What is Sonos Voice? New voice assistant for Sonos explained

Sonos Voice is a smart assistant, but not a Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa competitor – it's strictly for Sonos products only

Sonos One in black and white, on black background
(Image credit: Sonos One)

"Hey, Sonos". That's right, Sonos Voice, a new voice assistant from the audio brand, is here – but it might not be precisely what you first imagine. 

How so? The idea behind Sonos Voice is that it's used purely for the Sonos ecosystem. It is not a wider assistant that can be used to control your smart home, so it's not a replacement for Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.

Why use Sonos Voice?

Sonos Voice is run local to the player, not in the cloud, so it's all about privacy, Paul Peace, Sonos' Distinguished Audio Systems Engineer, tells T3 via video call. 

That's a clearly valid point: not everyone wants an always-listening Google or Amazon experience, especially when such systems record a list of dialogue interactions and can control so much more. 

Sonos Voice, on the other hand, is all about keeping things, well, Sonos – and nothing more than that.

Sonos Voice: What can it do?

Sonos Voice can "do anything a Sonos controller can do", Peace tells us, except you'll be able to command by voice, of course.

Change the volume, pause playback, skip a track, find an album, etcetera – all the usual things that you'd ask of Sonos is available via voice command. 

Sonos Voice can't interact with wider smart home products, so there's no changing your smart thermostat temperature, getting a read on the weather, an announcement of the day's top news stories, or anything of that nature.

Which Sonos products use Sonos Voice?

Sonos Voice will be an over-the-air (OTA) update to all compatible Sonos products. That being any Sonos product with a microphone – an important point, because the system is run local to the player, not in the cloud. 

That said, Peace tells us it is possible to control one non-mic Sonos product via another mic-equipped product, such as a Sonos One

Here is a list of Sonos Voice compatible Sonos products: 

  • Sonos Roam
  • Sonos One
  • Sonos Move
  • Sonos Beam / (2nd Gen)
  • Sonos Arc

And a list of Sonos' non-Voice compatible products:

  • Sonos Roam SL
  • Sonos One SL
  • Sonos Five
  • Sonos Sub (Gen 1, 2, 3)
  • Sonos Amp / Port / Boost 
  • any Sonance install products

When can I get Sonos Voice?

Sonos didn't detail the exact date that Sonos Voice is expected to arrive for which of its products. But it'll no doubt be rolling out soon to enhance your Sonos experience at home. 

Mike Lowe
Tech Editor

Mike is the Tech Editor at T3.com. He's been writing about consumer technology for 15 years and, as a phones expert, has seen hundreds of handsets over the years – swathes of Android devices, a smattering of iPhones, and a batch of Windows Phone too (remember those?). But that's not all, as a tech and audio aficionado his beat at T3 also covers tablets, laptops, gaming, home cinema, TVs, speakers and more – there's barely a tech stone unturned he's not had a hand on. Previously the Reviews Editor at Pocket-lint for 10 years, he's also provided work for publications such as Wired, The Guardian, Metro, and more. In addition to his tech knowledge, Mike is also a flights and travel expert, having travelled the globe extensively. You'll likely find him setting up a new mobile phone, critiquing the next MacBook, all while planning his next getaway... or cycling somewhere.