Review
Hands On: Sonos PLAY:1 Wireless Speaker
The PLAY:1 is the cheapest Sonos Speaker and you'll probably want several of them.
October 14, 2013 by Grant Clauser

Sonos has carved a strong place for itself in the home audio market for its easy-to-use wireless music system. Now it’s a bit easier to own. The new Sonos PLAY:1 speaker, at $199, is the cheapest Sonos product (not counting the Bridge) on the market, but it’s every bit as easy to use as the rest of the Sonos family.

If you’re a fan of Sonos, you already know how it works—connect your Sonos gear, fire up the app and play whatever music you want. The PLAY:1 works exactly the same.

The PLAY:1 is the company’s smallest speaker. It contains two drivers—a midrange and a tweeter plus built-in digital amplification.

Like the larger PLAY:3, the PLAY:1 can be used alone or paired for true stereo. If you want a little more bass, you can add the Sonos subwoofer ($700). The PLAY:1 also can be combined with the Sonos PLAYBAR soundbar as the two rear channels to make a surround setup.

The PLAY:1, available in white or black/gray, is about the size of a coffee can. On top are two buttons: a volume up/down rocker and a play/pause button. That last button is something new for Sonos. Previous Sonos speakers included a mute button in that spot. If you press the button twice quickly your music will skip to the next track. That’s a nice little fix that relieves you from having to open up your phone app just to advance a song.

I spent the weekend listening to two PLAY:1 speakers, both as stand-alone speakers and as a stereo pair and found the new model easy to like.

READ: Sonos PLAY:3 Review Here.

For people who already own some Sonos components and just want to add an inexpensive speaker to another room, such as a bedroom or den, the PLAY:1 works well. I simply plugged in the power cords on the two PLAY:1s, opened up the Sonos app on my iPhone (a system update for the Sonos components was required first) and then went into the settings menu to add additional devices. Within minutes the system had found and configured the PLAY:1s. I then named them for the rooms they were located and proceeded to send music their way.

Through the Sonos app (iOS or Android) you can listen to nearly any online music system you can think of, including Pandora, Spotify, Slacker, internet radio… all of them. You can also listen to your own network-accessible music or tunes stored on your phone via an AirPlay-like feature that uses Wi-Fi. Just like the rest of the Sonos system, you can play different music in each room or the same music all over the house. An update to the Sonos app also allows you to use the same app for multiple houses. If you have Sonos in both your main house and vacation home, this improvement will be valuable to you.

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Grant Clauser - Technology and Web Editor, Electronic House
Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had training from THX, the Home Acoustics Alliance, Control4 and Sencore. His latest book is Necessary Myths. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.

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