Sonos PLAY:1 Review

Superb mini-Sonos

Sonos PLAY:1 review

It's never been easier to fill your home with music, says Sonos. There is some truth to it, as their third and so far the smallest stand-alone speakers sets a new record in how small it really can be. The Sonos PLAY:1 is a compact wireless speaker that can stream music throughout your house with sound "in hi-fi quality", according to Sonos themselves.

Sonos came to the conviction that you should never have to choose between quality sound and easy access to all the music in the home, stated John MacFarlane, CEO of Sonos. PLAY:1 makes it easier than ever for music lovers to get started with Sonos. Well, it is also completely in line with what he said about the company in conjunction with the launch of the Playbar, Sonos sound bar.

​From the beginning Sonos goal has been to reach out to the general public. The first three years they developed just the concept and when the first products came on the market almost 10 years ago, Sonos was simply a minor revolution and really quite far ahead of its time. They had a vision of what the future would mean, how people would play music. They were from the outset convinced that streaming was the future. The last three, four years, Sonos sales really took off and sales have doubled each year.

Sonos PLAY:1 control buttons

Big As a CD​

PLAY:1 is the name of the latest product and it is not even half the size of the model PLAY:3. It is only 6.4 inches high and 4.7 × 4.7 inches in width and depth. The size of a CD, that is. Given that inside it has two speakers, amplification and receiver/transmitter to the wireless network, Sonos has really succeeded with the mission of creating a compact device.

​As usual, all the hardware and software is designed in-house. A sealed design makes it withstand moisture in the home - even the steam in the bathroom, Sonos claims. Part of the Sonos concept's strength lies in that it establishes its own network, and it means it's almost silly easy to add new devices or set up the system.

You can connect to multiple PLAY:1-units or combine it with other Sonos speakers or components. You can even pair two PLAY:1 devices and get stereo sound, or use two PLAY:1 as rear speakers along with Playbar and a Sonos SUB and get 5.1 surround sound. As with all Sonos devices you can stream millions of songs and playlists from music services such as Spotify and WiMP, listen to your music library on your computer or wherever it is, and there´s also over 100,000 free radio stations, podcasts and broadcasts available via the web. Everything is controlled via an app or a separate controller. Personally I almost always use my smart phone. A practical apparatus, in other words.

Sonos PLAY1 inputs

Easy as Pie​

​And easy it is. I had dinner guests when I just got home the PLAY:1. We came to discuss the unit, then I plugged it in and had music playing in just a minute. The phone with the app my guests took care of, and even those Sonos (and smart phone) novices had full control over everything within minutes. It could simply not be simpler.

One of the guests also has a PLAY:1 in her home now …

​You can also do without always having the app running. PLAY:1 is equipped with a new feature on the cabinet top, where you can play or pause your music with a little click. You can also briefly press the same button twice to skip to the next song, a feature that Sonos users apparently wanted. Those who already have the Sonos player can also get pleasure from the new Play/Pause with the latest software update, which is available now.

Sonos PLAY1 music streaming

Impressive​

​Sound wise, it's actually a bit impressive how much Sonos manages to squeeze out of this small device. Naturally, the placement plays a certain role in how it sounds. Avoid corners or too far away from walls, and it will sound the best. It is a homogeneous representation with surprising amounts of bass and body. Be aware, however, Sonos has loudness (extra reinforcement of primarily bass) set as default, so try to turn it off and on and see what fits you and your speaker placement best. It can sometimes be a bit too 'thick' sounding with the loudness on.

​Sonos has deliberately opted to give the PLAY:1 a nice sound character, and it means you do not get massive amounts of detail but instead focus more on creating a cohesive whole. It also means that you will not get listening fatigue and it never sounds bad.

​For devices of this kind, which primarily should be simple to use and do a good job, this sort of painstaking tuning is a strong plus. The sound is fine and then some, it's good enough beyond this price range. It can also play loud enough without it sounding stressed. This will of course depend on the placement, but as it is possible to move the speaker around you want it to perform at its best.

​If you connect two PLAY:1's in stereo via its app it immediately becomes another ball game with a better overall sound and a surprisingly nice stereo image. Add a Sonos SUB, which by itself is more expensive than a couple of PLAY:1, you will have a setup that may well suit a smaller room or more unpretentious listening conditions with really good results. Better than I expected.

​You can also connect two PLAY:1 as rear speakers with the Playbar (preferably with the SUB), which I think is better than using the PLAY:3, which seems a bit overkill in comparison. It will be a more "real" setup, pure and simple. In this context PLAY:1 will do very well as rear speakers.

Conclusion​

​For this amount of money you'll get some real value. Just the handling and ease-of-use is like a manual in how it should be done. And the flexibility of the Sonos concept is brilliant, pure and simple. If you want a small music player for a cheap price, PLAY:1 is one of the best you can buy right now, it's that simple. Recommended!

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  • FEATURES
  • SPecIFICATIONS
  • Two custom-designed drivers with dedicated amplifiers
  • Trueplay tuning delivers sound that's true to the music and right for the room.
  • Control all your music and streaming services from a single app (on your smartphone, tablet or computer).
  • Uses your WiFi. Easy to set up and allows you to expand your system over time.

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Old Price: $199.99
Current Price: $199.00