Getting started with the Sonos Play 1

Just a quick post as a few friends wanted to know how I was getting on with the Sonos Play:1.

My wife and I wanted something that would work well for a Kitchen stereo. After trying a few radios over the years that all seemed to be not quite right, we wanted something that didn’t cost the earth, and provided great quality sound.

After putting a shout out on twitter, the overwhelming response was try Sonos. I was initially skeptical, as I don’t like being locked into systems, but thought I’d try it out, after Sonos were pretty responsive on twitter (as you’d suspect them to be for potential customers!).

The Speaker and setup

It arrived quickly, and after a swift unboxing (it comes well packaged in a cloth bag and sturdy cardboard protection) plugged it in. It was nice to see that it came with a well designed power cord that plugs in flush with the base, plus optional ethernet cable (not needed if you are on wifi). It’s nicely designed (we went with white but it comes in black also) and has a reassuring heft to it (the scales said 1.8 kg).

Sonos Detail

I was pleased to see the setup guide was literally “plug it in and install the app”, which I did and register an account. It then figured out my wifi network from my phone, asked for the password and busied itself installing an update and rebooting.

One possible issue: no power switch and no obvious ‘standby mode’ in the app. We plan on locating it near to a socket so not a big problem, but I’d be interested to see how power consumption is. One would have thought that implementing a standby mode would be something they could do with a software update, but maybe its something to do with the hardware (which is several years old).

Range

Our kitchen sucks for wi-fi as in the corner of the house, so I clarified with Sonos as to their two setups: regular (wifi) and BOOST (using a seperately sold Sonos BOOST unit or another Sonos Speaker) and the general advice was to try regular first, which I did.

It’s all really subjective to how your living area is set out, but we put the Sonos in the furthest reaches of our kitchen (usually a dead-zone for other internet radios) and it managed to connect with a solid signal with aplomb.

Older Sonos units needed to have at least one unit connected to your router, but now they have wi-fi this isn’t the case anymore.

The software

As a UI designer it was nice to see how simple the app was - pretty minimal and nicely designed. We installed Spotify, and Stitcher Smart Radio for podcasts with little problem, and I was able to play music direct from my wife’s iPhone without issues. It works with the usual suspects (iTunes etc) but if you host your own music looks like it has support for DLNA sources like Plex (for which there’s a beta Plex link in the list of sources to add).

A nice touch was that having setup the app on my Android device, there was no setup needed when installing on iOS - not even a login - very cleverly done (through being on the same network I think).

Thoughts after a few hours of listening

The speaker seems to have warmed up and settled down in terms of tone, and sounds great, and feels like a much bigger speaker given it’s diminutive size. I’ve thrown random Spotify Pop Playlists, Pendulum, The Eagles, Sheryl Crow, Miles Davis, Gregory Porter, some classical and even Kylie at it and it hasn’t missed a beat.

We moved it from the kitchen to the living room to further test it, and are really happy with how even as a small speaker it fills a large space pretty well - think if we got another we could get away with just another Play 1 instead of something larger, but your needs may vary.

All-in-all I’d recommend the Sonos Play:1!