Amazon Echo speakers now have the best Sonos feature: multi-room audio

If you thought the McGregor-v-Mayweather was going to be the best fight you’d see in 2017, you might be sorely disappointed: Sonos and Amazon are preparing for an all-out brawl in the connected speaker space. 

The latest barrage of blows happened this morning when Amazon added multi-room audio support to the Alexa app, allowing you to group Amazon Echo devices together – a move that effectively copies Sonos’ greatest strength. 

Grouping Amazon Echo devices will not only give you the ability to hear the same song in a different room but also also control the playback of the song from any Echo device in the house, creating a seamless whole-home audio solution not unlike the one Sonos already offers.

The new feature comes just one day after the news leaked that Sonos is planning a voice-controlled speaker of its own, similar to the Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple HomePod that, that according to new sources, will be unveiled during an October 4 event.

A Game of Tones

OK, while I'd like to tell you that you're about to witness a re-creation The Battle of the Bastards by two of the most powerful tech companies in the world, it'll probably be a bit closer to that game of espionage Littlefinger and Arya play in the middle of Season 7: a lot of subversive plays to try and draw out what the other one is doing. 

To that end, both solutions have something the other one lacks. Sonos quite obviously desires the voice control functionality that Amazon Echo has, while Amazon wants the multi-room playback functionality that Sonos had. 

At first glance, it might appear that the battle is done and over. But there's a caveat: The multi-room music feature is only available in three countries at the moment: the US, the UK and Germany. 

There's also the minor limitation that synchronized music playback on Amazon Echo currently works for songs playing from Amazon Music, TuneIn, iHeartRadio and Pandora, with support for Spotify and SiriusXM coming soon. 

Sonos, for the record, can control playback for any of those streaming services and works in over 60 countries – but, for now, still lacks voice control.  

Which one will win a seat on the Iron Mantle of our homes? Only time will tell.

Nick Pino

Nick Pino is Managing Editor, TV and AV for TechRadar's sister site, Tom's Guide. Previously, he was the Senior Editor of Home Entertainment at TechRadar, covering TVs, headphones, speakers, video games, VR and streaming devices. He's also written for GamesRadar+, Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer and other outlets over the last decade, and he has a degree in computer science he's not using if anyone wants it.