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Sonos has carved out a niche for itself in streaming music. For years it's produced audio systems that take the tunes stored on your computer or network hard drive and pipe them around your house. There are plenty of other companies that do this, but Sonos products have earned a reputation for good audio quality and ease of use.
The trouble is that quality costs. Sonos' latest product, the Play 3, is an attempt to attract more people to its products. At around £260, it's roughly £100 cheaper than its bigger brother, the , formerly called the S5.
Easy to set up
For anyone familiar with the Play 5, the Play 3 is basically the same, but slightly smaller. For everyone else, here's how it works. If you have your music stored on a PC or Mac, you install the Sonos software on your computer, connect the Play 3 to your home network, click through a few on-screen prompts and that's it. The software scans your computer for music, and, if you use iTunes to keep everything in one place, it imports things like playlists.
The only small niggle is that, if you're planning to connect the Play 3 to your network wirelessly, you'll need to buy something called a Sonos Bridge for £40, as the Play 3 doesn't support Wi-Fi. The Sonos Bridge plugs into your router.
None of Sonos' equipment uses a standard Wi-Fi connection, relying instead on a different technology, mesh networking. The advantage of this is that the wireless connection should be less prone to interference, something which plagues most streaming systems that use Wi-Fi. So, even if your Wi-Fi connection drops out, your music should keep playing -- in theory at least.
We installed our Play 3 upstairs, connecting it, via the Ethernet port at the rear and a powerline network adapter, to our router downstairs. This worked perfectly and meant we didn't need the Sonos Bridge.
iPhone and Android apps
There's absolutely no reason to buy the dedicated remote, as the apps are all excellent. Using them, you can search your library, add individual tracks to a queue of music, play Internet radio stations and more. Volume and mute buttons sit atop the Play 3, but, to control everything else, you need to use an app or the Sonos remote.