Disclaimer: The folks at Sonos kindly allowed us a Play:5 unit for review. As always, the opinions are my own.
A frustrated AirPlay customer turned happy Sonos family.
We love playing music in our house. The ability to play music in any room and control it from my phone is great for the times I just want to listen to my favorite Spotify playlist by myself or when the kids request an impromptu dance party to some Kidz Bop. For years, we had multiple AirPlay speakers (compatible with Apple iTunes) throughout the house but became frustrated at music dropping too frequently. So in my search for a better solution, I came upon Sonos.
Some might say the Sonos speaker system can be pretty pricey but if you listen to home audio as much as we do, you might agree that it’s worth the investment.
Installation + Setup
I know that not all moms care about decibels and sound quality (although Sonos is great!) but would rather read about how easy, good and practical a product is for their house. The good news is you can plug in, get connected to your wireless router, and begin playing music anywhere in your house in about 5 minutes. Similar to the Nest Thermostat, the iPhone app walks you through step-by-step instructions (including Trueplay which uses your iPhone to adjust how each woofer and tweeter produces sound based on your room layout).
There are lots of things to love about Sonos and the Play:5 but here are some of my favorite:
- The unit is always on so we never have to power the speaker(s) on before playing any music. This was always a hassle with our former AirPlay speakers (we would have to turn them on and wait to begin playing music and the speakers would shut off after idling for so long). There’s even an alarm and sleep mode with the Sonos speakers. Fun addition.
- When you have more than one unit, you can play different music in different rooms or pair the speakers to play the same music.
- The Sonos system integrates nicely with your computer’s music library, almost all streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music, Google Now Music, and Amazon.
As with most products we want to make sure that our blind daughter will be able to use this speaker to find and play music, especially as she grows older and more independent. Before trying out the Play:5, I was connected to a Sonos employee (thanks, Todd!) who graciously spent time answering questions and guiding us through the process. Their commitment to accessibility is one of the main reasons we’re investing in this system. As an iPhone user, Sonos works great with VoiceOver. This is a big deal as music and (listening to) movies are a great way for Lola to be included and participate in our family activities.
The Play:5 is just the beginning of our Sonos journey. You’re never waiting on the speaker (see AirPlay notes above), it’s always waiting on you. The response from the app is so fast that you can skip a song or change the volume and go back to your business. I’m most happy to report that we’ve had zero(!) drops in audio in now over two weeks of use. This was almost a daily occurrence with AirPlay. I prefer the iTunes interface but it might be because I’ve lived in it for so long now. It will take some time but we’re ready to add speakers to other areas of our home already.