Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it has been discontinued. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
Playing music on the Sonos PLAY:3 was one of our favorite listening experiences during our comparison of wi-fi speakers. The PLAY:3 features crystal clear audio. The speaker is plenty powerful, especially considering its compact size. A lack of connectivity options is why you'll find this speaker in the middle of our lineup instead of on top.
This is one of the best-sounding speakers in our lineup, although you have to go through the time-consuming Sonos Trueplay process to properly tune the speaker to your room's environment. The full setup process requires far more steps than any other Wi-Fi speaker we reviewed. Using the Sonos mobile app (which is required for the speaker setup) the PLAY:3 accesses your smartphone's microphone while the speaker plays a pulsating low frequency. This process helps evaluate the room environment and tunes the speaker accordingly. It seems a bit like audio science voodoo, but there is no denying how well it worked. We were blown away by the clarity and power of the speaker.
We listened to Lettuce, Metallica, Pretty Lights and other bands through the speakers, and they all sounded great on the PLAY:3. Many of our reviewers described the tonal quality as crisp, clear and distinct. The speaker balanced the tones evenly even when we increased the volume to full blast. It never blurred or distorted, nor did certain frequencies start to overpower at high volumes. The bass doesn't thump harder than our three best wireless speakers, but it's focused, loud and punchy. The sound dispersion is incredible, especially considering the size of the speaker. We were able to stand anywhere in the room and the sound never diminished. The clarity of the speaker cannot be overstated. Overall, it's simply one of the best-sounding speakers we reviewed.
The PLAY:3 is a Wi-Fi speaker only. You cannot play music through it any other way. It doesn't have aux-in, Airplay, USB or Bluetooth connectivity. This makes it an ordeal if a friend wants to show you a song on her phone – in order to connect to the speaker, she will have to download the Sonos app and connect to the home Wi-Fi network. The top-rated wireless speakers offer plenty of connectivity options, so the Sonos lags significantly behind the Bose SoundTouch 20 and JBL Authentics L8 in this respect.
The mobile application is equally as enjoyable as the sound of the wireless speaker. The Sonos app gathers all of your internet music streaming applications into one place. The app is incredibly easy to navigate because of its simple layout. The side menu slides out from the left and guides you to your favorites, playlists you've created and the settings menu where you can add other speakers, change the room settings and manage your music library. If you have more than one Sonos wireless speaker, you can group them together to stream music to both simultaneously. The application becomes the remote control for the PLAY:3 and is a fitting sidekick for such a good-sounding speaker.
The sound quality of the PLAY:3 competes with the best speakers in our comparison, but the lack of connectivity options couldn't be more disappointing. Its audio clarity is almost unmatched, but its Wi-Fi only connectivity is frustrating to say the least. Sonos is trying to push the fully integrated Wi-Fi home entertainment system, but this can be frustrating for users who want to use other connectivity options like Bluetooth or aux in. If sound quality trumps all other buying criteria, then you can't go wrong with the Sonos PLAY:3.