Sonos Three: The compelling case for a Play:3 upgrade

Multi-room speaker company Sonos’ current product strategy is two new releases per year. In 2018, this strategy saw the launch of the Sonos Beam and the Sonos Amp. But what about 2019?

Well, we know the Sonos Ikea collaboration will appear at some point, and we know Google Assistant is coming soon too, but let us put forward the extremely compelling case for a Play:3 update, which logically should be called Sonos Three.

Reason One: Current model is dated, very dated

The current Play:3 is now the oldest speaker in the Sonos portfolio but we don’t need to tell you that. Take one look at the Sonos line up and you’d know it – the design is nowhere near as refined as the newer products. Granted, not everyone cares about consistency and design; some Sonos fans won’t mind if the Sonos One in their kitchen appears to be made by a different company to the Play:3 in their living room, as long as they deliver the sound quality and seamless multi-room audio experience Sonos was built on.

And that’s fine, because they will – for now at least.

Pocket-lint

But what about those who do care about design? What about those Sonos fans who want two Play:3 rear channels that match the Playbase or Beam soundbar? What about those who want something a little more powerful than the Sonos One but don’t have the budget for a Play:5?

Should they all buy a product eight years old? Sonos’ CEO told us Beam does a lot of what Play:3 does but with smarts and TV, but what if you don’t want a soundbar, compact as it might be? The thing is, even if every one of the 21 million Sonos speakers ever sold were bought solely for their audio quality or multi-room capabilities, Sonos itself cares about design. The company takes pride in delivering premium, intricately-designed, devices.

So much so it took several years to design and deliver the Playbase. Every single detail was meticulously planned. The chances are, therefore, that there is also a plan for the Play:3 – and there probably has been for years.

It’s a fundamental speaker in the Sonos range and it’s the only one left with the old design so surely, a refresh is imminent?

Reason Two: Current model lacks “horsepower”

Now don’t get us wrong, despite its dated design, the Play:3 still sounds excellent. It also still receives software updates – such as TruePlay tuning – meaning it continues to improve and develop. Credit where credit is due, for a device that is 18 months off being a decade old, it’s only now started showing its age, which is pretty phenomenal for a piece of technology.

Consider the difference between the iPhone 4S and iPhone XS or the Samsung Galaxy S2 and Galaxy S9 and you’re looking at the same time frame from the launch of the Play:3 to now. Now has hit the Play:3 like a heart attack though. New technology features like Apple AirPlay 2 aren’t supported because the Play:3 “simply doesn’t have the horsepower” (Sonos’ words not ours).

It quite literally couldn’t cope.

Pocket-lintSonos Three: The compelling case for a Play:3 upgrade

Then you have voice assistant-enabled speakers selling like hotcakes – Amazon sold tens of millions of Echos in 2018 – and all of a sudden, the Play:3 can’t keep up with the latest demands. It’s the weak link in the strong Sonos line up. The Play:1 doesn’t have the horsepower for the newer features either, but those who want the latest functions have the choice of the Sonos One.

Those who want more power than the Sonos One but don’t need the power of the Play:5, are left with no choice in the Sonos line up but the Beam – which is primarily designed for TV – or the current Play:3, which now looks dated and lacks the brains. Surely a refreshed Play:3 is an easy win for Sonos? A Play:3 with smart capabilities, AirPlay 2 and a design to match the rest of the Sonos line up takes it from the weakest link to the strongest.

Reason Three: The fans want it

Sonos has the luxury of an incredibly loyal fan base.

This could be thanks to the constant software updates and new features pushed to even the oldest speakers in its portfolio – or it could be the build and sound quality of the Sonos devices that keeps hold of fans. According to Sonos, over 90 per cent of its 21 million products registered since 2005 are still active – and that is huge. It says that those who invest in Sonos are masters in resisting temptation: a case of high fidelity, not infidelity.

Pocket-lintSonos Three: The compelling case for a Play:3 upgrade

Despite numerous audio companies now offering great multi-room audio options, along with smart devices like the Google Homes and Amazon Echos of this world providing cheaper and smarter alternatives, Sonos still lives and breathes.

