Sonos Gets Everything Right With Play:3 Wireless HiFi System

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Sonos, already highly regarded for its lineup of great sounding home audio products, this week released the Play:3 Wireless HiFi System, which could — as the marketing materials suggest — make you forget everything you’ve heard before.

Controlled with free apps for iPhone and iPad, the Play:3 streams music not only from files stored on your local computer or NAS drive, but also from 100,000 Internet radio stations and online music services including Pandora, Spotify, SiriusXM, last.fm, rdio and more.

The apps are thoughtfully laid out and intuitive — and Sonos gets bonus points for building a dedicated iPad app that’s not just a universal binary port of the iPhone version.

The Play:3’s three speakers and three integrated Class D amps throw huge sound from a compact package that can be situated vertically or horizontally and fits easily on a bookshelf, end table or sideboard. It features volume and mute control on the unit, which connects by Ethernet cable to your router, or wirelessly to a router-connected Sonos Bridge ($49, sold separately).

We enjoyed an awesome demo from Craig Wisneski, Sonos Senior Product Manager, who showed how effortlessly the Play:3 tracks music from a local iTunes library, to online services, to Internet radio and back with the controller app. Even more impressively, from a sonic standpoint, two Play:3 units in the same room can easily be configured to stream Left and Right channels for a rich, hi-fidelity sound experience it would cost thousands of dollars to replicate with pro audio gear.

You can try your own demo out and get full specs on the Play:3 at the Sonos website.

The Play:3 Wireless HiFi System is available now from the Sonos site and 6200 retail locations for $299.

Related
  • prof_peabody

    I can’t believe I have to ask this on an Apple focussed website’s review of a “wireless” speaker, but … is it actually AirPlay compatible?  

    You describe some functionality (minimally), that could be interpreted that way, but you don’t actually say.  

    Edit: also your link to Sonos is broken.

  • Volker Will

    What’s so new about the speaker besides the form factor and maybe the sound? It does what all other Sonos devices already do well today. And you can configure the predecessor of the play:5 since day one as a two speaker system in a single room.
    And then, maybe the author is new to Sonos and as excited as I was (and still am) when I installed my first set of Sonos devices.

  • James M

    Prof Peabody, Sonos uses their own technology to wirelessly stream the music so AirPlay is not an option.  From what I understand the AirPlay license to build into a device is not cheap.  But as the article states you can run it from your iPhone but you can’t steam from your iPhone.

  • Sledgey

    Airplay is possible, you need an Apple AirPort Express and one of the other Sonos players (they have inputs).
    You can then decide which Sonos device you want the music/sound to be play from (or all at the same time).

    We also have the Sky box plugged in to a different Sonos, so any music can be played around the house. You have many choices.

  • Alfiejr

    AirPlay has made Sonos obsolete. any AirPlay enabled speaker/amp can do everything this Sonos unit can. the upcoming iHome iW1 looks especially convenient as a combined portable/base station unit. and will cost $50 less at $300.

    superior sound quality is the only hope for Sonos – IF it has that. if not, all it has left are the legacy users who are stuck with it because they spent $thousands building it into their house walls.

About the author

Lonnie Lazar

Lonnie Lazar is a writer-musician-web designer-attorney. He writes about Apple for Cult of Mac and Mac|Life, and about VoIP and telecommunications for Voxilla. Follow Lonnie on Twitter @LonnieLazar, join the Cult of Mac on Facebook, and find Lonnie's photos on Flickr.

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