Sonos is refreshing its best-sounding music speaker as we speak, however the brand new product is so just like its predecessor that there’s zero purpose for anybody with a Play:5 to contemplate an improve. That new speaker known as the Sonos 5. And although it now shares branding with the Sonos One, which was the corporate’s first product with built-in voice assistant capabilities, the Sonos 5 oddly does not embody a built-in microphone to be used with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.
Sonos advised me that it’s absolutely centered on sound efficiency with this product and factors to that because the reasoning for why it didn’t add mics to the design. The corporate additionally says that prospects are likely to put the Play:5 (and now Sonos 5) in spots the place a voice assistant could be inconsequential and of restricted use. I’m not likely satisfied by both of these explanations, however privacy-minded shoppers will recognize the choice.
When it comes to audio high quality, Sonos says the Sonos 5 presents an equivalent listening expertise to that of the Play:5. It’s nonetheless acquired the identical six custom-designed drivers inside. The exterior design can also be unchanged apart from the end; this one is available in all-black or all-white choices, whereas the “white” second-gen Play:5 had a two-tone look with a black speaker grill. (I cherished that design, however Sonos says prospects requested an all-white model.) You possibly can nonetheless use it in each vertical and horizontal orientations, and it retains the auxiliary enter for turntables and different exterior music sources.
So what’s completely different, then? The Sonos 5 has “elevated reminiscence and processing energy and a brand new wi-fi radio.” And… that’s it, of us. If you happen to used the 2 audio system facet by facet, I assume you may discover that elevated horsepower; my Play:5 does get hung up momentarily now and again. However greater than the rest, this refresh appears to be about readying the Sonos 5 for one more 4 or 5 years within the firm’s lineup.
You could be feeling a bit underwhelmed by the Sonos 5, and to be trustworthy, so am I. The query I maintain asking myself is “why now?” The Play:5 is already appropriate with the corporate’s S2 platform and is thus (hopefully) assured firmware updates and new options for a while to return, so what’s the reasoning for this minor refresh?
The Play:5 has all the time been the speaker that good audio system just like the Amazon Echo and Apple’s HomePod may by no means fairly measure as much as — until to procure two of them, anyway. However now, Sonos’ opponents are getting extra critical about delivering pleasing, room-filling sound. The most effective instance of that is Amazon’s $200 Echo Studio. It won’t be fairly on the stage of the Play:5 when you did a listening check, however Amazon is coming nearer and nearer at a considerably cheaper worth.
Sonos, in the meantime, appears content material to relaxation on its laurels with the Sonos 5 and danger getting leapfrogged. The corporate remains to be innovating in different areas, and the Arc is a showcase of that. However I take advantage of my Play:5 daily, and I anticipated to really feel a smidge of temptation to improve every time the following one got here round. However nope. Not with all this sameness. I’ve little question the Sonos 5 will sound wonderful and outperform a lot of the competitors; I used to be simply anticipating somewhat extra after this lengthy of a wait.