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Sonos Playbar review: An elegant soundbar that comes at a price

Christopher Minasians David Ludlow
25 Jun 2018
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
599
inc VAT

Expensive, but looks gorgeous and can be extended into a 5.1 system and can join your existing Sonos multi-room system

Pros 
Sound quality
Streaming capabilities
Design and build quality
Cons 
Post-Brexit price
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Sonos Playbar review: Streaming

When you buy a Sonos product, you're also buying a multi-room audio player. This means you can send all of your locally stored audio and streaming media services. The Sonos system is one of the best supported when it comes to streaming services and this includes the likes of Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music, Tidal, TuneIn Radio, Deezer and Google Play Music. You can also do all of the clever Sonos things, such as playing the same music on your Playbar and other players in different rooms.

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A lot of home cinema systems don't sound as good when they're faced with music, but we'd venture to say that Playbar is the best Sonos standalone player, even better than the excellent Play:5. The depth and warmth is evident in all of the tracks we listened to.

The detail is excellent, with clear vocals and great balance with proper bass, mid-range and treble. Adding the SUB makes a big difference and really brings out the best in tracks, adding that extra level of sound. Adding the surround speakers, just makes the sound fill the room, but they're strictly not necessary.

Radiohead's No Surprises sounded fantastic, with Thom Yorke's vocals clear against the gentle guitar track and subtle bass track. Switching to OK Go's This Too Shall Pass, you get the full sense of the bass-heavy intro. Putting on Foo Fighters' Enough Space, you get the swirling guitars moving swiftly across and around the soundbar.

Sonos Playbar review: Verdict

Taken as a whole system, there's no denying that this soundbar sounds fantastic. For films and TV, the clear audio and excellent range make it a fantastic soundbar. It's great that you can also add extra components to make it a full surround-sound system.

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However, there's no getting away from the fact that it soon becomes expensive: the full 5.1 system costs a staggering £1,716. For less you could buy a full-on home cinema amplifier, such as the Onkyo TX-NR515 and an amazing set of small speakers, such as the Q Acoustics 7000 Cinema. That would still leave you around £500 to buy a standalone Sonos player, even after its post-Brexit price hike.

Still, the Playbar has all of the clever Sonos stuff built-in and you can extend your system later. For other soundbars, have a look at our pick of the best soundbars. For around £400, we'd recommend the Samsung HW-MS650, instead.

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