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Product snapshot: Sonos PLAY:3 wireless speaker

Sonos has, in the last year, completed what is now a comprehensive wireless home speaker line-up. It's got the PLAY:5, SUB, PLAYBAR, and the little PLAY:3.

As you'd expect, the PLAY:3 is the cheapest Sonos speaker you can buy. Picking up one will cost you $419 at RRP, making the PLAY:3 cheaper than a Sony network speaker or Pioneer XW-SMA4.

Like any other Sonos component, you hook the PLAY:3 up to your home network -- whether it's wirelessly or through Ethernet -- and load up Sonos's apps for iOS, Android, PC or Mac. Once you're in the app, Sonos's smart mesh network protocols find the PLAY:3 and link your computer, smartphone or tablet directly to it, letting you choose what music or audio to play.

Buy a second PLAY:3, and you can control it in exactly the same way. You can play different music, or you can have multiple PLAY:3 speakers -- or any other combination of Sonos components -- working together simultaneously.

Sonos speakers like the PLAY:3 work just fine playing a library of music you've got stored on your PC or smartphone, but they come into their own if you subscribe to a streaming music service. We like Rdio, which is convenient since Sonos has integrated it right into its Controller apps -- just plug in your login details, and you can access your library and playlists. Heaps of other streaming services like Spotify and Pandora are also integrated.

You can also hook your phone or tablet into the PLAY:3's 3.5mm analog line input to play music directly -- useful if your Wi-Fi network is down, or if you want to use a portable media player without built-in Wi-Fi.

The PLAY:3 is, interestingly enough, more versatile than the more powerful PLAY:5. If you've got two of them, you can use them as rear speakers with a PLAYBAR and a SUB -- giving you 5.1-channel wireless surround sound with your movies or TV.

If you have a wired or wireless network in your home, Sonos's PLAY:3 speaker is a pint-sized way to get high-quality, high-volume music happening wherever there's a power point.


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