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Sonos Play:5 review (2015)

Sonos Play:5 front
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £429
inc VAT

The updated Sonos Play:5 is far sleeker than its predecessor and sounds great


Speakers: 6, RMS power output: Not disclosed, Dock connector: None, Networking: None, Dimensions: 364x154x203mm, Weight: 6.36kg, Streaming formats: SonosNet


Sound quality

You’re able to use it to group speakers if you have multiple Sonos speakers around the house and want to play music simultaneously, as well as pairing two Play:5s as a stereo pair (one for the left channel and one for the right). Sonos has said that if you position the speakers vertically you get a wider soundstage; horizontally gives you more distinct stereo separation. 

If you have a Sonos PLAYBAR and SUB you can also use two Play:5s for the rear channels to create a wireless 5.1 setup, although this will prove quite costly; I recommend using Play:1 speakers for this job. As well as acting as an internet-connected multiroom speaker, there’s an auxiliary line in on the back of the Play:5 if you want to connect a wired audio source. This can be anything from a CD player to a turntable.

Inside the Play:5 are six custom-designed drivers: three mid-woofers and three tweeters for the high frequencies. These are paired with six class-D amplifiers. The Play:5 is able to deliver room-filling sound with aplomb. The bass, in particular, is rich with a good degree of weight and impact but they don’t muddy the highs. The mids and treble, in fact, are bright and crisp. The hi-hats in a jazz track are distinct and vocals have a wonderful clarity. Across genres the Sonos managed to perform exceptionally delivering impact and excitement when tracks required it, or a more delicate touch for acoustic, vocal-driven songs.

Sonos Play:5 connections


Acoustic performance can be drastically affected by how you place your speakers, whether that’s close to a wall, recessed in a corner or hidden behind a curtain. The latter, according to Sonos, is a common occurrence when it talks to its users. Not everyone wants to have their speakers out on display it seems.

Sonos’ new Trueplay tuning software comes as part of the Sonos Controller app. Trueplay attempts to bring “acoustic transparency” by calibrating your speaker based on the acoustic response of your room. The speaker will emit a test sound and use your iOS device’s microphone to take measurements as you walk around the room. You’ll need to wave your arms and device around in circles and there’s a pretty thorough tutorial in the app. It will also tell you when you’re not moving enough.

Sonos Trueplay App

The Trueplay software then analyses how the test frequency bounces off different surfaces in your room and then tunes the speaker accordingly for the best result. Trueplay, at present, will unfortunately only work with iPhones, iPads and iPods. This is because of the standard hardware inside, so Sonos knows how each microphone performs. There’s simply too much variation in Android and Windows Phone devices until it can build a hardware catalogue of the various microphone hardware.

In testing, the Trueplay did help but only in more extreme scenarios such as when the speaker was put in an enclosed bookshelf. Where it sounded muffled before, with a lot of the treble being lost, Trueplay adjusted the EQ to emphasise the higher frequencies, helping to restore some of the lost detail. Trueplay is certainly something worth doing, even if it’s not always going to make a massive difference. It’s just a shame you might need to borrow an iOS device in order to do so.


There’s an awful lot to like about the Sonos Play:5. The only real disappointment is the lack of Bluetooth support when rivals, such as the Bose SoundTouch 10, are now introducing speakers that have support for both internet music and Bluetooth connected devices. It leaves Sonos feeling slightly behind, which isn’t something you would necessarily associate with the company that could be considered a pioneer in bringing multiroom audio into the mainstream. 

Sonos Play:5 top

Regardless, if you’re an existing Sonos owner looking to introduce a new speaker or are buying your first, the Play:5 is a great sounding and attractive speaker. The Sonos Play:5 certainly sounds wonderful and lives up to its position as Sonos’ new flagship speaker. 

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RMS power outputNot disclosed
Audio inputs3.5mm stereo
Audio outputsNone
Dock connectorNone
USB portNone
Memory card supportNone
App supportiOS, Android, Windows, OS X
Battery capacityNone
Streaming formatsSonosNet
Supported serversUPnP, SMB
Audio formatsMP3, AAC, Ogg, FLAC, WAV, AIFF, WMA
Internet streaming servicesSpotify, Google Play Music, Soundcloud, Deezer