Sonos Era 100 vs Sonos One: which Sonos smart speaker should you buy?

Sonos Era 100 in white
(Image credit: Sonos)

Sonos has a new range of speakers, called Era. The Era 300 sits below the Sonos Five as a spatial audio-focussed speaker, but the cheaper Era 100 replaces the Sonos One at the other end of Sonos' product range.

So what's the difference between the Era 100 and the One? How much do both speakers cost? And should you opt for the new model over the five-star original? While we haven't fully reviewed the Era 100 yet, we can make some educated guesses based on its design, specs and price. 

Below, we'll help you answer all these questions and more.

Sonos Era 100 vs Sonos One: price

Sonos One

(Image credit: Sonos)

The Sonos One launched back in 2017, and the Gen 2 model you can currently buy dates from 2019. In some regions, the launch price of £199 / $199 has come down a little in the intervening years, but not by much – you can currently pick one up for £180 / $220 / AU$320.

The Sonos Era 100 is a fair bit pricier, at £249 / $249/ AU$399. 

With the Era 100 replacing the Sonos One, the One is likely to be discounted to get rid of the remaining stock, so keep a look out for a bargain.

Sonos Era 100 vs Sonos One: design

Sonos Era 100 vs Sonos One: design

(Image credit: Sonos / The Verge)

After the unique design of the Sonos Era 300, the Era 100 looks a little unexciting. Not that there's anything wrong with a cylindrical design, but we've seen it before, from the Amazon Echo 3rd Gen to the Apple HomePod 2. Like the Era 300, the 100 also has a new control panel on the top, complete with an enhanced volume slider that's recessed like a trough.

It doesn't look radically different from the Sonos One it replaces, just a bit more rounded and one inch taller. But most of the improvements are on the inside.

The Sonos One looks very similar to the late Play:1 that it replaced, though its touch-sensitive top panel was the main departure. The wraparound grille helps it blend into its surroundings, though again, it looks a little dated – hardly surprising, given that the design is now six years old.

Sonos Era 100 vs Sonos One: features

Sonos Era 100 in white

(Image credit: Sonos)

While the Sonos Era 300 is focused on spatial audio, the Era 100 is a different proposition entirely. There's no spatial audio onboard – Sonos claims the speaker's smaller dimensions wouldn't do it justice – but it can play in stereo, as opposed to the Sonos One's mono. Which should make for a more engrossing sound.

Just like the Era 300 it offers both Bluetooth and a USB-C line-in – the Era speakers are Sonos' first to offer both features. The firm has dabbled with these connections before – Bluetooth is found in its portable Roam and Move speakers; line-in comes on the flagship Sonos Five – but it's never offered both in one device before. (Note: you'll need a specific adapter and cable for wired connections, both sold separately). That makes the Era range more versatile than the firm's other speakers, not to mention the vast majority of those from Apple, Amazon et al.

The Era 100 is more powerful than the Sonos One, and can pair with Sonos's Arc, Ray and Beam Gen 1 and Gen 2 soundbars to work as part of a home cinema set-up. And you can pair two Era 100 speakers to work as a stereo pair.

Like the Era 300, it supports files up to 24-bit/48kHz from Qobuz and Amazon Music, you can control it with your voice, and it works with the Sonos S2 app. It can calibrate its sonic output to your surroundings too using TruePlay for iOS and, for the first time, Android. Impressive.

Basically, the Era 100 does everything the Sonos One does, with the addition of Bluetooth, line-in and stereo pairing. 

Sonos Era 100 vs Sonos One: sound

Sonos Era 100 vs Sonos One: sound

(Image credit: Sonos)

A disclaimer: we haven't tested the Sonos Era 100 yet, so can't confirm or deny Sonos' claims about its sound quality. But we do know this: it's a more powerful, more capable version of the Sonos One. We would be amazed if it doesn't improve on its predecessor's sound quality.

According to Ryan Moore, product manager at Sonos, the Era 100 is "from an acoustic standpoint, a complete refresh. There's not a single part of Sonos One in the Era 100."

The Era 100 packs two tweeters with custom waveguides to deliver wider dispersion and stereo sound from a single speaker. Despite having the same small footprint as the Sonos One, the Era 100 has a subwoofer that's 25 per cent bigger, which should mean more – and better quality – bass.

If it is a sonic improvement on the Sonos One, we should be in for a treat. In our review, we noted that the One's delivery is weighty, full-bodied and loud – all the more impressive given the speaker's diminutive dimensions. The soundstage is spacious and impressively organised, with vocals given plenty of breathing room, making them instantly more engaging.

Instruments emerge in a way that is sophisticated and natural, with a crisp, clear treble (though the odd harsh edge does creep in). 

We're giving Sonos the benefit of the doubt here, but we'd be surprised if the Era 100 didn't deliver on the expected sonic gains over the One here.

Sonos Era 100 vs Sonos One: early verdict

The Sonos One is one of the finest little smart speakers you can buy. But with the Gen 2 model four years old now, a refresh is due. The Era 100 looks like exactly the update it needs – more power, more versatility, but with the same winning footprint and user-friendliness.

The One will stay on sale until stock runs out, so there will be some overlap with the Era 100. If you can live without the extra power, stereo sound from a single speaker, Bluetooth and a line-in connection, keep a look out – you could pick up the One for a bargain. 

We'll update this article once we've reviewed the Era 100 with a definitive verdict.


Read the Sonos Era 300 hands-on review for our first impressions

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Joe Svetlik

Joe has been writing about tech for 17 years, first on staff at T3 magazine, then in a freelance capacity for Stuff, The Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Men's Health, GQ, The Mirror, Trusted Reviews, TechRadar and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include all things mobile, headphones and speakers that he can't justifying spending money on.