Sonos Five

5 days ago 17

The Sonos Five is simply a beefy, exuberant and zealous beast, but don't get america wrong; the dependable is arsenic open, spacious and elaborate arsenic this wealth tin buy.

Pros

  • +

    Expansive, room-filling sound

  • +

    AirPlay 2 and Sonos multi-room connectivity

  • +

    Dual placement enactment and stereo-pairing

Cons

  • -

    No Bluetooth connectivity

  • -

    No mics for standalone dependable control

  • -

    No hi-res enactment conscionable yet

Sonos Five: Two-minute review

The Sonos Five volition look precise acquainted to anyone who knows their mode astir Sonos' 2015 Play:5 Gen. 2 (or adjacent the 2009 inaugural Sonos Play:5, primitively called the S5), but considering the brilliance of its innovative, long-standing and highly fashionable talker heritage, it's nary atrocious thing. 

The Five is the biggest and astir almighty wireless location talker successful Sonos' range, and it sounds each inch arsenic elaborate and musically pleasing arsenic we've travel to expect from Sonos. This flagship iteration (released successful June 2020) adds accrued memory, snappier processing and a new, er, wireless vigor feature. Not a immense upgrade then? 

Well, the past Play:5 was mightily bully to commencement with – and the caller all-white oregon all-black styling does look somewhat sleeker. More than that, though, the caller processor puts to remainder immoderate doubts you mightiness person astir aboriginal compatibility and firmware updates (even though the older Play:5 was already compatible with the company's S2 platform). 

For many, its powerful, regimented bass clout, undeniably classy audio show  and the Sonos name-plate proudly featured connected its grille volition beryllium each the crushed they request to click 'buy' – and we surely won't beryllium stopping you. If you privation room-filling dependable and Sonos' afloat multi-room streaming tech built-in, the Sonos Five is simply a apical buy.

While truthful galore of the best wireless speakers connected the marketplace travel boasting decent, almighty audio that doesn't distort adjacent arsenic you crank the volume, the Five really delivers it. Want to adhd it to a location theatre setup? Of people – fewer Sonos products are arsenic unfastened to gathering caller friends and moving unneurotic arsenic the Five. See however the Sonos branding is written vertically? That's due to the fact that it tin beryllium placed upright oregon horizontally, and volition present dependable successful stereo connected its ain (when positioned connected its agelong side) but erstwhile synced with different Five, each volition present fractional of the dependable successful a much accepted stereo brace configuration. 

You tin besides usage 2 of them (in the upright position) arsenic rear surrounds for a location theatre set-up with a Sonos Arc – though, to spouse the smaller Sonos Ray oregon Sonos Beam 2nd Gen, we'd suggest a brace Sonos One SL units instead.

If barking astatine your location talker isn't important to you (there are nary mics here, though you could power it with different mic-ed up Sonos talker successful your network) and superior streaming implicit Wi-Fi means Bluetooth streaming isn't precocious connected your database either (there's besides nary Bluetooth) this is the exemplary for you. Sonically, it's intolerable to bushed this one-box talker for the money. 

Sonos Five from above, connected  a table

The Sonos Five is simply a hefty beast with a smart, somewhat curved grille connected the front. (Image credit: TechRadar)

Sonos Five review: Price and merchandise date

  • Costs $549 / £499 / AU$799
  • Sonos' astir almighty location talker – and it's not cheap
  • Released successful June 2020

The Sonos Five is disposable to bargain now, costing 1 lb little than £500 successful the UK, conscionable nether $550 successful the US, oregon arsenic adjacent arsenic makes nary quality to AU$800 if you're successful Australia. And if you thought its comparative property mightiness mean a fewer discounts crossed well-known online retailers, deliberation again – Sonos kit seldom sees a terms cut, truthful expect to wage this overmuch oregon thereabouts for the foreseeable. 

The happening is, we don't request to archer you determination are plentifulness of cheaper options retired determination if you conscionable privation a portable Bluetooth talker (JBL Flip 6 oregon JBL Charge 5 are the go-to models there) and for location use, the screen-enhanced Bose Home Speaker 500 oregon Amazon Echo Show 15 astute speakers besides undercut the Sonos Five considerably.

However, for akin size, stature and features, the Braun LE01, Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin oregon Sonus Faber Omnia are considerably pricier – truthful depending connected your priorities, the Sonos Five does inactive correspond value.

One much information and we'll determination on, we promise. It's conscionable that if you were looking to bargain a 2nd Sonos Five to make a stereo pair, the KEF LSX stereo talker strategy (and marque new LSX II) is intimately priced and boasts a much broad connectivity spec-sheet and hi-res capabilities retired the box. 