Why? Because its fans don’t stray. Head to Sonos Community and an upgrade to the Play:3 is a hot topic.

If it’s being talked about, fans want it and Sonos takes pride in listening to what its customers want so, well, one plus two makes … three.

Reason Four: The market is there

Even if Sonos was to ignore fans, ignoring the market is much harder. Ignoring competition is the kind of mistake that makes you complacent. Some of the Sonos community speculated that Sonos was discontinuing the Play:3 off the back of poor sales after it briefly went out of stock, yet we see GBP300 speakers being launched by numerous companies. Take Sonos’ direct competitors for starters. Denon has a Play:3 equivalent in its Heos range, while in 2018 Harmon Kardon announced the Citation range that pretty much offers the same speaker portfolio as Sonos but with Google Assistant on board and a couple of extras, including tower speakers and specific rear channel speakers.

Pocket-lintSonos Three: The compelling case for a Play:3 upgrade

Move away from Sonos’ direct competitors and you’ll still come across GBP300-400 speakers, many of which don’t have the audio capabilities of the Play:3 but they do have the latest tech.

The GBP399 Google Home Max is just one example. Then you have the GBP319 Apple HomePod and while this delivers on sound and design, it doesn’t deliver on smarts just yet. The point is, it still exists so there must be a market for the size, price and capabilities around the Play:3.

Sonos Three: What we want to see

So, if the four reasons above are good enough for a new Sonos Play:3, or Sonos Three here’s what we want to see:

  • Updated design to reflect the other Sonos speakers
  • Colour options, like the Sonos One Hay collaboration
  • Airplay 2 Support
  • Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Built-in Zigbee controller

That last one might be a stretch but a built-in Zigbee controller would mean the Sonos Three wouldn’t just be a smart speaker.

It would be superior to many smart speakers currently available in controlling smart home devices.

The Amazon Echo Plus offers Zigbee built-in, so why can’t Sonos?

We’re not going to ignore the fact that rumours are pointing to satellite speakers to improve the a surround sound setup or perhaps a smaller format Sub, but here’s hoping for a Play Three, eh?



Sonos PLAYBAR TV Soundbar and Wireless Speaker - The soundbar for music loversbody { font-family: Verdana Geneva sans-serif; font-size:11px } td { font-family: Verdana Geneva sans-serif; font-size:11px } Introducing the new Sonos Playbar The next stage of home theater amazing Sonos HiFi sound for your television and all the music on earth come together in a radically simple way. Details The newest creation from the Sonos team is the perfect complement to your home theater: Never before has wireless HiFi audio been this easy. Simply plug PLAYBAR into your TV and any Sonos component into your router. Control the volume with your TV remote or one of the free Sonos controller apps. PLAYBARs built-in sensors will automatically orient the audio channels and adjust the EQs for the perfect sound. Six mid-woofers provide deep rich low frequency sounds accompanied by three tweeters for crystal clear high-frequency sounds. But Sonos didnt stop there: PLAYBAR is smart. Sonos advanced speaker array technology makes 24 million calculations every second where each mid-woofer adds and subtracts from one another simultaneously PLAYBAR is scalable. You can add a SUB or even two PLAY:3s for a 5.1 experience at the touch of a button without the need for messy wiring or complex audio set-up. Unlike most soundbar systems PLAYBAR learns your remote signals and so lets you use your existing remote without change. This could be SKY Virgin or any other IR remote. PLAYBAR is sensitive. Sonos thought of you late-night movie-watchers. Night Sound dynamically compresses the audio to avoid any bangs and crashes waking the family while making quieter sounds more audible. Speech Enhancement boosts the frequency range of the human voice so you never miss those essential moments of dialogue. Whether youre watching your favorite movie catching up the latest TV series gaming with your friends or having a full-on dance party Sonos has you covered. PLAYBAR ... - More Info - EAN: 8717755771674

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