The ONE Smart digital piano has definitely caught the attention of the piano community. With a unique, integrated app, this interactive piano almost eliminates the need for an instructor, allowing beginners to use the features to become proficient players over time.
This piano was made for beginners, but it offers a variety of features that professionals might want to take advantage of. Even if you’ve been playing the piano for years, the integrated app can help you stay organized and improve your practice sessions in a way you never thought possible.
For those that are caught up in the hype of the ONE, this review not only considers the technological advancements, but also takes into account how that might improve (or hinder) the playing and learning experience. I am a big supporter of technology, and it’s great to see that this piano has features that are quite innovative. With that said, I want to make sure that beginners can play on any piano and show off what they’ve truly learned without the crutch of interactive lights and helpful apps.
Piano Buying Guide
Below, compare the ONE Smart Piano to other popular pianos from a couple of well-known manufacturers. You can compare these pianos against one another based on price, number of keys, and weight.
$ = $500 or less | $$ = $500 – $1,000 | $$$ = $1,000 and up
|ONE Smart Piano||88||$$$||Learn to Play via a Free iOS or Android app||★★★★|
|ONE Light Keyboard||61||$||128+ Instrument Sounds||★★★|
|Williams Rhapsody 2||88||$||Elegant PVC Wood-Like Finish||★★★★|
|Yamaha CLP 645||88||$$$||Yamaha’s NWX (Natural Wood X)|
|Yamaha YDP-143||88||$$$||GHS Weighted Action||★★★★|
|Yamaha YDP-163||88||$$$||GH3 Weighted Action||★★★★|
|Yamaha YDP-181||88||$$$||128 Note Polyphony||★★★★|
|Yamaha YDP-181||88||$$$||128 Note Polyphony||★★★★|
|Yamaha YDP-V240||88||$$$||6-Track Recorder w/Hands-Separate Practicing||★★★★|
Now, let’s get to some of the ONE’s key features.
Basic Features of the ONE Smart
- 88-key graded hammer action
- Digital upright home piano
- 3 foot pedals
- 64 note polyphony
- 128+ GM tones and percussion
- Audio jack with free gold adaptor
- Bidirectional USB MIDI port
- Built-in mp3 speakers
- Free iOS and Android app
Below, take a look at some of the best selling upright digital pianos on Amazon, and then see how well they compare to the ONE Smart Piano:
It would not make sense for this piano to falter on the absolute, most basic features while it offers so many advanced technology features. Thankfully, the ONE features 88 weighted keys and 3 foot pedals—like practically all of its competitors. It’s a digital upright piano, so it’s not meant to be portable, but it can be featured in a decorated setting that will blend seamlessly with interior design.
With a sleek look, you may be wondering about controls and overall functionality. Well, the ONE features a built-in metronome, and volume control is also available on the piano hardware, but can be customized through the app.
One of the most important things to consider when looking for a digital piano is of course the sound quality. I don’t believe that digital pianos can completely replicate the sound of acoustic pianos—no matter what anyone says—because if that were the case, acoustic pianos would’ve gone extinct long ago. But digital pianos can indeed sound and play VERY well, which is why they’re so popular.
With that being said, while the 64 note polyphony in the ONE is lower in comparison to other pianos with 128 or more, the intended audience of beginners shouldn’t really require more than this. Afterall, if you’re a beginner, you’re probably not going to be playing too many complex or overly intricate pieces.
A lot of the new digital piano models, regardless of company, are starting to integrate an app in some sort of way. The ONE’s capabilities rely most heavily on the app in comparison to its competitors, such as the P-115.
The P-115 also has app functionality with controllers and modes to be made through technology. However, what’s great is that the ONE has an iOS and Android app, unlike other companies and models that are only accommodating Apple products at this time. It seems, however, that some in the Android community are a bit unhappy with how their devices are talking to the Android app. Technology can always be a bit troublesome when things are new, and while you always hate seeing any semblance of customer dissatisfaction, hopefully the people behind the ONE Smart Piano will listen to the criticism and make improvements.
While this piano has a lot of great things to offer the beginner, the real star of this piano is the app and its endless possibilities. And while it’s certainly arguable that other pianos in this price range produce better sound, those that would be drawn to the ONE are those that are interested in blending their ability to learn piano with the latest and greatest that technology has to offer.
Light It Up
The LED light function reminds me of something you might see on a kid’s piano. However, instead of lighting up the entire key and expecting the player to hit them accordingly, the ONE is a little more discreet—but also more advanced.
The lights appear at the top of the keys and different colors denote different hands. Red lights represent the right hand, while blue lights represent the left. For anyone that thinks learning piano is hard, virtually anyone can learn to play on this keyboard if you pay attention and follow the lights.
