The Sonos Playbase (or PLAYBASE as they insist on styling it) goes on pre-order today. Here are some good reasons you might want one.
- Sonos is on our list of the best wireless, wi-fi speakers (opens in new tab)
- And also on out best connected home hitlist (opens in new tab)
1. It's great for music and movies
Okay, so we've had a listen to this thing and it is right up there as both a home cinema (or "home thee-ay-ter", if you're American) speaker, and as a music one.
Six mid-range drivers, three tweeters, and one woofer, all with their own Class-D digital amplifier, are artfully wrung through a computer to give a sound field that's as wide as a bus (but considerably more musical), when you've got the telly on.
Yet it can give you a classic stereo sound when the TV's off and you're listening to choons. The sound is realistic, precise and – when called upon – suitably thumping.
All Sonos' usual expertise is brought to bear in terms of seamless multi-room playback, and it also incorporates very nicely into its growing range of home thee-ay-ter products, with up to 5.1 surround. Paired with some Play 1s at the rear, and Sonos' subwoofer, it carries massive audio heft.
'Truesound' tailors the Playbase's audio output to the acoustic characteristics of your room and, YES, that does actually make it sound better when used, so no, that's NOT bollocks.
2. Soundbases are better than soundbars
A soundbar is all very well and good if your TV is wall-mounted. However, chances are that it's not.
The Playbase, being a soundbase, sits under your telly on your furniture of choice, so it's not blocking your IR remote, or obscuring the bottom of the screen.
It'll take weight up to 35Kg, which is enough for any telly, and quite possibly your children as well.
Because it's under the TV, there's room for more drivers, and this big, S-shaped bass port, yet it's also more discreet – the Playbase is under 6cm tall.
3. It's really rather sexy
Sonos says… the Playbase was designed to look, "as if it was cut from a single piece of granite [it's actually custom-designed glass-filled polycarbonate]… The construction comes together with no visible seams resulting in incredibly clean lines, an ultra-flat top surface, and more than 43,000 holes that make up an acoustically transparent grill."
We say… WOOF! Are we pleased to see this Sonos, or did someone just put a CANOE in our pocket?
It's an attractive thing, is what we're saying. Since the Play 1 and the updated Play 5, Sonos has really upped its design game, and this is a genuinely great bit of industrial craftsmanship.
It's not all just for the sake of looking sultry and monolithic, however. Sound design takes precedence over visual. So, for instance, the grills's individually drilled holes are in five different sizes that, "gradually get bigger as they turn the corners toward the subwoofer and the vent, to move as much air as possible."
The Playbase also comes in black, which looks less striking, but will probably match your telly better.
4. It's a breeze to set up
Simply plug your telly in via optical digital and use the app to add music services and adjust the audio to your liking.
When playing movies, Dialogue Enhancement and Night Mode allow for clearer voices and less neighbour irritation due to noisesome explosions and the like.
Music is serviced via 80 streaming services: Sonos, Tidal, Apple Music… 77 other ones… and local streaming from your mobile, PC/Mac or a NAS drive.
5. It's mates with Alexa
Well, it will be. Compatibility with Amazon Echo comes "later this year". It's all gone a bit quiet on having Alexa actually built directly into Sonos speakers, but hey ho.
6. It was apparently tested in a 1990s Pet Shop Boys or Bjork video
Well, that's what it looks like to us.
The Sonos Playbase is £699 in black or white, and will be available globally from April 4. Current Sonos owners can exclusively pre-order one at Sonos.com.