SONOS PLAY:1 Wireless Music System - Testing and General Usage

Article Index
SONOS PLAY:1 Wireless Music System
SONOS Bridge Info
PC Software and Setup
Mobile Sofware and Testing
Testing and General Usage

Testing & General Usage:

The downside to testing a single PLAY:1 is that we can't create a "stereo pair" or play different streams to each of the devices. That being said, what we can test is the range, quality and overall performance of the SONOS PLAY:1 - both software and hardware. As previously mentioned, the software is very good. I can't complain about anything with it at all. It works exactly as advertised and it seems to be very well thought out. Everything I needed to access was where it logically should be and it just plain works.

I love that the software sync's between PCs, mobile and more - almost instantly and seamlessly. It's a great package that is simple to use and to figure out.

In terms of hardware, the performance of the PLAY:1 is a bit of a mixed bag to me. All by itself it's a mono speaker. There is not stereo sound and while the quality sounds good, there is something about the lack of audio separation with a single speaker that leaves me feeling a little flat.

That's not to say the quality is bad. It certainly is decent and the bass and treble are mixed well and provide a good listening experience. Thankfully there is a place where you can adjust bass and treble for the SONOS PLAY:1 as changing Windows sound settings does not affect this speaker at all. You have to wrap your mind around the fact that the SONOS PLAY:1 is not attached to your PC and is in fact a stand-alone system. You have to interface with separate software to make changes.

 

What this does is pretty cool. While you are playing music to the speaker in one part of your office, you can at the same time use your PC or phone to play local music through that devices media player. Neither will affect the other and this is pretty cool.

While the sound quality isn't all that bad - it's not the greatest out of the box either. For most music, you'll want to increase the bass response of the PLAY:1 as it feels and sounds a little thin. Once you've tweaked the sound a bit to your liking, you'll feel better about it. With that in mind, I believe that adding a second PLAY:1 in a stereo pair would greatly help the music quality and give you a much better experience. Still, by itself, it’s not a bad way to go.

The volume gets pretty loud - and while it won't hurt your ears or rattle cups on your desk, it does provide a "good enough" listening experience by itself in your office. If I had a couple of these, I could see them fit really well in a larger room, but the single speaker is just a bit weak for a large environment.

 

Conclusion:

As I wrap up this review of the SONOS PLAY:1 it may sound like I'm not happy with the product - but that couldn't be farther from the truth. The fact is, I love the PLAY:1, but I want more. I want flexibility. I want the true mutli-room experience. I want stereo. I want a fuller richer sound that comes from putting one of these on each side of my office - on each side of my TV - on each side of my bedroom.

I could happily have six of these and fill my house with a variety of music and audio that is different for every room in the house or at times all synchronized for an amazing in-home experience. The downside is that I'd be in for $1200 if I got what I wanted. In all truth, for what the SONOS offers, that's not a bad price. Still, the SONOS PLAY:1 is a starter kit by itself but if you could snag a couple of these I think you would be very, very happy.

The software thankfully only makes this product better. We tested and played with both the PC and Android software packages and both worked very well. The software was smooth, fluid and never had any instability no matter how much I messed with it during the weeks I played around with the SONOS PLAY:1.

In terms of audio quality, it's very good. It's not perfect, but it's very good and should be more than adequate for what it is designed to do. That's what confuses me a bit. The PLAY:1 is a decent speaker, but not many people will want to have just one. Consumers will want to have a couple of these to really enjoy the quality and fullness as well as multi-room capabilities. With that in mind, I believe they should sell a SONOS PLAY:1 x2 kit.

The SONOS PLAY:1 is a great setup and if you snag a couple of these, you'll likely be very happy. The overall build quality of the hardware as well as the engineering of the software is fantastic. I'm a fan.

 

Pros:
  • Great software
  • Build quality
  • Decent audio quality
  • Easy to use and setup
  • Comes with the SONOS Bridge
  • Flexible options and easy to setup/add other SONOS gear

 

Cons:

  • Needs a pair to really appreciate quality, functionality
  • Not cheap

 

If you are in the market for a cheap Bluetooth speaker, the SONOS PLAY:1 is not for you. If you're shopping for a speaker system for your home or office that allows you to play music wirelessly in any and every room that you are in, the SONOS PLAY:1 is a great place to start. The ability to pair, separate, stream and enjoy great music and audio everywhere you are, is absolutely fantastic.

The SONOS PLAY:1 has a lot going for it and I just put two on my list.

Silver

I'd like to thank SONOS for sending over the PLAY:1 for a review. If you have any questions, comments or general feedback, please head on over and post it in our forum at the link below.