Channel 5

Sonos Play:1

Monday 14 October 2013


Rating of 5

The basics

The Sonos Play:1 is the latest addition to the company’s speaker line up as well as its cheapest. Typically, Sonos multi-room audio rigs have cost a fortune to set up, but at £169.99, this compact wireless speaker is priced to compete with its rivals - and it still packs in the same smart software for streaming music from the web and your computers, and juggling it all by turning your phone or tablet into a remote. Is this the best of the bunch? We plugged one in to find out.

Read our Roku 3 review here

Is the Logitech Ultimate Ears Boom the best portable speaker ever?

The good

The Sonos Play:1 keeps the simplistic, monolithic design of its bigger brothers and shrinks it down into one tall cylinder you can hold in the palm of your hand. The metal grille wraps all the way around, and that’s analogy for the sound quality too: this petite streamer pumps out deceptively thumping sound with bass to boot. Sonos has also introduced a Pause/Play button on the top for the first time (rather than the traditional Mute), which is a useful extra if you’ve just got in the door and want to turn the music on, especially since it lets you skip forward tracks too.

As always though, it’s the software where Sonos shines. Set up is painless: plug it into your router or just connect it to your existing network, push one button and you’re good to go. You can then instantly start streaming music from your PC, phone, internet radio or even music services like Spotify. It’s this that really helps the Play:1 stand out from the competition, as Pure’s Jongo set-up requires you to subscribe to its own service, rather than pick one of many existing ones.

If you’re really prepared to splash the cash, there’s more you can do with the Play:1 besides, too. Hook two Play:1s up to the same network as a Sonos Sub and Playbar and you can use them all to watch TV in surround. A wireless 5.1 system that looks as good as it sounds? Yep, that’s now a thing.

The bad

The Sonos Play:1 can’t do everything its equally priced rivals can. It lacks Bluetooth for instant streaming from any phone without the need to install an app and an external input for plugging in a radio or MP3 player, and though it’s of a similar size to Pure’s £169 Jongo S3, it lacks an internal battery, so you can’t take it outside to use in the garden.

Its small size also mean it’s ultimately only a single source for sound. Its powerful speaker tech goes a long way to masking this, but in larger rooms where you might typically expect beefier stereo sound with speakers placed apart, you can tell - you can pair up two Play:1s to resolve this, but of course you will have to buy another to achieve the effect. As such, this is a Sonos better equipped for the kitchen or the dining room, rather than spacious large living room.

Spotify Connect: Stream music straight to your speakers!

Google Chromecast arrives: Five streaming rivals it faces

The bottom line

Rival speakers from the likes of Pure and Bose may pack external batteries and audio input jacks along with Wi-Fi streaming skills, but if you’re not planning on taking your rig outside ever, this won’t even factor into the equation. And while there are still cheaper options for setting up a multi-room streaming speaker system in the home, none work so flawlessly and instantaneously as Sonos’. The Play:1 is just about the perfect fit for any kitchen or bedroom, at a price that’s close to being hard to argue with.

Currys Top Products

Sonos Play:1 is tagged with Sonos and play:1. Select a tag (Sonos, for example) to find everything on The Gadget Show about the subject.

User comments (1)

Leave a comment

John watts

Small but very powerful speaker. Even better if used with other sonos products such as the sub base. Expensive, but I dare you to find a richer sound

Report as inappropriate

Join Channel 5

Creating an account is free, will only take a few moments and will allow you to enjoy the full benefits of 5FWD and Channel 5:

  • Create lists of your most wanted and owned products
  • Leave article comments without having to re-enter your login details
  • Get updated with all the latest gadget and car news

Leave a comment

Please note that we will not expose your email, but we might use it to email you back. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.
* mandatory field

  • Asus X200MA-KX366B laptop

    If you’re looking for a low-cost laptop to get you going on the basics, Asus is aiming to have you…

  • Vodafone Smart 4

    Vodafone's no stranger to the budget blower arena, with last year's Smart III providing fairly…

  • Tonino Lamborghini Antares

    If you thought your brand new iPhone 5s in gold was the cream of the crop when it comes to luxury…

  • Gigabyte P34Gv2 gaming laptop

    When you think of gaming laptops, your mind usually goes towards hulking behemoths that more…

  • Nokia Lumia 930

    Meet the Nokia Lumia 930, the latest 4G flagship from the now-Microsoft company, and the first…

  • USB iShaver

    It seems like you can get practically anything powered by USB these days, and now the humble…

  • Nokia Lumia 635

    Nokia's currently on a Windows Phone 8.1 roll, unleashing the budget-friendly Lumia 630 back in May,…

  • Heimplanet ‘The Cave’ tent

    How do you solve a problem like tent poles? In a bid to make its £435 ‘The Cave’ the fastest…

  • Singtrix karaoke machine

    Love it or hate it, karaoke is an absolute riot - even if you can't sing to save your life. You…

  • LG G Watch

    Google's vision of the smartwatch is finally with us, but can Android Wear succeed where so many of…