Sonos Ace and App

May 27, 2024

Sonos has made a lot of headlines lately.

First, the good. Chris Welch, reviews the new Sonos Ace headphones for The Verge:

These look like what you’d get if you put Sony’s WH-1000XM5 and Apple’s AirPods Max into a blender. The pleather ear cushions are magnetic and easily removable, though Sonos tosses in some thoughtful touches of its own; the insides are color-coded so you can easily tell which goes on what side. There’s a fingerprint-resistant coating on the exterior of the headphones to reduce smudges — particularly helpful for the black pair. And the memory foam headband has varying levels of padding to avoid putting too much pressure on any one section of your head.

Mercifully, the Ace are far lighter than the AirPods Max. There’s not quite as much metal throughout, but they still feel very well put together. And on my ears, they felt wonderfully comfortable. […]

Some very impressive details and considerations here.

Try as I might, I couldn’t find any obvious first-generation hardware flaws in my brief time with them. Maybe they’ll reveal themselves as I review the Ace, but on first impression, it’s clear that Sonos sweated the small details. (One more example: inside the fabric carrying case is a pouch for the USB-C and headphone cables that also attaches magnetically.) The controls are done right too, with physical buttons for everything and no tap or swipe gestures to memorize.

The Sonos hardware and design appear superior to the AirPods Max in every way. Will be curious to see if Apple revises the Max later this fall and fixes many of the issues with the first generation. Not that they’re worried about Sonos, but it sure would be nice to see them keep up.

Second, the bad. The new and “improved” Sonos app seems to be a hot mess. I disabled automatic app updates on my phone to avoid this. My iPad did update automatically so I’ve been trying to fight through the new UI there. It’s not great. And as noted in another Reddit comment the app update removed all accessibility support. Yikes.