CNET First Look
Phorus PR1 cheap but not cheerfulWhile the Play-Fi standard offers plenty of potential, the Phorus PR1 is currently too limited in its scope and performance to warrant buying over a Sonos.
Hi. This is Ty Pendlebury with the review of the Phorus RS1 Wireless Music Receiver. It's been a pretty spotty couple of years for wireless music with both Logitech Squeezebox and Sony's HomeShare bailing out. Based on my experiences for the Phorus system though, current king Sonos doesn't have anything to worry about. Phorus uses the open standard Play-Fi, which is designed to enable users to seamlessly play music from a bunch of different manufacturers wirelessly. But while it works fine with MP3s, it lacks the services, the stability and the lots of support of the all the Sonos System. Phorus RS1 Receiver is designed to be connected to an existing Hi-Fi and uses an iOS or Android app to control your music. At the moment, you're pretty much limited to the music on the device or Pandora, though the Android app also adds DLNA and internet radio. By comparison, Sonos offers dozens of streaming services. The thing that the Phorus Receiver has in its favor though is that it's $200 cheaper than the equivalent Sonos connect. But it also lacks features like Ethernet connectivity and importantly digital out. Though quality is kind of cheap too, but it's in performance that really lets the Phorus down. Stuttering audio in lots of files is common and so is the timing out of devices. Sound quality also depends on the strength of your connection and while it sounded good with an MP3, lots of its files sounded significantly worse than playing the same file on the same network through a Sonos. While I like the idea of an open wireless standard at the moment, Phorus unfortunately unable to cut it. If you're looking to buy a multi-room music player, Sonos is still the one to beat. This has been Ty Pendlebury for CNET.com.