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Sonos Play:3 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £259
inc VAT

Excellent sound quality in a small package, the Play:3 is a good introduction to Sonos and a good way to expand an existing system


Inside there are three digital amps, one each for the two mid-range drivers and tweeter. On top of that, there’s also a bass radiator. It’s a slightly cut-down version of the Play:5, which has five digital amplifiers for the two tweeters, two mid-range drivers and dedicate bass driver.

Despite that, sound quality is fantastic and incredibly well balanced. Bass is loud and crunching, but doesn’t dominate, while the tweeter and mid-range drivers make sure all of the delicate detail and vocals in a track come out to the full. Volume is impressive, too, and we’re pleased to say that the heavy case means you can listen loudly without any creaking or distortion.

Listening to the Play:3 side-by-side with the Play:5, we found that the sound quality was similar. The Play:5 has the slight edge, with deeper bass and a better high-end (as you’d expect from its extra drivers), but the Play:3 certainly holds its own. Again, the benefits of buying Sonos are that you can mix and match components to suit the location of the player.

Stereo separation isn’t well defined on this player, but that’s to be expected because its speakers are so close together. However, if you buy two Play:3s you can put them in a stereo pair, where one player becomes the output for the left channel and the other the right channel. Sound quality at this point is pretty incredible and you get as much stereo separation as you could want. Most people won’t want to spend more than £500 for this, but it’s a useful feature if you have two players in separate rooms and want to put them together for a party, say.

The Play:5 also has this feature, but it’s important to note that you can’t mix and match a Play:5 and Play:3 for a stereo pair. There are some things missing from the Play:5, though, including the headphone input and line-in; however, we doubt that many people will miss or care about these and the threaded socket for a wall-mounting bracket is a much better addition.

Sonos Play:3 controls

In terms of controls, the Play:3 follows the standard Sonos convention that it has just volume and mute buttons on the top; everything else is managed by a controller. Trust us, it all makes perfect sense when you start using it.

So, the real question is, is the Play:3 worth buying. The answer is, yes, but it depends on what you want to do. If you’ve got the budget and room, the Play:5 has better sound quality; if you’re on a tighter budget or don’t have much room the Play:3 is both a great introduction to Sonos and an excellent way to expand an existing system into new parts of your home.

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Basic Specifications

Media Streamer typeaudio streaming device

Audio Compatibility

Audio MP3 playbackYes
Audio WMA playbackYes
Audio WMA-DRM playbackNo
Audio AAC playbackYes
Audio Protected AAC playbackNo
Audio OGG playbackNo
Audio WAV playbackYes
Audio Audible playbackNo
Other audio formatsFlac

Video Compatibility

Other video formatsFlac

Image Compatibility

Image BMP supportNo
Image JPEG supportNo
Image TIFF supportNo

Network Interfaces

Wired network ports1x 10/100
Wireless networking supportYes

AV Interfaces

Minijack line outputs0
Minijack headphone outputs0
Stereo phono outputs0
Coaxial S/PDIF outputs0
Optical S/PDIF outputs0
Total SCART sockets0
HDMI outputs0
Component outputs0
S-video output0
Composite outputs0
Other connectorsnone



Server Compatibility

Software includednone

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB

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