Ok so in the past I’ve had great fun with Sonos products (check out my previous Sonos Play:5 review), they are universally of high quality an once you understand their product line and how everything fits to together they work like a charm. So here is the break down of what you need at a minimum for people who haven’t used Sonos products before.
- Somewhere to stream your music collection from, usually an iTunes enabled computer a network (NAS) hard drive or similar (though you can easily stream from other sources)
- The Sonos Bridge. This is the little box that connects your sonos system to your wireless router to allow streaming to occur
- One of Sonos wireless speaker components. In this case the rather compact Sonos Play:3 that I’ll be looking at today
- A device to control it all, this can be one of Sonos custom controllers or one of Sonos free smartphone apps
Ok now we’ve got the “what do I need?” portion out of the way lets move on to the actual device itself. The Sonos Play:3 comes nicely packaged and on removal form the box is pretty unintrusive, in fact I would go so fat as to say it is mighty unimpressive to look at. Comparing it to the Play:5 which actually looks like a mini system unto itself the Play:3 looks much more like a small sub-woofer which has somehow walked out of your TV room and into the dining room. The Sonos:3 cold be described as “understated” in the looks department, it will fit nicely on a shelf in the kitchen or on a sideboard in an upstairs office.
Ok so looks wise it might not be winning any international product design awards but its certainly liveable with and to be honest that’s not what people buy Sonos products for (leave that to B&O). Lets get to the meat of the subject how does the Play:3 sound? Well I would be telling a lie if I didn’t say it doesn’t quite have the power and clarity of its big brother, but in small rooms and for casual use many people will find the Sonos Play:3 extremely capable. The main thing peopel will likely find that the Play:3 looses out to its more powerful sibling is in the bass end, the play:3 is missing the dedicated subwoofer of the Play:5 having been replaced with a bass radiator system, and to be honest on some material it shows. Having said that in smaller kitchens and offices and when listening to material that doesn’t require a big bottom end then the Play:3 performs admirably. The bass end is controlled if a little underwhelming in terms of power but the mid range is extremely natural and is particularly effective on speech and on acoustic instruments and the top end is capable with no sibilance or raspyness detectable.
Setup is as with all Sonos products admirably simple the only thing that takes any time with the system will be configuring networking and a couple of room settings on the Sonos Bridge. The menu design is extremely intuitive and easy to follow in fact any issues I’ve ever heard of people having with Sonos product setup have always turned out to be related to their wireless routers & built in firewalls.
So would I recommend a Sonos Play:3 based system? Well in actuality no, but with the caveat that I think the Play:3 is a fine device but I see it as an expansion to an already in situ Sonos system. The play:3 makes an excellent addition to a Sonos Connect:Amp or Play:5 based system to allow you to expand your system into extra rooms but personally I wouldn’t use a bunch of Play:3s as a basis fro my system as I would miss the bass end too much and realistically the Play:3 would not fill my main rooms on their own. Still its a good product and performs well in the circumstances it was designed for, you just have to be aware of the Play:3s limitations.
- Hear every song you have and discover more with access to over 100,000 free radio stations and shows worldwide
- Easily connects to your wireless router with included ethernet cable or wirelessly anywhere with addition of Sonos Bridge
- Start with one, expand everywhere – wireless expandability to play different songs in different rooms or play together in sync
- Plays digital music with HiFi sound with 3 driver speaker system, 3 digital amps, 1 tweeter, 2 mid range drivers and 1 bass radiator
- Control from anywhere with your smart phone or tablet – works with Android, iPhone, iPad, and Sonos controller
- Product Dimensions: 12.3 x 9.5 x 8.6 inches ; 7.7 pounds
- Shipping Weight: 9 pounds
- RRP: $299.00 (Check Amazon for Current Pricing)