not a "smart" speaker, but it can still get the job done.

Sonos Play:1

Sonos lacks smarts

Amazing sound for its size
Can stream all the top music services
Plays nicely with other Sonos speakers
No native Alexa support
No built-in smart home controls

Unless you are already deep in the Sonos ecosystem or you're only looking to listen to audio, the Amazon Echo Plus edges out the Sonos Play:1 in a few key areas. Sonos can't be beaten when it comes to sound quality, but the native Alexa support and smart home hub capabilities give the Echo Plus the winning combo.

Audio Lowdown

There are tons of options these days when it comes to smart speakers. While you, of course, want to get the best sound you can, you'll also want to keep things simple at the same time. The Echo Plus has the advantage of having much to offer in a compact package.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Amazon Echo PlusSonos Play:1
Multiroom AudioYesYes
Native Alexa SupportYesNo
Smart Home HubYesNo

Sounding Off

Sonos Play 1 lifestyle

Source: Sonos (Image credit: Source: Sonos)

The battle for space in your connected home is an ongoing one — and won't be stopping anytime soon. Adding smart devices like lights, locks, cameras, and speakers most often require adding a hub of some sort as well. The Echo Plus is dual-duty in that it can act as a hub for many of your smart devices — freeing you from additional hardware — and also sounds great at the same time.

Unfortunately, the Play:1 doesn't have anything smart about it. It works with other Sonos speakers to play music from wherever you choose, but making it "smart" requires adding ... wait for it ... a separate Amazon Echo device.

Multi-room audio is something that both of the speakers offer, toting the ability to easily stream to other devices in their respective families. Sonos, known for their ease of use and seemingly endless networking, can easily stream pretty much any music service under the sun. The Echo Plus, however, is no slouch in this regard, offering most of the major streaming services natively as well, minus those from Google. This is where the Play:1 steals some thunder from the Echo Plus — it's first and foremost a speaker. Anything beyond that is just an afterthought.

Echo Has Smarts

Alexa support is becoming more and more of a selling feature for devices, and here it's no different. Buying an Echo product from Amazon, you get an Alexa speaker right out of the box, which means you can ask it questions, add things to your shopping list, play music, request something be played on your Fire TV — the list goes on. While the Sonos isn't completely lacking in this area, you will need to add an Echo of some sort ("regular," Flex, Studio, Plus, Dot or Show) to your smart home to take full advantage of these features on the Play:1. Even then, you can just control music on your speakers — and only if you're in earshot of your Echo device.

Where the Sonos does salvage a few points is from the dead-simple setup and great networking features. Your Sonos speakers all play well together if you're looking to spread the listening love across your entire home. While the Echo's multiroom audio works well, it's not nearly straightforward as Sonos. Sonos does what it does very well — playing music from nearly any service whenever and wherever you want it — and it's hard to see that changing anytime soon.

Let's not forget that the Echo Plus also sports Bluetooth, so unlike Sonos, you can connect your phone directly to it to stream rather than routing through the cloud.

Listen Up

If you're aiming solely to listen to music and don't need any smart features, Sonos wins almost every time. But in the connected home where you're looking to do more with less, the Echo Plus is the slight winner here as it adds Alexa support, Bluetooth, and smart home hub features that you won't find in the Sonos Play:1.

That being said, if you want to go the Sonos route (and why shouldn't you?) then you should check out the Alexa-enabled Sonos One. It's Sonos' first entry into the world of smart speakers, offering native Alexa support and many of the same features of the Echo Plus.

Adam Zeis
Editorial Director - High Yield

Adam is the Editorial Director of High-Yield content at Future. Leading an outstanding team, he oversees many articles the publisher produces about subscriptions and services including VPN, TV streaming, and broadband. In addition to identifying new e-commerce opportunities, he has produced extensive buying guides, how-to-watch content, deal news, and in-depth reviews. Adam's work can be seen on numerous Future brands including TechRadar, Tom's Guide, T3, TTR, Android Central, iMore, Windows Central, and Real Homes.