Review: Sonos S5 ZonePlayer and 3.4 System Update

Sonos S5 ZonePlayers (2) and Sonos ZoneBridge 100
$798.00 (as tested)
Sonos S5 ZonePlayer ($399/each)
• 3.5-in woofer
• (2) 3-in midrange drivers
• (2) tweeters
• (5) Class-D amplifiers
• (2) Ethernet ports
• Line In (analog)
• headphone jack
• 8 1/2 X 14 2/5 X 4 4/5 in; 9 1/8 lb
Sonos ZoneBridge 100 ($99)
• (2) Ethernet ports
• SonosNet (wireless)
• 1 3/5 X 4 1/3 X 4 1/3 in; 3/5 lb

Here at Sound+Vision, we've long loved the Sonos whole-house wireless system (giving it our 2005 Editor's Choice Award), and we've followed it closely though various changes and improvements; its most recent incarnation, the S5 all-in-one, impressed us - predictably enough - with its feature set, simplicity, and sheer user-friendliness.

We're also big fans of Apple's AirPlay. This latest version of the company's audio-streaming protocol is a snap to use, delivering on the ease-of-use promised by UPnP and DLNA, and looks to be an emerging standard, though at this point it's generated more excitement than it has actual compliant devices. That's sure to change, and with players like Google also looking longingly at the connected home/multiroom media space, the introduction of partner products is sure to pick up in the year ahead - which we're looking forward to, but with the understanding that the dedicated purveyors of wireless multizone audio are going to be facing a lot of competition from the tech industry titans.

So the announcement last month that Sonos - a pioneer in the relatively low-cost wireless music space - had added support for Apple's revamped protocol came as welcome news indeed. At the same time, Sonos also announced the addition of a free Android controller app to their controller lineup (the company has existing iOS and Mac/PC desktop applications), giving users on the most popular computing and mobile platforms the ability to access their Sonos environment from pretty much any device they might have handy. So we gave the combo a spin.