Sonos Voice Control: What You Need to Know About Sonos's New Voice Assistant

It will respond to "Hey Sonos" voice commands, and come to every voice-capable Sonos speaker — including the One, Move, Roam, Arc and Beam (2nd Gen) — on June 1.

sonos voice assistant on table
Tucker Bowe

Pictured: In addition to Sonos Voice Control, Sonos has released the Roam in three new colors: olive, wave (light blue) and sunset (orange). They are priced at $179 each.

Sonos has officially announced its first smart assistant, called Sonos Voice Control. The new tech will respond to "Hey Sonos" voice commands, and it will roll out to every voice-capable Sonos speaker — including the One, Move, Roam, Arc and Beam (2nd Gen) — as a free software update on June 1.

With Voice Control, Sonos is prioritizing privacy. Every "Hey Sonos" voice command will be processed entirely on the smart speaker. Nothing will be sent to the cloud and or stored anywhere, which differentiates it from pretty much every other smart assistant — Alexa, Siri, etc. — out there.

This means that Sonos Voice Control is designed to almost exclusively handle music requests. You can request a song, an artist, a playlist or a podcast and Sonos Voice Control will grab it from your default streaming service. It will not be able to answer queries about sports, the weather or other trivia-related things like Amazon's Alexa or Google Assistant.

sonos voice assistant on table
Sonos has released the Roam, its smart ultra-portable speakers, in three new colors: olive, wave (light blue) and sunset (orange). They are priced at $179, which is exactly the same as the existing white or black models.
Tucker Bowe

Sonos Voice Control will, however, be able to live alongside Alexa or Google Assistant in the same speaker, so you don't have to decide on one voice assistant that you want to have. For example, you'll be able to give your Sonos One voice commands voice "Hey Sonos" and "Alexa" (or "Hey Google") and it will respond to either.

The other thing that separates Sonos Voice Control from every other smart assistant is that it works really well at controlling Sonos speakers. You can use "Hey Sonos" commands to play music on individual Sonos speakers or groups of Sonos speakers that you have around your house; you can group and un-group Sonos speakers; you can also use it to initiate Night mode on a soundbar, which reduces bass and improves the clarity of dialogue.

Also, Sonos Voice Control works on the company's portable speakers, Move or Roam, whether they're connected to Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. You're able to use Sonos Voice Control to ask how much battery life these portable speakers have, too.

Oh, and if you're wondering what Sonos Voice Control will sound like, Sonos chose the award-winning actor Giancarlo Esposito — you probably know him from Breaking Bad and The Mandalorian — to be the official voice of Sonos Voice Control.

The only real downside of Sonos Voice Control is that it won't work with Spotify at launch. When it rolls out on June 1, Sonos Voice Control will be compatible with Sonos Radio, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Deezer and Pandora. If Spotify is set as your default speaker service, "Hey Sonos" voice commands will play music from the secondary service via the Sonos app. Sonos claims that its voice assistant will work with more services in the future, but there's news on when (or if) Spotify will be supported right now.

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