Sonos is known for its high quality speakers, which when combined, make for a surreal home stereo system. The latest addition to the line is the smallest yet, the Play:1. Does this small, flour jar-like speaker live up to the name? Read on to find out.
- Sound quality you’ve come to expect from Sonos
- Small footprint is ideal for home office, kitchen or even a bathroom
- It can be LOUD
- Wireless is always a plus
- No 3.5mm plug
- No battery
I have used a Sonos system throughout my house for the last two years. Currently I have two Play:5’s and one Play:3. These speakers are something we use multiple times a day. They help us bring hysterical kids back to reality, calm the table down during dinner, or motivate the entire family to clean just one more room together. With the holidays and Christmas music being so festive right now, their use will go up. So when Sonos announced the Play:1 I was excited. Right around the time it was announced we were in the process of moving into a bigger house. One that would allow me a home office, and all home offices need a quality speaker.
Sonos sent me a total of two Play:1 speakers. Using the familiar setup of linking speakers to a Sonos Bridge using one of the Sonos Controller apps and pushing a button on the Bridge, I was up and running in a matter of minutes.
The first time I listened to the Play:3 I was blown away by the sound quality coming from it. I had two Play:5’s and I just couldn’t believe this smaller speaker was matching, and in some cases exceeding the larger one. When I first turned on the Play:1, I had a case of déjà vu. The Play:1 sounds as good, if not better than, the Play:3. How can that be, you ask? I can only explain it by calling it black magic.
Really though, I think Sonos is simply learning from past products and taking advantage of new technologies. The Play:1 has a 3.5-inch mid-woofer and tweeter, with an amplifier dedicated to each one, that delivers amazing sound.
The overall size of the speaker isn’t any larger than a sugar or flour container you’d find in your kitchen. It’s actually closer to that of a large mason jar or coffee mug, actually. But in exchange for its smaller size, you have to give up something. That something is a 3.5mm port for line-in audio, and yes, a battery.
I know when Sonos announced/launched the Play:1 it included a random stat about how often battery powered speakers are actually used, and it was quite low. With that in mind, I still would love to see a battery powered Sonos speaker that would make it extremely easy to take a speaker from the kitchen to the back patio, to the front porch, without having to worry about where the closest power outlet is. It doesn’t make sense to have a Sonos system ready to go to park, but it does make sense to have one ready to take with you to your hot tub gazebo.
Another loss with the smaller size is the lack of a 3.5mm plug. With iTunes Radio around, I often find myself wanting to stream a new radio station on Sonos, which isn’t possible without some AirPlay tinkering. A 3.5mm line-in would allow me to stream from my Mac to the Play:1 with very little effort.
While those two features are pretty big drawbacks, I have to say in the end they don’t really matter to me. A Sonos system is meant to blow you away with sound quality. The Play:1 delivers on that promise.
The only question I am left with is whether or not I need to add one to my Christmas wish list, or just buy myself one after I send the review units back.
Currently you can purchase the Play:1 (in black or white) and get a free Bridge from Sonos for $199. Normally both pieces would cost $249 combined.
* Review sample provided by Sonos