In the same way, the ONE app features real-time sheet music. All you have to do is pick the piece you want to play and the app will light up the next note on one hand or both. Should you play the wrong note, the sheet music won’t advance until you do.
A common feature of digital pianos is to have a few songs downloaded into the piano. With the ONE, there are no limitations. Currently, there are 2,000 downloaded songs into the app for pianists to choose from.
If you do buy this piano, you can look forward to additional songs every time the app is updated. According to the ONE company, app updates will come with more sheet music, videos, and instruments to play with.
BEATING THE LEARNING CURVE
The Smart piano can play from sheet music, mp3 files, and can even be used as a speaker for any home entertainment system. There’s no need to carry around books of sheet music or scour the internet for quality copies, as the app keeps everything in one place for download and purchase. This piano makes learning easy, as it offers three ways to learn: video lessons, sheet music, and games.
Right now, there are over 100 video lessons that users can take advantage of, courtesy of Hoffman Academy. Videos range from an overview of the piano to learning special techniques and songs.
Joseph Hoffman teaches these lessons himself and even offers specific song tutorials as he takes on the role of your virtual instructor. These videos can be liked or saved for later, organized by skill level, and can also be shared on Facebook.
Before integrated digital pianos and the like, I learned piano with a strict instructor with printed sheet music on a baby grand piano. As a child, it was hard for me to really get into playing the piano because I couldn’t really appreciate all the classical pieces I would come to learn. The Smart app offers song tutorials from popular music today that make it easy to perform your favorite songs. You can choose your lesson based on: intro, verse, pre chorus, chorus, or the whole song.
As stated before, the Smart piano offers interactive sheet music with LED-guided practices. You can choose from classical, jazz, and traditional pieces, as well as purchase songs outside this genre. There is an “exercises” option that throws different challenges at the user, which teaches firm posture and fingering for efficient playing. This option can also be organized by skill level.
Games are one of the things that I have yet to see from any other digital piano. I love that it doesn’t make practicing tedious; you can have fun and learn all at once. There are a variety of songs on the ONE to choose from and more to come. Users can play solo games or as a duet. The app will show a full keyboard and light up the keys on the piano awarding points for every correct key, all while you learn the song.
MORE APP FUN
Users can connect the following devices to the ONE Smart piano:
- iPad 2, 4, mini, mini2, Air
- New Pad
- IPhone 3GS, 4, 4s, 5, 5c, 5s, 6, 6 plus
- Android 4.0+
Basically, as long as you can download the app to your device, the Smart piano supports it. The piano has USB ports that can be used to connect your device. For the Android, it will utilize the USB host, while the computer will use the digital piano MIDI port. The piano can also accommodate headphones with the audio jack on the side. There’s a place for your device to sit on the music stand, as if sheet music were there. The stand is sleek and sturdy, and it will hold your device in an upright position that makes it easy to use on the stand without having to remove it.
The user interface for the Smart app is simple to follow and it also saves your place—should you exit either by accident on intentionally. The app holds all your purchased, liked, and practiced songs too, along with a browsing history and place for your recordings. There’s also advanced Bluetooth and sound settings that can be changed through the piano.
One thing that I was worried about with the ONE was how it would affect learning. I didn’t want the lights and interactive sheet music to become a crutch. After all, you want to improve—not just remain a beginner.
Well, apparently the app has you covered, as it offers ear training and score reading to sharpen music listening skills and improve music reading to boot The ear training has “free mode” and “challenge” mode, and the score can be broken down to treble, bass, or both.
HOW DOES THE ONE STACK UP?
Currently, the ONE Smart piano is selling for $1,500. It’s not the most expensive digital piano, however if you’re thinking of purchasing it, you need to consider how much the ONE app means to you. To be fair, what makes this piano so unique is the variety of features offered by the app. Without the app, none of the teaching functions work, such as LED light guiding.
While people who buy this digital piano will not need an instructor, the price will make up for that. So you have to ask yourself: Should I get a cheaper digital piano and then hire a piano instructor, or should I just get this all-in-one piano?
Now, there are plenty of digital pianos within the $1,000-1,700 price range (Yamaha, Casio, etc.) that can compete with the ONE in terms of sound quality and other basic features. The Yamaha P-115 or the Casio PX-160 are competitive with the ONE in price and features. They, too, sound really great for the money, have higher polyphony, and offer some sort of app integration. However, they don’t rely as heavily on the app the way the ONE Smart piano does.
So, overall, the experiences are a little different.
This digital piano is best for users that are going to take advantage of all that ONE has to offer. This is a digital piano for beginners—or those that want to improve upon their skills.
4 OUT OF 5 STARS
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