Sonos Play:3 review

Best multi-room streaming system, Awards 2013. Sonos's Play:3 is also a cracking little performer Tested at £260

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Best multi-room streaming system, Awards 2013. Sonos's Play:3 is also a cracking little performer


  • +

    Impressively musical

  • +

    disperses sound well

  • +

    flexible over positioning

  • +

    free control apps


  • -

    Requires a wired connection or an optional extra

  • -

    dedicated remote is expensive

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

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 speaker to the range.

MORE: Sonos Play:1 review

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).

MORE: Awards 2013

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.


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.

See all our music streamer award winners

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.


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

MORE: Sonos – everything you need to know

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

Read more about how we test