Another day, another company that wants to take on Sonos. This time it’s Samsung. The product is called Shape.
The Samsung Shape is a wireless speaker and multiroom audio system. There are two devices. One is the M7 speaker ($399). The other is the WAM250 hub ($49). The speaker, like the Sonos PLAY:3, can connect to your wireless network and run a suite of streaming music apps. Unlike the Sonos speaker, it includes Bluetooth and NFC connectivity. If you have two M7s you can set them up as a set of stereo speakers, or just play stereo from a single speaker. Inside the M7 is a foam core woofer, CNT pulp cone mid-range speakers, and silk dome tweeters.
If you want to go beyond one room and set up wireless music for the whole house, you’ll need the M7 hub, which connects to your router via Ethernet to be a music gateway. It then sends music wirelessly to any M7 speakers in your house, again, like how the Sonos Bridge works with the Sonos PLAY:3 speakers.
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Using the Shape app (iOS or Android) you can stream music to your whole house or just to individual speakers. You can’t use your old speakers or stereo system though. There’s no Samsung Shape equivalent of the Sonos Connect:Amp, Nuvo Wireless P200 (read our review here) or VOCO V-Zone.
With the hub installed, you can access a handful of music apps including Pandora, TuneIn Radio, Amazon Cloud Player and Rhapsody. That’s a short list of music services, but it’s at least competitive with Nuvo and VOCO, though Sonos beats them all with about 20 music services.
The system uses a multi-channel mesh network to prevent network traffic problems by automatically searching for the clearest data paths.
Will more music services and additional products be added to the Shape system? That’s very likely. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Samsung add Shape functionality to a soundbar and a home theater system by January’s CES. In fact you’ll probably see it added to all of their smart TVs as well so you can sync the music to your whole-house speakers as well as your main home theater system.
The Shape M7 speaker and hub will be available on October 13 (which also happens to be the season premiere of Walking Dead—Yay).
Also check out:
Should You Install a Wireless Audio System Yourself?
Soundbars: Feature Options and Installation Issues
Great Ways to Maximize Your Great Room
Review: Sonos PLAYBAR Soundbar
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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. He's also the author of the book The Trouble with Rivers
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.