Don't buy the Sonos One unless it gets to around £100 cheaper than the Era 100 – here's why

Don't buy the Sonos One unless it gets within £100 of the Era 100 - here's why
(Image credit: Future)

When a new version of a good existing product comes along, a bargain hunter’s natural instinct would be to rub their hands together and think about the inevitable discount coming on the product being succeeded. That tends to be what happens in the transient world of consumer electronics, after all. A new one arrives, an older one gets sold off for cheap.

That isn’t always the case when it comes to products from the likes of Sonos and Apple, whose products rarely see discounts whether they are newbies or veterans, but when the Sonos Era 100 wireless speaker launched in March, we expected to see the ever-popular Sonos One it is replacing discounted in the final stages of its life. 

It did fall in price in March, from its typical £199 RRP to £159 courtesy of a respectable £40 discount at John Lewis and Currys. That discounted price was only slightly more than its lowest-ever price of £149, which – you won’t be surprised to read – it hit during Black Friday last year. The £159 deal didn’t last very long, though, and at the time of writing the best prices we can see at established retailers are between £179 and £199.

Sonos One vs Era 100: which is better value?

That’s still £50-£80 less than the new Era 100, which is unsurprisingly holding steady at its launch price of £250. Will Amazon Prime Day next month throw up its first discount? Honestly, it’s unlikely due to its newness. Perhaps, if we’re lucky, it’ll be £10 or £20 off at best. But we would confidently bet on the soon-to-be-discontinued Sonos One being on the end of a best-ever discount in the Prime Day sale – and that’s when we believe it will be worth buying over the Era 100.

You can read our comprehensive Sonos Era 100 vs Sonos One comparison here, but essentially the new model plays in stereo (the Sonos One is mono); cranks up the One’s crisp, detailed, spacious sound and deep bass “a dozen” notches; expands past the One’s wi-fi connectivity with the addition of Bluetooth and USB-C inputs; and is, to top it all off, more powerful. There's never been a more clear-cut answer to which generation of wireless speaker is better.

In our minds, the Era 100 is not only worth its heftier price tag – that’s why it received a five-star review from us – but also its current premium of £50-80 over the One. That said, if none of the improvements it brings to the table is a deal-breaker, the One could still be considered the pick of the pair if the price gap was closer to £100.

Obviously, if you’re on a tight budget, your choice may be limited to one model anyway. But if both are within reach and you’re umming and ahhing over which to choose, that’s the price discrepancy we would seek in the Prime Day sales to lean towards the older One.

Any better Sonos One/Era 100 alternatives?

If you're eyeing up a Sonos One, or indeed an Era 100, it probably means you're after a compact wireless speaker with wi-fi streaming skills. Maybe you're already ensconced into the Sonos ecosystem, in which case it doesn't make sense to look beyond these models (unless you would prefer the voice-control-less One SL or have the budget and desire for the spatial audio-supporting Era 300). 

But if your loyalties aren't locked to Sonos, you won't be surprised to read that the US company isn't the only manufacturer of such hot little wi-fi speakers. You have the HomePod Mini (smaller and cheaper than the Sonos speakers, albeit not as sonically capable) and HomePod 2 (somewhere between the Era 100 and Era 300 in price and performance) – hard to ignore if you're on Apple device user.

You also have the award-winning Audio Pro Addon C3 as a One alternative with Bluetooth, or the award-winning Audio Pro Addon C10 MkII as an Era 100 alternative. Both are big on sound and give Sonos and Apple rivals a run for their money.

Really, though, Sonos is at the top of the game in this category. Little else comes close to the all-round, universal appeal of its design, features, user experience and sound quality, and the family of successful products around the One and Era 100 make them even more desirable. Now to wait and see which is better value come Prime Day...


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Becky Roberts

Becky is the managing editor of What Hi-Fi? and, since her recent move to Melbourne, also the editor of Australian Hi-Fi magazine. During her 10 years in the hi-fi industry, she has been fortunate enough to travel the world to report on the biggest and most exciting brands in hi-fi and consumer tech (and has had the jetlag and hangovers to remember them by). In her spare time, Becky can often be found running, watching Liverpool FC and horror movies, and hunting for gluten-free cake.