Sonos Play 1 Review – Wireless Speaker System


Digital audio has now has now gone truly portable. Gone are the days when our collections were built up of different types of physical media and you needed a dedicated device for playing your albums. Most of us carry our music collections around on our phones or stream songs from popular online services. As your music library is truly portable then it is only right that you are looking for a top wireless speaker system to play your favourite tunes on. Enter the Sonos Play 1. Sonos make some of the very best sound systems and the Play 1 is a popular choice. In this Sonos Play 1 review we assess what this wireless speaker can do and look at its best features. We provide you with the full Sonos Play 1 specs and look at different uses for the device.

Sonos Play 1 Price Compare

Use the Sonos Play 1 Price Compare table below to pitch the device against other wireless speaker systems.

JVC Flip 4
JVC Flip 4
Truly portable speaker. Connect up to two smartphones or tablets. Built-in battery with up to 12 hours life. Fully water resistant. Connect multiple speakers using JBL connect+.
Bose Sound Link 2
Bose Sound Link 2
Big sound from small device. Rugged soft touch silicone exterior. Built-in battery with up to 8 hours life. Mic for digital assistants like Siri & Google.
SONOS Play 1
SONOS Play 1
Excellent sound, low price. Stream audio from the internet or wireless devices. Controlled by SONOS app. Link multiple speakers to stream to any room. Excellent build quality.
Sonos One
Same feature rich wireless speaker as SONOS Play 1 but with built-in Amazon Alexa. It includes the full Alexa so you can control your music, appliances or ask questions.
Bose SoundTouch 20
Bose SoundTouch 20
Works with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices to play music services like Amazon Music, Spotify & your home collections. Can be used as part of a multi room setup. Supports Alexa.
SONOS Play 3
Sonos Play 3
The big brother of the Play 1. All the great features including access to both local music and online services but with more power. Can be combined with other SONOS speakers.
Bang and Olufsen Beoplay M5
Bang and Olufsen Beoplay M5
Provides the True360 Bang & Olufsen Signature Sound. Crafted aluminium finished top. Personalise your sound through Beoplay app. Can be part of a multi-room solution.
SONOS Play 5
Sonos Play 5
The big daddy from SONOS. If you have a large room to fill or simply want power this will deliver. Features six amplifiers & six speaker drivers. Supports Alexa and multi-room.
Sony HTCT290
Sony HTCT290
Provides the full surround sound experience. Slim and fully wall mountable. Stream music over Bluetooth. USB socket for digital files. Perfect for HTPC & TV solutions.

Sonos Play 1 Review – Wireless Speaker System

If you are new to wireless speaker systems see our Best Wireless Speakers for Home Audio guide. There are many reasons that you could be scouring the internet looking for a decent wireless speaker. This may be for simple music streaming or you may be looking for a surround sound system for your HTPC setup. In this Sonos Play 1 review we will try to address all use cases for the speaker system.  This will help you decide whether or not this device is suitable for your needs. We will show our Sonos Play 1 unboxing and talk about what we liked and disliked about the product. [Read: Best Wireless Speakers for Home Audio]

What is Sonos Play 1?

The Sonos Play 1 is a popular wireless speaker solution by one of the worlds leading audio brands. Sonos create a number of wireless speaker solutions in a range of categories including the Play 3, Play 5 and the new Sonos One. The Sonos Play 1 is a standalone wireless speaker system designed to be compact enough to move around and yet provide a high quality sound output so that the device can be used as your main home sound system. [Read: Whats the Difference Between Sonos Play 1 and Sonos One?]

The speaker is designed to fit into any small space you have in your house; bookshelf, TV cabinet or on top of your fridge and will blend in with its surroundings. Sonos use the slogan “Sounds bigger than it looks”.  They have tried to show that you do not need to install a massive audio system to enjoy top quality sound.

Sonos Play 1 Review
Sonos Play 1 Boxed

So it is designed to be compact and produce great sound but what else makes the Sonos Play 1 stand out? The Play 1 could be considered a smart devices and is intended to be extremely easy to use. Everything can be controlled from the accompanying mobile phone app. The app is available from all popular app stores and allows you to stream tracks from you mobile itself or hook up to many online services like Spotify and Napster. The Sonos Play 1 can be connected to pretty much any device that has wireless connectivity. This creates many possibilities for the product. The Play 1 has been given an affordable mid-range price point making it very accessible to the mainstream market. [Read: The Best Things You Can Do with Amazon Echo & Alexa]

Sonos Play 1 Unboxing

Before we take a look at the Sonos Play 1 specs lets see whats in the box. The speaker used in our Sonos Play 1 review has a black finish but the device is also available in white. When you purchase any Sonos product what is apparent from the get-go is the quality they put into everything. Slide the Play 1 speaker out of the box and it comes in a protective sleeve as shown with a seal at the very top. The sleeve is made from a form of cloth rather than polystyrene or bubble wrap. Whilst you will of course consider this minor is gives off the feel of quality right from when you begin your Sonos Play 1 unboxing. The speaker itself feels rather heavy as you lift it out weighing in at 4.08 pounds. [Read: Best TV Box for Netflix and Online Streaming Services]

