Sonos is upgrading its best-sounding music speaker today but the new model is so close to its predecessor that anyone with a Play:5 has no need to suggest an upgrade. The new speaker is called the Five Sonos. And while it now shares similarities with the Sonos One, the company's first device with built-in voice assistant capabilities, the Sonos Five surprisingly doesn't have an integrated microphone for use with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.

Sonos told me that with this product it's completely based on sound output and points to that as the rationale why it didn't add mics to the build. Also, the company says consumers prefer to place the Play:5 (and now Sonos Five) in places where a voice assistant is inconsistent and of minimal use. I am not really persuaded by either of those reasons, but the decision should be appreciated by private consumers.

Sonos says the Sonos Five provides an equal listening experience in terms of audio quality to that of the Play:5. Even inside, it has the same six custom drivers. The external design is unchanged with the exception of the finish; this one comes in all-black or all-white options, while the second-gen "clean" Play:5 has a two-tone look with a black speaker grill. (I loved that style, but Sonos says customers demanded an all-white version.) You can still use it in both horizontal and vertical orientations, and it retains the auxiliary input for turntables and other external music sources.

The Play:5 has always been the speaker who could never quite stand up to smart speakers like the Amazon Echo and Apple's HomePod-unless you purchased two of them anyway. But now, rivals at Sonos are becoming more serious about producing fun, room-filling music. The best example of this is $200 Echo Studio from Amazon. If you did a listening check, it may not be quite at the Play level:5, but Amazon is getting closer and closer at a slightly cheaper price.