Don't get america wrong, the Sonos Five is surely a beardown product, but depending connected what you're after, determination whitethorn an enactment that amended suits…

Sonos Five rear ports, detail

The rear of the Sonos Five reveals its powerfulness cable, Ethernet and 3.5mm ports – so your turntable is catered for too. (Image credit: TechRadar)

Sonos Five review: Features

  • Wi-Fi, AirPlay 2 positive line-in transportation for euphony sources
  • Full Sonos wireless support
  • No Bluetooth, mics oregon Chromecast

Kicking disconnected with connectivity, swizzle the Sonos Five astir and you'll find 3 ports. The archetypal is for powerfulness (in lawsuit it needs to beryllium mentioned, the Sonos Five indispensable beryllium plugged successful to relation astatine each times, truthful it isn't a large campaigner for outdoor listening contempt its 'humidity resistant' rating), past Ethernet, and lastly a 3.5mm input to adhd a source, specified arsenic a turntable with a built-in phono signifier – the quality of it being that your vinyl could past beryllium streamed crossed your web of connected Sonos speakers. 

You don't get immoderate built-in dependable adjunct here, dissimilar the Sonos Beam oregon Sonos Arc. No Alexa, nary Google Assistant, and nary Sonos Voice Control. That is due to the fact that there's nary mic astatine all, which seems a small bizarre fixed Sonos' caller absorption connected its proprietary Sonos Voice rollout, but determination we are.

While this volition excite small much than a motion if you don't similar talking to your speakers anyway, the deficiency of Bluetooth streaming enactment whitethorn beryllium much of an contented – although this is thing caller for Sonos. As usual, (only the Sonos Move and Sonos Roam subordinate this trend) the Sonos app asks you to alteration Bluetooth connected your instrumentality successful bid to admit the Five, but it's for setup lone – after that, Bluetooth is ne'er mentioned again. 

From wrong the intuitive and slick Sonos app, you tin tweak the Five's EQ (to add/remove bass and treble) the stereo balance, and acceptable up Sonos' TruePlay tuning if you're utilizing an iPhone, which requires you to locomotion astir your country wafting your iPhone to a enactment of intergalactic battle-type noises, to measurement however dependable bounces astir your room's carnal dimensions. Then, TruePlay tweaks the Five's dependable illustration to compensate for these sonic imperfections, boosting the accuracy and clarity. Sadly, this lone works connected iPhone, but if you can, we'd surely urge utilizing it – and you could ever get idiosyncratic else's iOS instrumentality to TruePlay your Sonos Five, since you lone bash it the erstwhile successful a room. 

One sticking constituent present is that though the Five features AirPlay 2 enactment implicit Wi-Fi, there's nary Google Cast baked in, which could beryllium a stumbling artifact for Android households, peculiarly since Bluetooth isn't onboard either. But you tin play euphony done the Sonos app, of course.

  • Features score: 4/5

Sonos Five connected  a table

See those small feet – on the side?! It tin beryllium positioned upright too, you see, to make a stereo brace comprising 2 Fives oregon arsenic portion of a location theatre strategy with a Sonos Arc, say. (Image credit: TechRadar)

Sonos Ray review: Sound quality

  • Expressive, elaborate sound
  • Textured vocals
  • Full and snappy bass floor

In accepted Sonos style, the Five is not funny successful a shy, retiring dependable – it's present to bring the bass and marque you consciousness it, and we're not complaining. However (and we've said this before) it's important to enactment that we similar it much if you tin usage TruePlay tuning, and not everyone is granted that privilege.

Take the clip to weave your iPhone done the aerial astir your country (do it with intent though, due to the fact that the app volition archer you if you're not moving speedy enough) and the low-end resonates successful a mode different speakers, adjacent those of akin proportions, could ne'er reach. Even without TruePlay you'll get a bully dollop of bass clout, but the starring edges of notes and horns successful hip-hop tracks specified arsenic Lethal Bizzle's Fester Skank are conscionable a small much impactful with it, arsenic you'd expect, and there's a marginal betterment to beryllium had done the dynamic emergence and autumn of each sonic article. 

That's not to accidental it's bass-heavy wide though. Listen to Fontaines D.C.'s Skinty Fia and you'll perceive a low-end that, portion impactful and unwavering, ne'er bloats oregon muddies different philharmonic passages specified arsenic accordions, drum riffs, angered vocals and keys. 

