Best multi-room streaming system, Awards 2012. Sonos's most affordable ZonePlayer is also a cracking little performerWrite your own review
- Impressively musical
- disperses sound well
- flexible over positioning
- free control apps
- Requires a wired connection or an optional extra
- dedicated remote is expensive
It might not feel like it, but Sonos has been around for quite a while. Perhaps the reason it always feels fresh and vibrant is because the company is constantly evolving.
A recent rebranding exercise has resulted in the Play:3, which brings with it an all new, more affordable entry-point to the range.
Like the Play:5 (previously known as the S5), the Play:3 is an all-in-one that combines a network music client, amp and speakers, making it simple to add an extra zone to an existing Sonos system (or start a new one).
You can also link two Play:3s together to make a stereo pair, and now, thanks to an update, stream music directly from your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. Last but far from least, the company has now added the Sonos Playbar.
Surprisingly full-bodied sound
The best news about the Play:3, though, is that it sounds much better than its price and size might suggest. Feed it lossless or uncompressed rips from a computer or network-attached storage device and it really shines.
Band of Horses’ delightful No One’s Gonna Love You, for example, sounds beautifully smooth and solid, but with lots of detail and punch.
The Play:3 also has an impressively consistent tonal range, so nothing sticks out more than it should, although it is worth experimenting with the ‘Loudness’ option – close to a wall it will create some boominess, but in free space it’s a great way to get extra weight.
And talking of positioning, the fact that the Play:3 can be oriented vertically or horizontally means it will fit in almost any space.
It even senses which way it’s orientated and automatically adjusts the EQ for maximum dispersion – and this thing will fill a room far better than you might expect.
Spotify streaming, internet radio
The usual Sonos qualities also continue to shine through, from excellent build, streaming from Spotify, Napster and internet radio, and brilliant format support – although we would like to see high-res studio masters included in a future update.
The only other caveat is that Sonos’ dedicated CR200 remote control is an expensive extra, but given that a whole system can be controlled via brilliant, free apps that are available for PC, Mac, Android and iOS devices, we don’t see that putting off many potential buyers from making an overall excellent purchase.
See also: Sonos PlayBar review