Sonos Play:1 Review

posted in: Reviews, Sonos | 0

sonosThe Good: The Sonos Play:1 works with virtually every streaming service available.  At 6.36″ H x 4.69″ W x 4.69″ D the Sonos Play:1 is is small enough to hide in almost any room, but given its simple beauty, you may choose to display it.  The Play:1 can be set up in stereo pairs, or multiple Sonos devices can play synced or independent music throughout the house.  The Play:1 is humidity resistant (although not waterproof or water resistant) so it can be safely kept in high humidity areas like a bathroom or indoor pool.  Despite its small size, the Play:1 is a clear and powerful speaker.  Apps are available for phones, tablets and computers.  Simple setup, easily pairs with other Sonos devices.  One app for all streaming services.

The Bad: Sonos recently lost the ability to stream Audible (presumably due to competition with Echo).  The Play:1 requires power and cannot run on battery.  The power cable may limit placement options.  Sonos speakers rarely go on sale, except usually right before the holiday’s, so the price is generally the price.

Overall: The Sonos Play:1 is a phenomenal entry point into the wireless streaming market.  At $199 it is priced competitively, even though the competition is still trying to catch up.  Despite being top dog in the field, Sonos is still pushing ahead by adding features regularly.  Sonos is universally praised for their features and sound quality and it is well deserved.

 


For months my wife had been complaining that she needed a way to stream music in our master bathroom while she was getting ready in the morning.  She had already bought, and subsequently returned, a myriad of cheap bluetooth speakers that sounded awful and had a hard time filling the 10x12x14 bathroom with sound.  So I decided to put the issue to bed with a Sonos Play:1.  As soon as we powered the speaker up and started playing music, we realized it wasn’t just going to suit the purpose, it was massive overkill!  We now have it split time between our kitchen counter and our pool bar, which is a testament to its small size, big sound and portability.

I had wanted to buy a Sonos Play:3 for many years, but had a hard time justifying buying a single speaker that cost as much as my Denon AVR-1913.  When Sonos released the Play:1 I was instantly drawn to it.  The idea that I could have multiple speakers throughout my home, and at my pool bar, all playing the same thing…all controlled through one app, without having to pay an electrician to run wires all over my house was captivating.

Despite having the aforementioned Denon AVR-1913 set up as our entertainment center, and as a dual room, seven speaker, two subwoofer monstrosity for parties, the Sonos Play:1 quickly became our go-to option for playing music around the house.

Play:1 Features

Sonos Physical Features:

  • Two Class-D digital amplifiers (apparently this is where the magic happens, I have no idea what this means)
  • One tweeter
  • One mid-woofer
  • 6.36″ H x 4.69″ W x 4.69″ D
  • 4.8 lbs
  • Built in wifi
  • Top panel buttons for play/pause, volume up/down and skip (double tap play/pause)
  • Screw in mount for speaker stands/brackets

Functionality:

  • Stereo Pairing: Through the app, two Play:1’s can be paired to form left and right channel speakers.
  • 5.1 Home Theater: Adding two Play:1’s to a Playbar and Sub forms a true surround sound experience.
  • Adjustable bass and trebel controls
  • Trueplay tuning: Using the app, you can use Trueplay to measure the acoustics of any room to fine tune your Play:1 so it sounds great no matter where it’s placed
  • Insteon integration: Since January 2015, Sonos can be controlled by Insteon devices or through the Insteon app.  It can also be added to scenes and preset to play certain music with a scene.

Streaming:

Sonos can stream over 100,000 free radio stations, shows and podcasts.  It can playback music stored on up to 16 PC’s, Macs or NAS devices on your home network.  It can also wirelessly play music from your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Android device.  Oh and it works with a couple of streaming services, including but not limited to:

  • Apple Music
  • Spotify
  • Pandora
  • Deezer
  • Radio by TuneIn
  • SiriusXM
  • Google Play Music
  • SoundCloud
  • Amazon Music
  • iHeartRadio
  • Rhapsody
  • Rdio
  • Qobuz
  • TIDAL
  • And downloads from any service offering DRM-free tracks

Other Features:

  • Although it isn’t waterproof or water resistant, the Play:1 is humidity resistant.
  • You can use the ethernet port on the back of your Play:1 to bring internet connectivity to other devices, such as a set-top box, DVR, PC, game console or network hard drive.  Seriously, this is right off of Sonos’ site and something I didn’t know until I was writing this.  Previously this port had been virtually useless when Sonos pushed an update eliminating the need for a bridge.

What does it all mean?

The Play:1 is beautiful in its simplicity.  Its small form factor and well thought out look allow it to almost disappear into any room in which it’s placed.  While you may not notice the Play:1 when it is silent, it is tough to ignore when it is playing.  The Play:1 delivers surprisingly clear and powerful sound at any volume and in any size room.  I often bring this one speaker outside to fill my large backyard with music.

The app delivers something I long for in other areas of home automation, a single app to control multiple services.  No matter which platform you want to use to stream your music, all you need is the Sonos app to control it.  And while we’re talking about streaming, it’s time to dispel a myth about Sonos really quickly: SONOS DOES NOT USE YOUR PHONE’S DATA TO STREAM!  While you do control your Sonos with your phone, tablet or PC, all of the streaming is done over your wireless network directly to the Sonos.  You can kick off a station or playlist from your phone and then go out for the day and Sonos will continue to play.

Despite the fact that it is just a speaker, the Sonos Play:1 has been the most used device in my house since I bought it over a year ago.  It has given our lives a soundtrack and given us the ability to quickly change the mood from anywhere in the house.  During parties, guests can join the network, add the Sonos app and play whatever they want to hear whenever they want to hear it.

The greatest thing about the Play:1 is that it is just the tip of the iceberg.  Sonos also offers the Play:3, Play:5, Sub, Playbar and Connect.  These can be controlled independently to play from different sources in different rooms, controlled together to play the same source in multiple rooms or paired into systems, delivering stereo or 5.1 surround sound.  With the Sonos Connect, you can bring existing stereo equipment into the fold, allowing you to sync your existing entertainment center with Sonos devices around your home.

Because of its amazing sound, endless streaming options, massive scalability, ease of use, price point and evolving integrations, the Sonos Play:1 is a must have for your smart home.