Hands On: Wireless Home Entertainment Starting with Sonos Play:1

I noticed Sonos when the Play:1 speaker was introduced back in 2013. At that time, I was looking for a wireless speaker and the Play:1 caught my eye. The smart speaker looks elegant with its clean and simple design -- it's something you could place in a visible area, and it will easily blend with your home decors and interiors instead of being an eyesore and sticking out.

Images from Sonos

After some research, I learned that Sonos is an American brand that has been around since 2002, and is actually a pioneer in the wireless multi-room speaker space.

Over the past few years, Sonos has become more and more popular as its products continue to improve even after purchase. They have done this by simply rolling out software updates to its speakers and app controller, such as:

1. Various sound quality improvements

2. Continuously increase its streaming music service partners

3. Added capability to work with regular Wifi (no need for a Sonos Bridge)

4. And just recently, opened up to allow its speakers to be controlled directly on Spotify app (limited to Premium Spotify members)

Amazon's voice assistant, Alexa, is also coming to Sonos by early 2017.

Sonos relying primarily on software to run and control its speakers gives it the capability to adapt to the fast changing technology landscape. Essentially, this is what makes Sonos a great speaker.

Sonos Play:1

The Sonos Play:1 is the most affordable and the smallest of the Sonos line-up.

Hands-on, it is actually bigger and heavier than expected, but still compact enough to be easily placed almost anywhere in the house. While it is the smallest among the Sonos, its size does not hinder it from giving off a rich sound -- the bass is decent enough, considering its small size. Perfect for small rooms!

Although it looks small, it is not a portable speaker and so it's not meant to be brought around like one. You'll also need an outlet and a WiFi access point for it to work. And at 4.1lbs., it is quite heavy to be carrying around.

Here is a quick look at Play:1's specs:

  • Auto-volt: 110v to 220v.
  • Works with Wifi. No Bluetooth.
  • 1 tweeter; 1 mid-woofer; 2 Class-D digital amplifiers
  • H=6.36, W=4.69, D=4.69 in. (4.08 lbs.)

Set-up

“Plug in your Sonos product to power. Download the Sonos app to your phone, tablet, or computer that is connected to your home WiFi network. Open the Sonos app and select 'Setup New System'.“

Hands-on, exactly how Sonos said it. Also, select "Standard Setup" to use Sonos on Wifi. (Boost uses a dedicated wireless network that requires at least one Sonos product connected to the router with an Ethernet cable). The Sonos app is user-friendly, so setting up the speakers is a breeze.

Although you can use the Sonos app to manage your music library and music streaming services, I opted to use Spotify since I am already familiar with it. Also, with Spotify, you can manage different devices, not just necessarily Sonos products.   This allows you to easily transfer listening from car to earphones, to Sonos speakers. The Sonos app only works with Sonos speakers.

An Ethernet cable is included in the package, which is needed to change the Wifi settings.

Spotify Integration

On Sonos App

Tap Add Music Services and select Spotify (there are over 30 to choose from including Apple Music, Soundcloud, and Pandora). Make sure to allow "Control Sonos from Spotify".

 

On Spotify App

No additional setup is needed on the Spotify app. Just make sure Spotify and Sonos are on the same network. “Devices Available” should appear on Spotify while listening to music. Just tap and select a Sonos room.

Hands-on, sometimes connecting to Sonos speakers from Spotify App is difficult. With this feature update less than a week old, maybe tweaks and adjustments are still being made. Hopefully, this can be fixed soon.

Sharing Sonos

Family members and/or friends can easily use the Sonos speakers as long as they are on the same network. For Premium Spotify members, while listening to music just select the desired Sonos room under "Devices Available." Otherwise, download the free Sonos app and select "Connect to an Existing System" upon launch.

Building on Play:1

Home entertainment is a mess with all the wires and components needed. Enter Sonos: it just makes things simpler and easier to deploy from just music to a 5.1 home theater setup.

Music in every room

Listen to music all over your home by adding more Play:1s. Just locate a suitable location, place, and plug.  And with Amazon Echo integration coming soon, moving to a different listening area is as easy as: "Alexa, transfer music to the living room."

Home Theater

Add a Sonos Playbar to a pair of Play:1 and instantly you have a 5.0 home theater system (Add a Sonos Subwoofer for a full 5.1 system). The Sonos Playbar is your center channel, front left & right, and Audio-Video Receiver (AVR), all rolled into one. Just connect the Sonos Playbar to the television with an Optical Audio cable, and it will take care of distributing the sound to the other Sonos speakers.

Image from Sonos

A clean and wireless home entertainment done in minutes. Never been this easy.

 

Images and video by Vanessa Vibar unless labeled otherwise. 

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