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July 22, 2011

Sonos Shrinks Wireless Sound Systems With Play:3


Sonos' mission is to deliver the highest quality music from any source to any part of your home, wirelessly. The company's beautiful Apple-like speakers have played a major role in my home's decor for the better part of 18 months, ever since I got my first S5, later added on two more units, and even a wireless dock to play songs from the iPod Touch. As new services like Rdio and Spotify have debuted, Sonos has been lightning-fast to support them, to get users fast access to their music. If there have been any complaints I've ever heard about the company's products, they've been price related. Something about premium quality and premium prices going hand in hand... but this week the company took a step down in the market with the introduction of the Play:3 line, which has a smaller form factor, fewer speakers, and a new profile which looks great if posed either vertically or horizontally. The new pricepoint is only $299, which should make the units even more attractive to consumers and audiophiles.

As someone who has long ranted in favor of Spotify for the better part of two years, I'm equally as effusive about my Sonos equipment - which plays a visible part in social gatherings, and entertains the kids who need to get their wiggles out by dancing to techno from all sorts of sources, including not just the aforementioned Spotify and Rdio, but also Sirius XM, local radio and topical content from the Web's deep library. Managing the now four devices (3 of the 5's and one of the 3) is simple with the intuitive software for both desktop and mobile, and it still amazes me to have the near instant response from an action I take on the app impacting the wireless speakers anywhere in the house.

How small is the Play:3? My 10-month old can straddle it.

With the introduction of the Play:3, Sonos is rebranding its equipment in a much simpler way than in the past. Gone is the letter and number pairing of the S5, replaced by the Play line of players and the Connect line, including the ZoneBridge and ZonePlayers that turn existing speakers into wireless systems, or connect your routers to your Sonos equipment.

When the Play:3 arrived at our door this afternoon, the twins opened it up and said "Dancing!" when they first saw the unit. So yes, they know what it's for. In about 3 minutes, the device was connected to power, added to my desktop software and streaming music. It's simply not fair how easy it is and how good it is to get such high quality sound from such a small device. It's a smart extension of the product line I've invested in after first getting introduced to Sonos early last year. Huge win.

Disclosure: The Play:3 was provided free of charge via Sonos. I've previously purchased multiple Play:5 machines.