Top positive review
11 people found this helpful
Amazing little wireless speaker with some minor issues
on 2 January 2017
I never was much of a sound enthusiast and happily listened to music on cheap speakers. I chose Sonos mostly because I liked the idea of being able to control my music through the phone and integrate it into my home automation system. For this reason I wasn’t expecting much more than a wireless speaker. Only upon receiving the Sonos Play 1 and playing a song on it, did I realise how much I’ve been missing out. The sound was amazing. Unluckily, the product I received was faulty and songs with a decent bass would cause some rattling inside the Sonos (I supposed a tear in the bass or a loose screw). But I was already convinced, so I opted for a replacement instead of a refund. Once I got my replacement unit I immediately tested the bass with some bass-heavy songs to see if this unit didn’t have the same fault. It didn’t. And given how small the actual Sonos speaker is, the bass was surprisingly good and could still be felt two rooms away even when the music wasn’t audible anymore. Still in possession of the faulty speaker I also got the chance to group two Sonos speakers together (so they play the same song) and put them in different rooms. It worked so flawlessly that I’m now very tempted to get a second one for the bedroom.
Unfortunately, not everything about the Sonos setup went without problems. In order to get the Sonos working you need to connect it to your wireless network. You can either do this by connecting it via ethernet cable to your router or setting it up wirelessly using your phone. I tried the wireless option first but that didn’t work very well. It’s supposed to work similarly to what the Chromecast and Amazon Echo do: The device temporarily creates a wireless network to which your phone then connects and through that connection you setup the wifi connection. But while this process was very quick and easy on the Chromecast and Amazon Echo, it turned out to be quite tedious on the Sonos. First it took my phone a really long time and two attempts to successfully connect to the Sonos. Then I made the mistake of mistyping my wifi password and there was no way to correct that information. In the end I had to connect the Sonos via ethernet cable after all to fix my typo. Luckily you only have to do that once and it has been running wirelessly without problems since.
In terms of connectivity I also have to deduct some points. The Sonos has exactly one connection: WiFi. There’s neither a Bluetooth receiver nor an audio line-in. I could have lived without the line-in since the whole point of the device was to use it wirelessly without the need for extra cables. But a Bluetooth connection would have been a nice extra which could have allowed to take the Sonos with you to a friends house or on holiday. Without Bluetooth this is impossible unless you take your router with you, or go through the tedious setup every time you use it on a different WiFi network. I guess the Sonos just wasn’t designed as a portable speaker, even though the small size factor is quite inviting to just put it in your backpack and bring it along.
Another deduction comes from the lack of Linux support. While there are mobile apps for both iOS and Android, there are only desktop clients for MacOS and Windows. Given that the Sonos itself runs on Linux it is very shameful Sonos doesn’t give something back to the community by providing their desktop client for Linux as well. This is especially frustrating when the only way to add custom radio streams to the Sonos is through the desktop client (the mobile apps have no option for this). So if you don’t run Windows or MacOS and want to add your own radio stream, you’re screwed.
Once I got accustomed to the joy of listening to the good and deep sound the Sonos provides I wanted to play everything through this speaker. Two services immediately came to mind and I was surprised they weren’t supported. The first was Amazon Echo, which currently cannot control your Sonos devices. Luckily this is a widely requested feature and it was announced that Amazon Echo support for Sonos will be released early this year (2017).
The other service I quickly learned to miss was Youtube and I am flabbergasted that this still isn’t officially supported. I’m subscribed to a decent amount of Youtube channels that don’t need the addition of visuals and I would much prefer to be able to just send them to my Sonos instead of using my TV or PC speakers which don’t sound nearly as good as the Sonos. It is even more surprising that this has been a frequently requested feature for well over 4 years now but as far as I know Sonos never released any statement when or if they are planning to add this feature. This is a huge letdown for me and many people and even more for those who don’t want or can’t use the workaround of turning their PC into a radio stream server and have Sonos stream from there. Obviously this still doesn’t allow you to pause, skip, or seek, so it’s not an acceptable solution.
There is not much to say about the app. It is not the most intuitive app out there and sometimes can be a bit sluggish, but it does a decent enough job. Once they add Amazon support I probably won’t be using it much anyway.
The Sonos Play 1 is an amazing little speaker that convinces with nice design, really good sound, and deep bass, which tempts you into buying more to get music into every tiny corner of your home. Unfortunately it is still lacking in some small areas like desktop client support for Linux and streaming capabilities for Youtube, but while it can be quite disappointing to find out these things are not supported, these problems only hurt a little bit the otherwise great experience that Sonos delivers.