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Sonos PLAY:3 is a Musical Maestro

SONOS PLAY:3 WIRELESS SPEAKER

Rating: ★★★★½

In the past, listening to the latest and greatest music meant a massive record collection, a pile of tapes, stacks of CDs or a little coin to put in a jukebox.

Today’s easy listening though is well, far easier. Digital music files can be downloaded in seconds to our computers, MP3 players or mobile phones.

But really music is best when listened to out loud. With hi-fi systems far less popular, and iPod docks held back by what’s contained on your player, that’s where the new Sonos PLAY:3 comes in.

Launched a few years ago, the original Sonos failed to catch on in the mainstream due to high pricing, bulky technology and complicated setup.

But this latest device cracks those problems and creates a 21st century digital jukebox in your own home. You can reads more about Sonos technology right here.

The PLAY:3 is now the new entry-level Sonos device, a standalone speaker delivering far more than just amazingly clear and powerful sound.

At £259, it’s not cheap but paying for what is essentially just a speaker means the cost is invested in producing one of the best sounding audio experiences you will hear.

Three integrated speakers including a built-in subwoofer and three dedicated digital amplifiers deliver crystal-clear and thumping sound. The technology really makes the most of any style of tune you’re playing and for convenience, it can be placed vertically or horizontally.

So you may well be asking if it’s just a speaker, where does the music come from? Well, that’s the magic bit. The Sonos PLAY:3 is designed to stream music from your computer and the internet through a wired or wireless connection.

By plugging it into your internet router using an Ethernet cable, you can send songs through it from your desktop or laptop. This relies on your router being near the room you want to be listening to music in however.

Sonos therefore really comes into its own when you buy a £40 gadget known as a Sonos Bridge. This plugs into your router and acts as a wireless point between your computer and the PLAY:3 allowing you to place the speaker anywhere in the house.

Easy setup

It is so easy to set up too. A couple of button presses pairs the two together just like when connecting a Bluetooth headset to a mobile phone.

So if you have the PLAY:3 in your living room, you can send music from the computer upstairs through the Bridge and onto it. But that’s not all. You don’t even have to be at the computer to control it.

Sonos do make their own very expensive controller so if you’ve got an iPhone, iPod touch, iPad or Android phone, the free Sonos app turns your smartphone or tablet into a control system.

It shows on screen all the music on your computer, including from iTunes and external network hard drives, and allows you to select single tracks, albums, playlists, podcasts, from more than 100,000 internet radio stations and much more.

But again, that’s not all. You don’t have to settle simply for tunes you’ve downloaded. Sonos works with a range of major music services like Last.fm, Napster and crucially Spotify to put millions of songs at your disposal.

For example, subscribing to Spotify for £10 a month means you can pick from pretty much every track ever recorded and instantly listen to it on the PLAY:3 –all by pressing a couple of buttons on the iPhone or Android handset.

But once again, that’s not all. Adding another PLAY:3 means you can listen to different music, in another room, at the same time.

Each device can be labeled too making it easy to see what you’re streaming to where, whether that’s into the lounge, kitchen, den, bedroom, study, bathroom or garden.

And when you own two PLAY:3 gadgets, you can put them together with each playing a dedicated left and right channel. It’s amazing to listen to when you’re having a party.

Sonos Play:3 stereo speakers

In control with the Sonos PLAY:3

The great thing about the Sonos PLAY:3 is that you’re in control. You can add more of them when your finances can cope and mix and match these into different rooms with no hassle at all. They’re very lightweight and plugging it into an electric socket gets it working in seconds.

For those who love music, a Sonos system will quickly become indispensible whether you stick with just a single PLAY:3 or eventually place them in every room of your home.

The more powerful and larger PLAY:5 is also available for £349, but remember, only two of the same can be placed together to play both channels of sound.

Yes there are cheaper ways of streaming music wirelessly around a house but Sonos is easy and very fun, especially when via Spotify you gain access to so much musical choice. You really will spend hours switching between tracks just because you can.

 

Pros

  • Easy-to-use
  • Very fun
  • Millions of tracks
  • Scalable

Cons

  • Costly
  • Needs additional Bridge to work best

Verdict

If you’ve ever hankered to own a 50s-style jukebox then this is the next best thing. In fact it’s much better. You get more songs, it’s much cheaper, totally portable and it won’t take up half of the room standing there in the corner.


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