Even before we started to get a choice in AirPlay speakers and some decent bluetooth enabled iPod speaker docks, Sonos was delivering amongst the best wireless audio solutions in the market for home use, and with the Sonos Play:3 they made the entry cost even lower.
The Sonos Play:3 is the little brother of the Sonos Play:5 (formerly known as Zoneplayer S5) and a smart move by Sonos given that the larger unit is perhaps too big for some room settings, and too pricy for many of us to consider, especially for a first wireless speaker as we build up our home audio system. With the Play:3 Sonos has delivered a smaller, and suprisingly versatile system. Both the size and overall design makes it fit in pretty much anywhere. The shape allows you to display it in either portrait or landscape mode, and Sonos have added an accelerometer to get around the issue of the sound picture changing depending on how you display the Play:3 speaker.
Sonos Play: 3 is a pure wireless system in the sense that there is no line-in or USB alternative for connecting an audio source, so if you are looking for a system that can support all types of connection you should look somewhere else. All you require to start using your Play:3 is a network connection through an ethernet cable (no built in wi-fi) or you can buy the associated Sonos Bridge (ca £40) to make your Play:3 speaker work without the need to be directly connected to the router, giving you the extra freedom when it comes to placement of your speaker in the house.
Setting up your Sonos Play:3 is fairly straight-forward. Once it is plugged in and you have set up an account, download the associated app for iOS devices or use the dedicated controller, and you have instant access to all your stored music on your iOS device, computer, network storage device, Spotify, Napster, Last.fm and many more internet services, including thousands of internet radio stations. Plenty of choice to keep you going.
Inside the Sonos Play:3 you find three integrated speakers in the form of one tweeter, two mid-range drivers, and a bass radiator. Each driver is powered by its own dedicated amplifier (3 Class D amps), providing what is reported by many reviewers to be a very high quality audio experience (top rating from ExpertReviews amongst other). I have listened to the system a few times myself and have to agree, but will give a full review and rating of sound performance once had a chance to properly test it myself.
To get an even better audio experience from the Sonos Play:3 you can consider getting two of them and pairing them up, which will give you a more true stereo experience. When paired together the two speakers will naturally provide a left and right audio. One of the other key benefits of going down the Sonos route is the ability to build on the system to create a full house audio solution, controlled from one point if so desired. You can then choose to have separate music played in different rooms or perfectly sync the music up throughout the whole house.
It can also support AirPlay streaming if you so desire. Here is a guide to AirPlay on Sonos.
The Sonos Play:3 speaker is available from amongst other the following UK retailers.