Sonos iOS App and Multi-Room Music System – App and Gear Review

As a music fan, when Sonos announced their iPad app back in the summer, I was very excited to get my hands on the Sonos Controller for the iPad. But, in August Sonos announced they were delaying their iPad app until end of September. They wrote us to let us know they were delaying the app because they wanted to make sure they would release a quality product onto the App Store.

Now that we’ve had the chance to review the iPad app along with the Sonos S5 ZonePlayers, we can simply say it was worth the wait.

For this review, Sonos sent us a pair of Sonos’ S5 players and the Sonos ZoneBridge (BR100). The ZoneBridge is used if your house doesn’t have Ethernet wiring or your router is in a room where you don’t want music. It allows you to connect the ZoneBridge to your broadband router to instantly activate the SonosNet wireless mesh network so that your ZonePlayers will work wirelessly, anywhere in your house.

After downloading the free iPad app, we quickly realized how easy it is to play music from your music library (iTunes or others), as well as from several online sources, including thousands of Internet radio stations and popular streaming services like Pandora and Last.fm.

Sonos has had an iPhone app for a while. The iPad app differs from the iPhone app in the amount of information it displays on the iPad screen. It’s way easier to navigate on the iPad app than in the iPhone app. The navigation menu, current track and dedicated playback controls are always shown, while switching views brings up active rooms and existing song queue from any of your Sonos ZonePlayers. You can change volume on each Sonos ZonePlayer separately, or change all of them at once.

The Sonos Controller iPad app is compatible with Sonos’ ZonePlayer S5, Speaker Bundle 250 and every other Sonos system released to date. The iPad app allows you to control all your music and all your rooms from any iPad over your home WiFi network. I liked that I could view my music zones, music menu, now playing pane, and volume controls all at once—in landscape or portrait mode. I could also search for my favorite artists by typing on the virtual keyboard and browse through albums by pointing and tapping with my fingers. The app also allows you to drag and drop an artist/song to add to your queue. I was able to quickly build a playlist for a small party that I hosted in my house, and was able to manage my songs and music zones flawlessly.

Another thing that I tried while hosting the party was to control the Sonos ZonePlayers with different devices. I downloaded the iPhone app, the iPad app (as mentioned earlier), and the PC app. I was able to control both S5 ZonePlayers from all locations, skip songs and add to my playing queue at will. The app really makes you feel like a DJ around your house.

Finally, the S5 ZonePlayers are very impressive. The S5 is a high-performance, all-in-one wireless music system that really delivers powerful sound. It comes with 5 dedicated digital amplifiers and includes 2 tweeters, 2 mid-range drivers and 1 subwoofer for high-quality sound. The S5s are currently available in both black and white.

What we liked: Very easy to use application. The Sonos Multi-Room Music System lets you play all the music you want, all over your house and control it all from the palm of your hand.

What we didn’t like: Overall, the Sonos Controller iPad app works great. There were a few times where I tried to change songs on separate music zones, and noticed the app did not change the songs. But, I only noticed the problem a couple of times. I spent quite a bit of time playing with the app and multiple music libraries, and can honestly say the iPad and iPhone apps worked great! I’m sure Sonos will rectify any minor bugs in future releases.

To buy or not buy: If you’re a music lover and would like to setup a multi-room music system around your house the Sonos solution is a great choice. Of course, each S5 ZonePlayer will set you back $399, and the ZoneBridge will cost you an additional $99. But, if you want to setup a very high quality sound system around your house that gives you the flexibility to play all your digital music libraries and gain access to thousands of online radio stations, Pandora, Last.fm and more; the Sonos Controller for iPad and its ZonePlayers are a great choice.

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About Roberto: A blogger with a passion for applications, gadgets, new technologies, and everything new in this ever-changing technological world. Contact me via Twitter: @PG_Roberto

  • DudeDad

    I have owned my Sonos system for about a year. It’s amazing! I was lucky enough to be a beta tester for the iPad app. It’s fantastic….when iOS4.2 comes out with multitasking, it will be even better.

    Sonos trumps Airplay because you can have different music in each zone — my kids can listen in the family room to their music, while I can be in the living room listening to mine…even if we are both listening to iTunes.

    Love the app..check it out….