PLAY 1 Lifestyle 2

Made by: Sonos
Price: $199.99 for the Play:1 and Bridge (limited time offer) available in black or white

Hardware/iOS Integration Rating: ★★★★½
Usability Rating: ★★★★½
Reuse Value Rating: ★★★★★
Build Quality Rating: ★★★★★

Overall Rating: ★★★★★

Bottom Line: The Sonos system is the number one choice for music playing in the home. It’s super flexible, sounds great, and can go in any room in the house.

Very Highly Recommended.

Update: 9/3/2014
The need for a bridge is at an end.
Sonos has updated the Sonos Controller app so that it will connect directly to your home wifi. Now you won’t have to rely on a wired connection or a Sonos Bridge to connect everything. If you’re already using a wired connection or a bridge it will still work just fine (don’t panic), but users hoping to go wireless now have the option to do so. – Rob

Sonos has long been my system of choice when it comes to playing music when at home. Their model of ‘stream everything using an iOS device as a controller, rather than the stream source’ just works so dang well. I use it nearly constantly to stream Sirius XM, Rdio, and MLB baseball. But I have to admit, if Sonos had not sent me the devices I’m not sure I would have shelled out the money for their system. Now that I’m used to it, I can’t live without it.

The Play:1 is the latest and smallest model in the Sonos line. While it’s considerably cheaper at just $199, it still maintains that signature ‘stream anything while sounding great’ of Sonos. The Play:1 can be used singularly or in multiples. Two Play:1s can be paired to provide left/right sound, to play the same thing in two places in perfect sync, or even separated to play different sources in different rooms. That’s one of the strengths of the Sonos systems: allowing the configuration of multiple zones and configurations as places to play streams.

Sonos loaned me two Play:1s to test out. In my time with the Play:1s I was really impressed with the depth of the sound from highs to the deepest of bass – surprising for a little speaker like this. Lift it and instantly I understand why it’s sounds so good: this thing must weigh 4-5 pounds. That helps with the bass, for sure. Sonos engineers know what they are doing and don’t skimp, even on the low end of their line.

Play1_3Drender_whiteThe Play:1 is also built with a humidity-resistant design. While this doesn’t mean users can submerge is in a pool, it can be safely used in a bathroom and survive the steam from a shower. Another good use of the Play:1 would be bedside, but in that case a USB port on the back for charging a phone would have been a nice touch.

There are really two groups of people that the Play:1 is aimed at. First, the new Sonos user. With a free bridge (a device required to setup the Sonos system on a home network) included, it’s squarely pointed at first time Sonos users. Get them to buy the low end, hook ‘em, then get them interested in the whole line. The other group are people who already have Sonos, but want to expand their system to other rooms. Perhaps rooms that aren’t used that much like bathrooms or bedrooms. The Play:1 is a great way to do that, and at the low end of the the Sonos lineup.

I really just have one small gripe with the Sonos system: that it still doesn’t fully support Airplay. There are ways to do it, but they are really kludgy hacks that don’t really make much sense. It would be great to have a Sonos device that supported Airplay.

The Play:1 is a great introduction to the wonderful world of Sonos. Priced at just above a good Bluetooth speaker and sounding much much better, it should be a top choice if anyone is looking for a speaker to use with streaming music.

Very Highly Recommended.

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