Sonos PLAY:1 – is it really worth your money?

I probably shouldn’t give the game away before you read down to the end of this review, but I just can’t help myself because yes. Yes it is. And if you care to join me for the next few minutes of your life as you read this article, I’m going to explain why.

It’s been a while since I last posted for various reasons but the good news is that I’m back now and that’s helped in no small part by the music I’ve listened to. Some people love the irregular and undanceable Hip Hop beats of the Wu Tang Clan, for others it’s the incessant drone of 90’s indie music that fills them with nostalgic joy. Still more inexplicably some spend money on going to see Jazz music which no-one really understands anyway and seems to me to simply be a way for people to appear more intelligent and mysterious than they actually are.

As you can probably tell, I don’t sign up to these popular genres of musical history. I didn’t Hip, Hop or Grunge my way through adolescence. Punk held no draw for me and while Rock music had a form of attraction my musical home was, in retrospect, clear from the minute Hanson launched their multi-platinum, one-hit-wonder, never-see-them-again, musical attack of the UK. It’s true, I am unashamedly in to Pop. And I’m not just talking about the Adele, Rihanna or Coldplay kind of Pop (sorry Suburban Gent), I’m a card carrying member of the pink tented, frilly ruffled, Campy McCampface’d brand of Pop that brought us such classics as C’est la vie from B’witched, Miley Cirus (before she went mentalist) and of course the undeniable floor filler Hold On by Wilson Philips!

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Sonos PLAY:1 Wireless Speaker

But you’re probably wondering why am I telling you all this? Well, my friends the reason is very simple – happy music makes me happy. And when you’re not feeling happy, playing some happy music is fairly high on the priority list. So having already espoused my thoughts on Spotify and explored my ability to have almost every track I could ever want available to me, I feel fairly well placed to comment on the very device that served up that happiness; every pin sharp high-hatted, warm bass-y, Westlife inspired key changing second of it.

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Sonos PLAY:1 Wireless Speaker

We all know the Sonos brand for making high class equipment, but the PLAY:1 is a very real play for the digital market. It is, in the world of wireless or bluetooth speakers, a beast of a unit and while it’s competitors are all going as small as possible, the PLAY:1 refuses to compromise. Which is not to say it’s huge – quite the opposite in fact. No larger than a bag of sugar but twice as heavy, the PLAY:1 is the smallest of three models in the series. The weight comes from two Class D digital amps (whatever that means) which power a tweeter and a mid-range woofer in each unit. That may not seem like much but man alive this thing can deliver. After you’ve used your smart phone to give the speaker an acoustic map of the room that you put it in, which is quite possibly the most awesome thing I’ve ever done with my phone by the way, it adjusts it’s settings accordingly to provide the best quality of sound for the space in which it sits.

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Sonos PLAY:1 Wireless Speaker

And what sound. Obviously, in order to test it properly I had to turn it up and after I had apologised to the neighbours for disturbing their Sunday morning with enough Cotton Eyed Joe to wake the dead, I promised Mrs P I wouldn’t turn it up again. Seriously, this thing pumps it out like you wouldn’t believe and with no distortion at the top end either.  You may have gathered by now that I am not a conoussier when it comes to the musical arts but when you tie this thing up to your Spotify account – or in fact any of the other online radio stations that the Sonos is compatible with, I defy you to find fault in the quality of what you can hear.

You can use an ethernet connection to plumb straight into your network or opt for wireless, but truth be told, the wireless set-up and connectivity can be hit and miss at first and the compatibility with iTunes is a straight up nightmare, but then that’s why I went with Spotify anyway right? The truth is that the PLAY:1 is properly good, but it’s really when you get two or more that the fun really starts. Totally independent control over each speaker means you can adjust the volume and playlist either on it’s own or link them all together to really pump up the poojah. You can buy them in any colour you like, so long as you like white or black but the classy matte finish means you won’t care that they don’t have a pearlescent electric blue version to match the cat basket.

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Sonos iPhone interface

The interface is managed by an app on your Apple or Android phone and is quick and easy once your are used to it. Switching between speakers on the move is quick and intuitive so it doesn’t interfere with your life too much. Granted the app doesn’t look as classy as the speaker itself, but it’s functional and does everything you want it to once you get everything talking to each other.

In short, I love my Sonos PLAY:1. I love Spotify. And I love the way that using both together can improve my mood just when I need them to. Right now, I’ve got one in the Living Room for entertaining, one in the Kitchen for those mid baking dance moves and now the only question I’ve got left is: can I convince Mrs P to buy another one for the upstairs ensuite, because did I forget to mention that it’s also humidity resistant for use in bathrooms? Oh Yeah.

Don’t miss our review of the UE Boom 2 portable bluetooth speaker.

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