Stream Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2 successful C Minor, performed by Andre Previn, the London Symphony Orchestra and Vladimir Ashkenazy, and the flute is ne'er harsh done the sparkling and untethered treble. Piano notes are distinct, 3 dimensional and lilting with capable abstraction astir them to radiance successful a cohesive mix. 

There's an openness to the dependable too. Close your eyes and, dissimilar truthful galore one-box solutions, the Five could rather easy instrumentality you into reasoning you've got a acceptable of precise bully bookshelf speakers connected the go. 

  • Sound prime score: 5/5

Sonos Five connected  a table

The name-plate is positioned truthful that erstwhile you flip it to it's upright orientation, it inactive reads. (Image credit: TechRadar)

Sonos Five review: Design

  • Available successful all-white oregon all-black
  • Configuration unchanged since the Play:5
  • An unfussy but rock-solid design

Like truthful overmuch of Sonos' range, the Five's plan is simple, astir to a responsibility present fixed its larger dimensions. The Five is disposable successful achromatic oregon white, with an easy-to-dust metallic grille and tiny icons to denote play/pause connected the apical plate, flanked by 2 different 'buttons' which tin beryllium covered to summation oregon little the volume. You tin besides swipe crossed these for way skips, which is rather fun, though successful low-light situations there's lone a solo airy supra the play/pause icon which tin marque things hard to locate. 

Although it's astir the size of a ample shoe-box (and heavier than it looks, astatine 6.36kg) the Sonos Five isn't rather a cuboid since its grille information is somewhat bigger than its rear extremity and the baffle is somewhat bowed retired and angled upwards too, to assistance with dependable dispersal.  

Under the hood, the talker array remains precisely the aforesaid arsenic its Play:5 predecessor – and Sonos really makes nary bones astir this. You're getting the aforesaid six custom-designed drivers driven by six people D amplifiers for a combined powerfulness output of 120W: 3 precocious excursion 10cm mid-woofers crossed the bottommost of the portion and 3 tweeters supra them, 2 of which are angled outwards. 

So wherefore did it adjacent refresh the product? Well, you're besides getting an upgraded processor here, which is cardinal – it signifies that Sonos is apt future-proofing this talker for imaginable firmware upgrades, ie. the oft-rumored summation of hi-res euphony support. So, there's that. 

  • Design score: 4/5

Sonos Five review: Value

  • No dependable assistance oregon Bluetooth oregon erstwhile competitors bash have
  • Lack of Google Cast enactment could beryllium an contented contempt Sonos multi-room
  • But for sound, it's a class-leader

For dependable quality, the Sonos Five really isn't conscionable bully value, it's perfectly great value. But it's a lawsuit of antithetic strokes for antithetic folks; if Bluetooth streaming is important to you and you ain an Android phone, you should look elsewhere.  

In presumption of counting features, the Sonos Five has got plentifulness going for it (AirPlay 2, Sonos' class-leading multi-room platform, plentifulness of scope for adding to it astatine a aboriginal date, a affable and rock-solid app) but determination are a fewer holes connected the spec expanse too; Google Cast, dependable assistance, Bluetooth, we're looking astatine you. 

Ultimately, we travel backmost to however bully it sounds – and it truly does dependable arsenic bully arsenic this wealth tin bargain for a one-box talker design. But that's nary bully if you privation waterproofing (there is nary here) absorbing colorways oregon Bluetooth streaming. 

If exhilarating Sonos dependable prime is paramount though, look nary further. 

  • Value score: 4/5

Sonos Five review: Should I bargain it?

Sonos Five AttributesNotesRating
FeaturesA multi-room acceptable Sonos talker with AirPlay 2, positive 3.5mm enactment successful – but nary dependable assistance4/5
Sound qualityIncredibly impactful and expressive dependable from a one-box design5/5
DesignSolid, cleanable and... conscionable a small bland4/5
ValueSonically it's a bargain for the money, but the feature-set means definite superior contention is not acold away.4/5

Buy it if…

Don't bargain it if…

Also consider…

Becky Scarrott

Becky is simply a elder unit writer astatine TechRadar (which she has been assured refers to expertise alternatively than age) focusing connected each things audio. Before joining the team, she spent 3 years astatine What Hi-Fi? investigating and reviewing everything from wallet-friendly wireless earbuds to immense high-end dependable systems. Prior to gaining her MA successful Journalism successful 2018, Becky freelanced arsenic an arts professional alongside a 22-year vocation arsenic a nonrecreational dancer and aerialist – immoderate emotion of creation starts with a emotion of music. Becky has antecedently contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo and The Stage. When not writing, she tin inactive beryllium recovered throwing shapes successful a creation studio, these days with varying degrees of success.  

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