Sonos has updated its line of high-end wireless audio home systems with a new, relatively affordable model aimed at expanding its audience. The Play:3 will set you back $300, $100 less than the Play:5 (formerly known as the ZonePlayer S5), which is a step forward but you'll still want a couple of these to enjoy the full benefits of the Sonos system: easily setting up a multi-room system with access to a wide range of streaming music services
The Sonos Play:3 can wirelessly access your local music collection or connect to streaming services including Last.fm, Mog, Napster, Pandora, Rdio, Rhapsody, SiriusXM Internet Radio, Spotify, Stitcher SmartRadio, TuneIn, and more. Of course you'll have to pay for whatever service you are subscribed to separately, but Sonos syncs up all of your accounts and organizes them in one easy-to-use menu on the free Sonos Controller app, available for Android, iPhone and iPad.
The Play:3 features three Class-D digital amplifiers and three drivers--one tweeter and two 3-inch mid-range drivers, as well as one passive, rear-firing bass radiator. The cabinet has volume and mute control and it measures up 5.2 x 10.5 x 6.3 inches (132 x 268 x 160 mm) while weighing in at 5.7 pounds (2.6 kg) -- full specs are available here.
Besides its multi-room capabilities (up to 32 simultaneous streams) and quality sound, one nifty feature of the Play:3 is that it will detect when it's been turned vertically and switch from stereo to mono output. You can also pair it with another Play:3 and set them to play the dedicated left or right channel for some extra power.
Newcomers who don't have a Sonos set-up already will need to spend a bit extra for the Sonos Bridge, which connects via Ethernet to your home network and enables the wireless stream of audio throughout the house. The Bridge used to retail for just under $100, but Sonos is dropping the price to $49 with the release of the Play:3.