When I reviewed the Sonos system back in late 2008, I absolutely fell in love with it. I listened to more music while I had the Sonos review units than I had the entire previous year. I was extremely disappointed to have to give them back when the review period was over. Since that time, I've wanted to own my own Sonos gear, but frankly the price was prohibitive. Not only were they expensive themselves, but they requires speakers. I've never had high quality speakers of any sort, and adding those to the cost of the already expensive Sonos system was just not practical for me.
Sonos has changed their line-up a bit since I reviewed them, though. They now offer their wireless magic packaged into two different speaker selections: the Play:3 and the Play:5. They're still expensive, but the bundled units felt like a more approachable price. Additionally, they consumed less space than the older product plus external speakers. I decided to splurge and buy one of each, plus the requisite Zone Bridge to tie them together. This was ostensibly a Christmas gift for the whole family.
I waffled for a long time before committing to the purchase, because it's a sizeable investment in something we didn't really need. Moreover, I considered just getting a pair of Play:3 speakers but finally decided that the line-in on the Play:5 was a worthwhile investment should we ever decide to use it as the speaker for our movie watching. I ultimately reconciled the high price with the knowledge that this was an investment into something we'd be enjoying for a very long time.
Since they arrived, we've been making great use of them. Whether we're streaming music from Pandora, or listening to our collection of MP3s, or just streaming NPR stations, we've been using them daily. We listen to more news programming while at home -- while eating breakfast or eating dinner -- now than ever before. Sure, a simple radio in the kitchen might have accomplished this same task, but being able to use our various smartphones and tablets to find programming from all around the world is a real joy.
And being able to switch from news to music with the push of a button is simply wonderful. The kids both have the Sonos app installed on their iPod Touches, and enjoy controlling the streaming music for the whole house. They can crank the music in the living room while romping with Josephine while Angela and I can have a conversation in the kitchen while listening to the same music at a more modest volume.
The Sonos system was as easy to setup as it was when I reviewed it three years ago. It's simple, and it just works without any surprises or fuss. I was a little disappointed to find that Last.fm requires a paid subscription in order to stream to Sonos, but Pandora works just fine. And of course I have tens of gigabytes of MP3s of my favorite music available to stream at any time. All in all, the Sonos has been a terrific purchase.