ChatGPT says to pair your Sonos Ace with the room decor


ChatGPT sort of thinks the Sonos Ace headphones are speakers. Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

Let’s stipulate something: Making fun of AI chatbots is cheap and easy. But it’s also a little fun. And, frankly, I was a little curious which color Sonos Ace headphones ChatGPT might recommend.

So I asked it.

Specifically, I hit up ChatGPT 4o. That’s the version “that provides GPT-4-level intelligence, but is much faster and improves on its capabilities across text, voice, and vision.” One model is generally as good (or bad) as the next as far as I’m concerned. I wouldn’t take any of them as gospel. So consider this an exercise for entertainment purposes as much as anything.

The first question I posed: “What color Sonos Ace should I get?

Before I get to the reply, I just want to say that I’d consider that to be a fairly natural way to ask that question, right? Presumably, ChatGPT would be able to suss out that the Sonos Ace are a thing (albeit a relatively new product, which may actually be problematic for the response), and that they come in multiple colors. And it did both of those things.

But here’s the problem. Two of them, actually. First is that ChatGPT didn’t understand that the Sonos Ace are headphones. (Again, they may actually be too new.) But then it actually made up a color that doesn’t exist as an option for the Sonos Ace.

Sonos Ace with one magnetic earcushion removed.
The Sonos Ace in “soft white.” Not quite white, but not gray, either. Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

That first part led to a pretty funny response. “The choice of color for a Sonos Ace depends on your personal preference and the style of your space.” That space, of course, is my head. And while I’ll entertain the argument that I may look better with one color headphones over another, I’d also argue that the style of my space should never matter when it comes to headphones. They’re meant to be worn, not seen. Because they’re headphones, and not speakers.

And it gets funnier. Here’s the response for Sonos Ace headphones in black: “Sleek and modern, black blends well with most interiors, especially if you have other black or dark-colored electronics and furniture.” Indeed, it does. Black goes with everything. But, again, none of that is really anything I consider when it comes to my headphones.

But what about white headphones? “Clean and minimalist,” ChatGPT continued, “white is great for a lighter, airy look and matches well with white or light-colored furniture and decor.” I’d never considered white headphones giving the room an airy look. But OK, I’ll allow it.

Then ChatGPT offered up a third option. “Neutral and versatile, gray can be a good middle ground if you want something that isn’t too stark but still stylish and modern.” Makes sense. But there’s just one problem: Sonos doesn’t make gray Ace headphones. They do not exist. To be fair, the white version is actually “soft white” and looks more gray than not. But, still. There are no purely gray Sonos Ace headphones.

Sonos Ace logo earcup close-up.
The Sonos Ace headphones in black. Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

We’re not done yet. ChatGPT then mused on “special editions or custom colors.” Fair enough. “Occasionally, Sonos releases special editions or custom colors. These can add a unique touch to your setup if you’re looking for something different.” That’s true. They can add a unique touch to your setup, insofar as my head is a setup. But then there’s the problem in that Sonos doesn’t (at least to the best of my recollection) do that, either. The Sonos Roam, new Roam 2, and the Pro-Ject turnables the company sells are the only products that stray outside the black and white binary.

Again, this was really all done just out of sheer curiosity. I’m not looking to make ChatGPT feel bad or anything. But the idea that it didn’t recognize on its own that the Sonos Ace are headphones sort of gave the impression that it doesn’t actually know what they are and was just giving me responses it thought would be somewhere in the ballpark, which really just made them generically bad. Like a hastily written paper in sixth grade.

I ran my query once more, because I’m a glutton for punishment. This time I added in an extra word, for context: “What color Sonos Ace headphones should I get?”

The responses were better in that they didn’t assume the Sonos Ace refers to a speaker that lives in a room. ChatGPT also returned its answers in pairs of pros and cons. For the black example:

  • Pros: Classic, versatile, and less likely to show dirt or wear. Matches well with most outfits and styles.
  • Cons: May feel too plain if you prefer a more vibrant look.

Again, generic. But not wrong. The answer for the white Sonos Ace was basically the same. More prone to showing off stains, though. So try not to stain your headphones.

But, again, it also dreamed up a gray edition of the Sonos Ace, which simply does not exist. Same for special edition or custom colors.

The point of all this? I just wanted to see how a newfangled AI model answered a question I’d already answered myself.

Phil 1. ChatGPT 0.

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