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Five Smart Wireless Speaker Review
Experience superior sound from a wireless smart speaker with the new Sonos Five.
THE HIGH NOTES
- TruePlay Tuning
- Amazing as a Stereo Pair
- Access the Most Music
Company & Product Overview
It’s been almost 20 years since Sonos first rocked the world with their unique concepts on how to experience music. Move ahead to 2020 and Sonos has become one of our favorite brands for their great software, products that are simple to use, and incredible sound for their size and price. Not to mention, their designs look great in just about any setting.
The Five descends from the very first Sonos all in one speaker, the S5 which was introduced in 2008, and later updated in 2015 to the Play:5. What is pretty amazing is the fact the brand new Five sells for the exact same price the original S5 did back 12 years ago, yet sounds miles ahead of it!
Design & Build Quality
The Five is a sleek box with rounded edges available in a monochromatic black or white finish. As with all Sonos products, build quality is very high. Just as an FYI, at Audio Advice we are very diligent about tracking failure rates of the products we sell. We don’t like things that break or that are hard to use! Sonos products have by far and away the lowest failure rate of anything we sell. This is probably because they actually test every single piece as it comes off the line, rather than random samples. Plus, they way over-engineer things to last for decades.
For great stereo sound, the Five is designed to sit horizontally on your shelf or tabletop. It is physically pretty stout at 14 pounds and is a little over 14” wide, about 8” tall, and 6” deep. If you want even better sound, two Fives can be set up as a stereo pair. In this case, you would set them both up vertically and the speaker's smart software will adjust the audio, pretty neat!
Overall, when you pull a Five out of the box, you will probably be like us and be super impressed with the quality of the fit and finish.
Features & Technology
First and foremost, the Sonos Five is designed to provide you with room-filling, high sound quality. But not far behind is the Sonos music app that lets you explore more music streaming services than any other app out there. We applaud Sonos for the way they keep improving their control app as they just updated it to a new Sonos S2 version, which works with the new Five. The new Sonos Five has much faster processors and more memory built-in that enhance its current performance and allow for future improvements.
From a connection standpoint, you’ll be able to stream just about any service with the Five, and with its analog input, you could connect a turntable (with a built-in phono preamp) or other legacy audio source. If that were not enough, Apple Airplay 2 is built-in as well.
While most people will use the Sonos app for control, there are some quick touch controls on the top of the unit for play/pause/mute and swiping for track skip/back. Voice control is also available for this great wireless speaker with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.
There are 6 separate fine-tuned amplifiers inside the Five that power the six speakers. To provide room-filling stereo sound from a single box, Sonos points one tweeter (the high-frequency speaker) straight out, while the other two are pointed at an angle on each side, which projects a very big sound. These are coupled to three mid-woofer drivers that can move very far to give you big, full bass. One thing that will surprise you is how much output a single Five can put into a room, it is quite powerful.
Sonos and Audio Advice both believe the room has a huge impact on your sound, which is why we love Sonos Trueplay which is included with the Sonos app. This walks you through steps that play a series of test tones to fine-tune the Sonos Five for your room. Trueplay only works on iOs devices as they have consistent microphones. The difference to our ears is pretty amazing. Should you wish to further fine-tune your sound, the app has eq settings for bass and treble.
When you consider its price, the Sonos Five is one very impressive all in one speaker. It has a warm, rich sound with the ability to play very loud, yet it still sounds full at very low volume levels. The fact that it is under $500 with 6 individually powered speakers with Trueplay for room fine-tuning built-in, is very pretty amazing. Nothing else we can think of has all of this for the cost of a Sonos Five.
We love the fact you can later add a second Five for a great stereo pair of wireless Sonos speakers and if you really want to smile, add a Sonos Sub!
The app allows you to easily find music and create favorites, but really shines when you have more than one Sonos product in your home. This brings multi-room audio to a new level with the way Sonos allows you to group rooms and control volume.
The smart speaker market is certainly crowded with products from both huge tech companies and smaller niche companies. Sonos strikes a wonderful balance of having a large engineering staff on hand to keep up with tech and their great app, while also devoting a good portion of their R&D towards better sound. The Five truly is a world-class, high-performance music speaker.
When you add in their super to easy use app and the fact you could later add another Five and/or a Sub, you have a product that can grow with you should you decide you want even better sound. Highly Recommended!
HIGH NOTES UNPACKED
Sonos Trueplay tunes the speaker to your room for even better sound.
Amazing as a Stereo Pair
A pair of these rivals much more expensive speakers.
Access the Most Music
Sonos has access to far more streaming music services than any other system.
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