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The Sonos system is easy to recommend to anyone looking for an easy to use multi-room system. What sets the Sonos apart is its ease of use. There are other systems that have similar or even better specifications, but fail to provide the intuitive, ease of control that Sonos does. The Play speakers are well suited for use in multiple locations and the Connect for fixed locations where you can take advantage of your preexisting stereo (or just your preexisting speakers with the Connect:Amp).
Sonos Play:3 review
- Small powerful speaker
- Wireless convenience
- Really can stream â€œany song on Earthâ€
- Sonosâ€™ cheapest all-in-one speaker at $299 is still pricey
- $49 Bridge or no $49 Bridge, thatâ€™s the question
- No line-in or headphone jacks like the bigger Play:5
Two Play:3s combined in a stereo pair easily bested the Play:5 while still costing a buck less than the $599 Zeppelin Air
So, will the Play:3 see Sonos break into the audio mainstream? Probably not. Don't get me wrong, the $299 Play:3 is a brilliant all-in-one wireless speaker that fits perfectly within Sonos' lineup. At $100 less than the $399 Play:5 it can, under certain conditions, trump its bigger brother. Two Play:3s combined in a stereo pair easily bested the Play:5 while still costing a buck less than the $599 Zeppelin Air -- the only shipping all-in-one AirPlay speaker in the same class. Not only is the Play:3 the best way to introduce your family to Sonos, it's also the best way to expand the music coverage in existing Sonos households.
But for Sonos to break into the mainstream it's my opinion that it must further simplify its message. The $49 Bridge component is still confusing to first time Sonos buyers -- do I need it or not? Hell, you can see the confusion in some of the early Play:3 "reviews" that were posted (tip: it's not required). Sonos should just give away the Bridge (already reduced from $99 to $49) to first time buyers and make it a required component for setup. Of course, it wouldn't really be free as the cost would be spread across Sonos' speaker components. The other option is to eliminate its proprietary SonosNet network altogether. AirPlay partners seem content developing for off-the-shelf WiFi networks. In our experience, AirPlay, running on newer QoS-enabled 802.11n networks, is very robust. Maybe "good enough" is preferable to "it just works" when shooting for the mainstream market.
At the end of the day, music isn't rational -- it's experienced as if it had the power to communicate directly with our emotions. The repulsion you feel when hearing that Friday song is immediate, there's no processing -- it's only later, after that initial jolt of arm-flailing nausea that you comprise an appraisal. Sonos combined with a music subscription can slake that emotional jones in an instant with millions of tracks ready to stream around the home -- "every song on Earth," if you will. With Sonos, I haven't felt the need to pirate a single track in the last four years. I'm happy to pay $10 per month so that I never have to hunt, download, test for quality, and then hunt again for songs, albums, or compilations. This goes double for the less tech savvy members of my family. Clearly, Sonos isn't for everyone. Sonos CEO John MacFarlane is the first to admit that AirPlay is great if you're a college student who needs to fill a single room with sound. But if you're a home owner, with multiple family members holding a variety of musical tastes, well, there's nothing quite like a Sonos. And the Play:3 makes for a fantastic new product in the company's flexible wireless audio lineup.
- Design: 9/10
- Sound quality: 10/10
- Connectivity: 8/10
Sonos Play:3 review
- Easy to use
- Excellent free apps
- Cheaper than its predecessor
- Lots of music options
- Lower sound quality than Play:5
- Still quite pricey
- Software could be better
The Play:3 is an excellent multi-room option and brings the Sonos system slightly closer to the realms of the common man's bank account; worth saving up for? We think so."
Sonos Play:3 review
Conclusion OUR VERDICT The Play:3 (in league with a free controller app and compatible mobile device) makes the Sonos experience affordable for a greater number of people. As evidenced by my other reviews of Sonos products, I’m completely sold. My guess is that when you hear a Play:3 of your own and imagine the musical joy it will bring to your life, you will be too.