Sonos PLAY:1 wireless speaker
The Sonos PLAY:1 packs a significant punch considering its size and produces surprisingly good bass
- Attractive, well constructed design
- Excellent sound quality & volume
- Ease of use and setup
- Requires AC power (no battery)
- No 3.5mm audio jack
- Midrange can become muddy
The PLAY:1 is Sonos' smallest and cheapest speaker yet, and has been designed as an affordable, entry level music streaming device. It packs a significant punch considering its size and produces surprising bass levels, though we would have loved to see a battery-operated option to enhance portability.
Price$ 299.00 (AUD)
Sonos' Wi-Fi-based audio system has been a popular player in the wireless home speaker market for a number of years but its relatively expensive price tag has put it out of reach of many consumers. The new PLAY:1 is Sonos' smallest and cheapest speaker yet, and has been designed as an affordable, entry level music streaming device. It packs a significant punch considering its size and produces surprisingly good bass levels, though we would have loved to see a battery-operated option to enhance portability.
A compact, good looker
Arguably the best looking Sonos speaker.
The Sonos PLAY:1 may be the smallest speaker in the company's range, but it's arguably the best looking. The cylindrical shaped speaker has well rounded corners, a largely uninterrupted stainless steel grill that wraps around the outside, and a matte plastic base and top. It feels superbly constructed and there are no moving parts or evidence of cheap build quality. The PLAY:1 is available in black and white variants, with the silver trim alongside the speaker grill, and the Sonos branding remaining the same colour on both models.
Part of the appeal of Sonos devices in general is the minimalist look and feel, and the PLAY:1's small size makes that even more impressive. There's just three buttons on the top — volume up and down, and a play/pause button. The latter replaces the mute button found on the company's existing PLAY:3 and PLAY:5 speakers, though Sonos will mimic the play/pause control on older units with a software update.
The PLAY:1 lacks the portability of similar sized Bluetooth speakers.
The lack of a power button may seem strange initially, but Sonos says the speaker is designed to be always on, and claims it uses minimal electricity when not playing music. The design of the button also enables users to simply walk up to the speaker and press play to immediately begin playing the last track they were listening to.
Although the PLAY:1 is compact, it requires a power outlet to work and lacks the portability of similar sized Bluetooth speakers. Like all Sonos products, the speaker only works when paired with Sonos' wireless Bridge device (which plugs into your router via Ethernet), or by plugging directly into an Ethernet port. Unlike the PLAY:5, the PLAY:1 lacks a 3.5mm analog line input to play music directly, so you can only use it with the Sonos app on your computer or mobile device.
Sonos says the PLAY:1 has been designed to withstand strong humidity, such as a bathroom with a running shower, but the speaker is not waterproof or water resistant. It hasn't been designed to remain outside, unless it's situated in a covered space.
Keep it simple, Sonos
If you already own an existing Sonos speaker or PLAYBAR, adding the PLAY:1 to your home music setup is simple. If the PLAY:1 is your first Sonos speaker, which we suspect it will be for many users, there’s a quick start guide included in the box that runs you through the setup process. Provided the speaker is connected to your home Internet via the Sonos Bridge or directly through an Ethernet port, the PLAY:1 only takes a few minutes to set up and use, and the process is relatively straightforward. Sonos sells the Bridge as a seperate $75 accessory, but at the time of writing it comes bundled free with any PLAY:1 purchase.
The PLAY:1 requires the Sonos Controller app installed on your smartphone, tablet or computer. Using the app, you can play music from various sources including your local music library, and a number of music and radio services from the Internet. Setting up the system to access your full music library on a PC or Mac takes a few minutes, though the time will obviously depend on how large your library is, and the speed of your home Internet connection.
The real highlight of Sonos is a lengthy list of Internet music services.
Unfortunately, you can’t access a local music library on a Sonos system without your PC or Mac being active, and there's no way to use the device without the controller app. The app works reasonably well but the interface could definitely use an overhaul and creating a playlist isn't as simple as we would like. There's also too many taps required to do basic tasks, such as playing a song from your local music library, and music controls don't appear on the lock screen for both iOS and Android.
