Written by Laurence

Expert review of the Sonos Play:5

The Sonos Play:5 is the largest and most powerful speaker in the Play series. The wireless speaker features 3 tweeters, 3 midwoofers, and 6 digital class D amplifiers. That's why I was curious to find out the maximum volume, its sound clarity, and the bass reproduction. In addition to the sound, I also tested other functions, such as the installation and connectivity.

In short

  • The wireless installation is quick and easy.
  • TruePlay lets you adjust the sound according to your room's acoustics.
  • Playing songs and creating playlists via the app is a breeze.
  • At high volumes, the audio sounds both clear and powerful.
  • You can connect the speaker to TV's that feature an AUX port.
  • To achieve the most realistic stereo playback in large rooms, you need 2 speakers.
  • Due to a width of 36.4 centimeters, the speakers take up a lot of space on a shelf or cabinet.

First impression

The Play:5's casing looks modern and sleek. As a connoisseur of minimalist design, I feel this is most certainly a plus. When you look at the design from the front, you can only see the speaker grill and a small logo. On the top, there's a touchpad that lets you pause the music, adjust the volume, or select a different song. Operating the music via swiping motions works a lot faster than when I have to press the buttons.

Specifications at a glance: installation is done within 10 minutes.

Sonos controller app

The Sonos Controller app for your smartphone or tablet guides you through the installation process, step by step. It'll take a few extra minutes of your time, but I suggest you to immediately activate the TruePlay function. This way, you'll be able to tune the audio according to the acoustics of your room. To do this, you need walk through the room with your smartphone to measure the acoustics. In the room where I tested the speaker, the audio immediately sounded much better.

Highlighted specifications: the app

Sonos app

You can operate all of the speakers functions with the Controller app. This way, you can easily listen to any saved music or 1 of the many available streaming services. I own a Spotify Premium account, so I quickly installed it via the app. With help of a clear menu, I was able to switch between playlists and the audio settings. In the app, you'll also find lots of convenient equalizer functions that let you adjust the bass and treble. This'll let you adjust the audio to your preferences.

Specifications highlighted: sound

Sound Sonos Play: 5

The 3 integrated tweeters and midwoofers make for a powerful audio performance. I put on Superstition by Stevie Wonder and got excited by the clear playback of the guitars and vocals. The bass was clearly present in the mix, too. A nice addition to the Play:5 is the ability to place the speaker both vertically and horizontally. A horizontal setup delivers a wide stereo image, while a vertical setup focuses on a single point. If you're only using 1 speaker, a horizontal placement works best.

Highlighted specifications: connectivity

Connectivity

Thanks to the numerous wireless playback options, the speaker is mostly suitable for streaming. The main difference with the Play:1 and Play:3 speakers is that this speaker includes an AUX port. This lets you easily connect an MP3 player, smartphone, or laptop. If your television features an AUX port, you can also connect it to the speaker. This way, you can playback the sound of your favorite movie or series.

Specifications highlighted: suitable for different rooms

Thanks to its powerful audio performance, this speaker can easily produce a high volume. This makes it suitable for a large living room or study. If you want to achieve the most realistic stereo sound possible, you'll need 2 speakers that let you create a wireless stereo pair. Thanks to its waterproof design, you can also place the Play:5 in the bathroom. However, these rooms are always fairly small, so you'd be better off with a compact Play:1 or One.


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