Sonos Play 1 Unboxing
Sonos Play 1 Packaging

Sonos Play 1 Build Quality & Design

The image below shows the full Sonos Play 1 unboxing. Within the package you get the Sonos Play 1 wireless speaker itself, a power cable, an Ethernet cable and a small quick-start instruction booklet. The speaker looks excellent. You will notice that its compact design makes it suitable for almost any tight space. At this stage you will continue to see the high standard of build with Sonos products. The device feels robust in the hand and like it is built to last when moved from room to room. The package is rather minimalist in terms of its contents but the Play 1 is designed to be easy to use and setup. More on this later. The image below shows the full Sonos Play 1 unboxing. [Read: Steam Link Review – Stream Games to Every Room]

Sonos Play 1 Specs
Sonos Play One Unboxed

Sonos Play 1 Specs & Performance

The table below details the full Sonos Play 1 specs and what you get for your money. Further Sonos Play 1 specs can be found at the official Sonos website.

Brand SONOS Width 11.9 cm Weight 1.85 kg
Model Play 1 Depth 12 cm Colour Black & White
Type Wirelss Speaker Height 16.2 cm Connectivity Wireless & Ethernet

Next in our SONOS Play 1 review we must look at performance because this can be what defines a speaker. In all honesty you will struggle to find a similar sized speaker that that provide such strong sound output. Sure it will not reach the heights of the Play 3 but its bigger brother comes in at a significantly higher price tag.  The mid-level sub-woofer provides decent base and when combined with its well built tweeter it produces really clear sounds.

It’s wireless connectivity is exceptional but there are  options for use in rooms with a poor wireless signal. Hook up to your wireless network using the Ethernet port for an uninterrupted streaming experience or you can purchase the device to stretch out the range of your wireless signal. We must reiterate again that you will seriously struggle to find such good performance and sound quality at this price point. [ReadBest NAS for Plex – A Network Media Server]

Uses for the Sonos Play 1

The Sonos Play 1 can be used as your main sound system in your home or although a little on the heavy side makes a good portable device to move from room to room. The Sonos app allows the connectivity of multiple Play 1 speakers. Using this feature allows you to setup two or more in the same room to better fill your space with sound. This opens up the door to stereo streaming or you can place the devices in different locations and stream different songs to different rooms. Purchasing multiple Play 1 speakers can really complement the smart home experience. Sonos Play 1 wireless speakers can be combined with any other Sonos devices within the app. [Read: 3 Best Windows TV Stick Devices- Alternatives to Android]

The Sonos app allows you to stream from a range of sources and a selection of these have been detailed below. [Read: Plex Media Server Review – Stream to Multiple Rooms & Devices]

  • Receive radio stations by Tunein.
  • Stream content from Napster, Sound Cloud & Spotify.
  • Play songs from Amazon Music, Apple Music and Google Play Music.
  • Stream from your TV.
  • Play songs that you have installed on the local mobile device you are running the app on.

These are just some of the options and the  Sonos Play 1 is a versatile wireless speaker solution presenting many audio streaming possibilities. [Read: Top 5 Handheld Games Consoles]

Sonos Play 1 Specification
Sonos Play 1 Front View

Sonos Play 1 Performance & Usability

The Sonos Play 1 is a completely wireless speaker solution with no connectivity ports for inserting media. You simply connect the speaker to your home network either over wireless or using an Ethernet cable. From there everything is controlled using the Sonos app. The Sonos app is available for both IOS & Android devices and allows you to stream a range of media sources to your speaker. The app is extremely easy to use and you can be streaming your favorite content within minutes of download. [Read: Top Mini ITX Cases for the Smallest HTPC Build]

Sonos Play 1 Price Compare
Sonos Play 1 Top View

On the top of the device you can see a couple of buttons and an activity light. As its name suggests the Play / Pause button allows you to start and stop tracks and you can also double tap this to skip onto the next track. There is also a volume control to adjust sound levels outside of the Sonos app. These simple controls are all that you will need on the physical device. [Read: Best Blu-ray Player Software]

Sonos Play 1 Price

One of the real highlights of our review is the Sonos Play 1 price and put simply it is well worth the money. You get a great quality speaker suitable for any location that produces very clear sounds. It is easy to use, robust and from a brand that you can trust. In a league based on similar range wireless speakers the Sonos Play 1 will not fail to impress you. See the Sonos Play 1 specs above to compare to similar wireless speaker products.

Sonos Play 1 Wireless Speaker
Sonos Play 1 Rear View

HMP Verdict – Sonos Play 1 Review

Sonos is definitely an audio brand that you can trust. Unfortunately their products will often come with a price tag to match this. This is not the case with the Play 1 and you really do get a quality sound system for your money. Its design will blend in with any environment and its robustness and high build quality is definitely impressive. The device is very easy to setup and use. The Sonos app provides access to all the audio sources that you will ever need. The Sonos Play 1 price will allow you to combine multiple speakers and create the true smart home audio experience. Our Sonos Play 1 review is our first in the audio sector and we kick off with a top product. [Read: Best CPU for Under 100 – Power without the Price]