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Sonos Play:5 review

Wireless multi-room music system that just works

Our Verdict

For

  • Easy to set up
  • Easy to use
  • iPhone app is great
  • Sound quality is good
  • Robust networking
  • Depth of content is fantastic

Against

  • It's very expensive
  • No desktop playback

sonos zoneplayer s5

The boffins at Sonos HQ have clearly gone to a lot of effort to make the Play:5 system as easy to set up as possible.

It's not often we get to test a product as potentially complicated as this, but which is made so startlingly idiot proof. It's quite remarkable – especially when you consider what a hash many electronics companies make of this type of thing.

sonos zoneplayer s5

It really is a case of plugging it in, pushing a couple of buttons and it's done.

Connecting your system

If you want to use a player in a room other than where you keep your wireless router – which is fairly likely – you need to also purchase the ZoneBridge. It's a small wireless box which plugs into your router via Ethernet.

sonos zonebridge

The ZoneBridge uses 'SonosNet' to wirelessly link your players. It's a proprietary peer-to-peer synchronous mesh network, which combines MIMO with 802.11n to create a robust wireless connection for your system, so that you don't have to use your own (probably flakey) wireless network.

sonos zonebridge

Once you've done that, it's just a case of unpackaging the Play:5 (or Players if you've bought more than one), and plugging it/them into power sockets where you want to keep them.

You then install the desktop app on your PC and it'll ask you to press a button on each device in order to sync them all up together. For us, it worked first time without a hitch.

sonos zoneplayer s5

The Sonos asks you where each Play:5 unit is being kept, so you can easily tell them apart when you want to keep them separate.

And once you're there, you simply tell the app where you keep your digital music library (the Sonos literature talks about using your iTunes library, but really, there's no meaningful integration with iTunes at all – it's all about where you keep your MP3s on your computer or NAS drive) and away you go.

sonos zoneplayer s5

It's really that simple. You can just navigate your music collection and play anything you want.

And it doesn't stop at the end of your music collection, either. The Play:5 gives you access to a wealth of assorted content, including 25,000 internet radio stations, shows and podcasts – all free of charge and pre-loaded.

sonos zoneplayer s5

Take the Adam and Joe Show on BBC Radio 6 Music as an example.

sonos desktop app

If you want to listen to any of their Saturday morning shows, you need only search 'Adam' in the Radio section and you'll be given access to the last few months' worth of Adam & Joe Show podcasts.

Tech Specs

Product TypeNetwork Audio Player
EthernetYes
Internet StreamingYes
Brand NameSONOS
Audio FormatsWMA, AAC, Ogg Vorbis, Apple Lossless, FLAC, WAV, AIFF, MP3
Ethernet TechnologyFast Ethernet
Height217 mm
Width365 mm
Depth123 mm
Image FormatsBMP, PNG, GIF, JPEG
ManufacturerSonos, Inc
Product ModelS5
Product NameZonePlayer S5 Network Media Player
Product LineZonePlayer
Manufacturer Part NumberZONE PLAYER S5
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.sonos.com
Marketing Information

The S5 is a high-performance, all-in-one wireless music system that delivers crystal-clear, room-filling sound. Simply plug it in wherever you want music and enjoy. The 5-driver speaker system is individually powered by 5 dedicated digital amplifiers and includes 2 tweeters, 2 mid-range drivers and 1 subwoofer for high-quality sound that rivals much larger, more complicated audio equipment. To start playing music, one ZonePlayer or ZoneBridge must be connected to the router, then all the rest work wirelessly.

SpeakersYes
Weight (Approximate)4.15 kg