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QUICKVIEW: Sonos Play:1 Wireless Speaker
Posted by Arne Hess - on Tuesday, 12.11.13 - 18:54:40 CET under 08 - Reviews - Viewed 15758x
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Last month launched in the U.S., Sonos' latest wireless speaker - the Sonos Play:1 - is also available in Europe since this month. I don't think that the Sonos system needs any further introduction but if you haven't heard about it yet, it's a wireless HiFi speaker system. It unites locally available digital music collections and streaming services in one app that can be used on smartphones, tablets and PC and notebooks. If more than one Sonos wireless speaker is used, it either plays the same or different music on each speaker and Sonos offers a wide range of wireless speakers. From the brand new Play:1 to the Play:3 and Play:5 to the Sonos Sub subwoofer and the TV-compatible Sonos Playbar. With the Play:1, Sonos introduced the yet most inexpensive wireless speaker.

That said, if you don't want to go fully equipped with the more expensive Play.3 or Play:5, the Play:1 is the right one to start with; and like any other Sonos speaker, it allows to add more speaker over time to fill your home and every room with music. Unlike the Play:3 and Play:5, the Play:1 is a mono speaker which nevertheless has two custom-designed drivers with dedicated amplifiers built-in. However, by using two Play:1, it makes them a pair of stereo speakers which can be then controlled from Sonos' dedicated Android, iOS, Mac OS and Windows apps. In addition to controlling the Play:1 through the apps, on the top of the speaker, the Play:1 is also featuring a play/pause button, a status LED and a volume up/down rocker which gives quick access to the most important tasks without using the required smartphone, tablet or PC.

To get started, the Play:1 needs to be connected to your home network and there are two options to do so. Either wired or wireless. Going the traditional wired way with a LAN cable is the cheaper one, because the more flexible wireless way requires a second component called "Sonos Bridge". This has the benefit that instead of connecting each Sonos speaker to the LAN, only the Bridge is connected to the LAN which is then creating a dedicated wireless network; each Sonos speaker is using then. However, if one Sonos component, like the Play:1 is connected wired, it also creates the Sonos wireless network which then allows to connect all other Sonos speakers wireless. But one component, either the Bridge, a Play speaker or a Connect, has to be connected wired. Sonos isn't using an existing WiFi but creates its own wireless mesh network.

The Play:1 is the yet smallest Sonos wireless speaker, measuring 11.9 x 11.9 x 16.2 cm only, which is roughly as high as a HTC One max, but a little bit wider. Compared to a Play:3 it's around 1/3 of the size. Unpacked, the Play:1 is extremely heavy for it's size, which contributes to the clear sound since there's no jarring or anything. Like the Play:3 and Play:5, the Play:1 is also not waterproof or water resistant; however it was designed to withstand high-humidity, such as in a bathroom with a running shower.

As expected, setting up and getting the Play:1 ready only took minutes, especially if it is added to an existing setup. After plugging in the power cord, it only needs a few presses on the buttons and clicks in the Sonos Controller app and the Play:1 was added. If there is no existing Sonos network but you start from the scratch, all it needs is to install the Sonos Controller app first, connecting the Sonos Bridge to you home network, powering up the Bridge and the Play:1.

The most time consuming part is adding all the music libraries and streaming services to the Sonos Controller app but it's worthwhile because then you have access to your full music collection as well as most streaming service you can imagine. However, here it's important to say that Sonos is neither supporting Google's Google Music service nor Microsoft's Xbox music service or Nokia's Nokia Music. However, most other 3rd party services like Spotify, Rdio, Deezer, etc. are supported.

Final Conclusion

The Play:1 is an excellent addition for every existing Sonos setup you might already have at home. It's perfect for the kitchen, the nursery, and thanks to the high-humidity design, the Play:1 is also a great addition for a bathroom. Just for a living room, it might be little bit to small but for sure this depends on the size of your living room and how loud you plan to play your music. If so, I would definitely recommend two Play:1 to make them a pair of stereo speakers; then it's also good enough for the average living room. In any case, the Play:1, doesn't matter if mono or in a stereo setup, is a great an inexpensive start into the Sonos system world.
It fills an average room as described above with crystal clear music. Sure enough you can't expect heavy base, due to its size, but it's definitely good enough for a casual music playback.

Thanks to the latest software update, starting a music stream is even easier now and this is reflected in the new button layout. Pressing the play/pause button starts the music playback where it was last paused. If this was a TuneIn radio station, it connects again to this radio station. This makes the use, for instance in the kitchen or batch room, even more convenient since you don't need to fire-up the app first but you can start the stream with a press of a thumb.

I'm now using Sonos for several years and another Play:3 was always a little bit over my budget, to only put it in the bathroom. That's where the Play:1 fits in perfectly. It's this kind of speaker which is designed for the kitchen, bathroom or sleeping room; where you might want to casually listen some music without having a party. Thanks to its size and weigh, it can also easily carried, for instance to your balcony or garden. As long as there's a power plug, the Play:1 will most likely work - thanks to its wireless capabilities.

And while we are talking about wireless, at the moment Sonos runs a promotion where it gives away a free Sonos Bridge - worth of 49 Euro - to every Play:1 order. The Play:1, which is available in black and white, it available for US$ 199 / 199 Euro, either from Sonos itself or from online shops like Amazon, etc.

Cheers ~ Arne

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