Always looking for new ways to make good on their promise to let users stream all the music on earth in any room, Sonos today announces a new player — the Play:3 — and a new naming scheme for their product line. From now on you'll hear no more about ZonePlayers or ZoneBridges; the Sonos router is now just called "Bridge" (and gets a price drop to $49, by the way); players are "Play" rather than S-something-or-other; streamers are "Connect."
It's a kinder, gentler nomenclature, and in line with the friendlier face the Play:3 represents. The Play:3, like previous Sonos players we've listened to (functionality remains unchanged) provides easy access to locally stored music libraries and most any streaming service you can imagine, all controllable from whatever device you have handy. But the 3 is a lot more portable than the much bulkier Play:5 (the former S5), and it's single tweeter acknowledges in design the practical fact that a single unit — no matter how many drivers it holds — can't produce much of a stereo image. The Play:3, like the 5, is ostensibly a stereo unit, but in an interesting twist, it includes a motion sensor; turn the unit on its end and the internal processor sums the signal to mono and applies EQ to suit; all the better to use it as a "radio" in tight spots, or to pair it with another in stereo.
The slightly lower price point ($299 to the Play:5's $399) may not seem like a big deal, but it brings the price of a stereo pair (an application for which the petite unit is so eminently suited) significantly more reasonable, and it's probablly about as close to the bone as Sonos can price their product and have it do everything it does so well.
And that's a lot. We'll have a full review next week from our very own Brent Butterworth, so check back with Techˆ2 on Monday.
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