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CNET First Look
Phorus wireless speaker can't match SonosWith lackluster sound quality, limited app support, and unreliable connectivity, there's little reason to choose the Phorus PS1 wireless audio speakers instead of Sonos.
Hi. I'm Ty Pendlebury from CNET.com and this is a review of the Phorus PS1 Speaker. In 2013, there's been a rash of new wireless audio products hitting the market from Samsung to Bose to sound engineering company, DTS. Play-Fi by DTS is the latest attempt to the wireless audio standard designed to compete with current kings Sonos and Apple AirPlay. Phorus' PS1 speakers, one of the first products to be released with the standard, then more I promised for CES 2014. The PS1 is a stereo speaker which resembles an iPad dock with its large rubber hold stand. But it won't actually dock with anything, not without running a separate USB cable around the back. Unfortunately, when playing with it, though, it does feel a little cheap in its construction. This speaker supports both the Play-Fi standard and Bluetooth and there are dedicated buttons for each on the front of the unit. While Bluetooth connection is the most straightforward, connecting via Play-Fi requires the Phorus act, which isn't as easy to use or configured as Sonos'. The app is available for iOS and Android but they don't yet have the same functionality. For example, you can't currently stream from a NAS or other computer with the iOS app, just the phone itself and Pandora. While DTS has promised a lot of updates including high resolution support, a PC app and more streaming services that's pretty much limited to standard MP3 in FLAC and Pandora playback. Performance though is its biggest problem. Getting a solid connection proved to hurdle with occasional dropouts even over WiFi and the app would lose the dock completely and need to reconnect. In comparison, as Sonos Play 1 didn't have these problems and remained solid throughout. Sound quality was pretty average too with a very wooly mid-rangy type sound and the Play 1 blew it out of the water in both bass response and fine detail. Given that these two speakers are the same price of $200 and the Sonos system is so good in comparison, I can't yet recommend the Phorus PS1. However, I do look forward to seeing what improvements DTS can make with the system as it still has a lot of promise and just need to be more reliable. This has been Ty Pendlebry for CNET.com.