The real highlight of Sonos is the lengthy list of Internet music services it's compatible with. The extensive list includes Spotify, Rdio, Pandora, Deezer, MOG, JB Hi-Fi Now, Songl, TuneIn Radio and more. One notable omission is Google’s relatively new Play Music All Access service, though we expect this to be made available in the near future. As it's a network connected audio system, further services can easily be added over time.
Small in size, but not in sound
The sound produced defies its modest and compact frame.
The PLAY:1 produces surprisingly good sound quality considering its size. The device is powered by one 3.5in mid-woofer and one tweeter, each with its own custom design amplifier. Although the speaker is front-firing, it does a pretty good job of proving reasonable sound when you're not listening in its direct line of sight. This makes it ideal for various positions in your home, such as a kitchen, a bathroom or even an outdoor setting that's undercover. Audiophiles will remain unimpressed with the lack of stereo separation, but most everyday users will be more than happy with the performance of the PLAY:1 given its size.Read more: Harman/Kardon Aura wireless speaker
We were particularly impressed with the mid-range, although the standard EQ setting is too bass heavy and tends to muddle mids. You'll fare much better by using the EQ on the Sonos Controller app to turn down the bass. During testing, we found the PLAY:1 excelled playing acoustic, jazz and rap music but wasn't as impressive when listening to heavy rock and metal tracks.
Volume levels are excellent for a speaker this size, and the PLAY:1 definitely packs enough punch to fill a medium-large sized room with sound. If you're coming from the larger PLAY:3 you may long for a bit of extra bass, but we were constantly surprised with performance during testing. Overall, the sound the PLAY:1 produces definitely defies its modest and compact frame.
The beauty of the Sonos system comes when you pair multiple speakers together. In the PLAY:1's case, it means that two devices can be paired together for stereo listening. Two PLAY:1's could also theoretically be used as rear-speakers in a home theatre room when paired with the Sonos PLAYBAR and Sonos SUB. The latter is of course a very expensive solution (as is even two PLAY:1's by themselves) but the option is there nonetheless.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Subaru XV 2017 review
- 2 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 3 Kogan Atlas UltraSlim Pro laptop: full, in-depth review
- 4 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 5 Kogan curved 4K UHD 55-inch LED LCD TV review
Latest News Articles
- Plex Cloud is now open to all paid users
- Google eyes remote content controls for parents in YouTube Kids app
- Up next for Apple TV: 4K streaming reportedly in the works
- Apple’s original TV shows are almost ready for prime time
- Apple snags Amazon Fire TV exec to lead Apple TV efforts
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Samsung Galaxy S8 phone: full, in-depth review
- Ryzen 5 vs Intel Core i5 CPU Australian review
- Mass Effect Andromeda review: One for the fans
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- CCTechnical Consultant - ITSM/HP Service ManagerACT
- FTService ManagerNSW
- FTWeb Developer | Parramatta | Initial 6 month contractNSW
- CCNetwork Solution ArchitectNSW
- FTIT Service Desk Manager - Team LeaderNSW
- FTVDI EngineerACT
- CCTechnical Consultant - ITSM/HP Service ManagerQLD
- CCSOE Business AnalystACT
- FTSecurity and Technical Risk ManagerQLD
- FTSenior Solutions Architect - Network & Unified ComunicationsACT
- FTSecurity Solutions Manager - Perth BasedNSW
- FTJava Team LeadVIC
- FTSolution ArchitectQLD
- TPEOI - Developer/Tester/Software EngineerACT
- TPProduct ManagerVIC
- FTCRM Technical Specialist (Oracle Eloqua)SA
- FTBusiness AnalystNSW
- CCBlue Prism DeveloperVIC
- TPSenior SQL Database AdministratorNSW
- CCIT SAS Visual Analytics DeveloperVIC
- FTICT Contractors for multiple Federal Government OpportunitiesSA
- CCICT Project CoordinatorNSW
- CCPersonal AssistantNSW
- FTTeam Leader Application SupportVIC