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Audio Reviews
15,670 Reviews

Sonos ZonePlayer 120 review

£349 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Sonos

Our Rating: We rate this 3.5 out of 5

Sonos has updated its multiroom digital music system. Here's our review of the Sonos ZonePlayer 120.

Sonos has updated its multiroom digital music system. Here's our review of the Sonos ZonePlayer 120.

In early 2005 Sonos introduced the basic building block of its multiroom digital music system: the Sonos ZonePlayer 100, a combination digital music streamer and amplifier. Since that time, the ZP100 has gained lots of new capabilities through software updates, but the hardware itself didn't change.

See also:

Sonos ZoneBridge 100 review

Sonos ZonePlayer 80 review

Now, more than three years later, Sonos has finally released a new version, the Sonos ZonePlayer 120. Although that gap is an eon in technology years, don't expect huge differences in the new box.

Zone Players are the heart of the Sonos system. You place them anywhere in your house where you want to hear music. Add the company's CR100, a handheld controller designed a bit like an iPod, and you can play music in all the zones of your house - either the same music everywhere or different tracks in different rooms.

The various pieces of Sonos hardware communicate among themselves through a wireless mesh network that the devices automatically set up.

(Earlier this year, Logitech released a less expensive alternative, called the Squeezebox Duet. But its streaming devices don't include an amplifier - they have to be connected to your stereo or to powered speakers. See Logitech Squeezebox Duet review.)

The new Sonos ZonePlayer 120 is 35 percent smaller than the ZP100, thanks to an extruded aluminum case that acts as a heat sink. (Sonos doesn't use any fans to cool inside; in our tests we didn't feel the unit get hot to the touch, however.)

The company also claims that it has doubled the wireless range in the Sonos ZonePlayer 120. Reliably testing wireless range is difficult because of interference from other wireless sources or because of obstruction by walls and windows, but we did find that we could use the system in the far reaches of the building, something that was occasionally a problem with the older Sonos hardware.

The Sonos ZonePlayer 120 also boasts more audio power, 55 Watts per channel, up from 50W per channel in the older version.

In addition to the Sonos ZonePlayer 120, Sonos has refreshed its ZP80, a zone player without a built-in amplifier that you can plug into your existing stereo system. The ZP90 is the same size as the original, but also boasts improved wireless range, according to Sonos.

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Sonos ZonePlayer 120 Expert Verdict »
Sonos ZonePlayer ZP120 Scores 9.2 out of 10 based on 19 reviews
Amplifier: Class-D
Rated output: 55W per channel RMS continuous average power into 8 ohms, TDN+N<0.02%
line-in connections: Auto-detecting RCA type
Subwoofer out
Auto-detecting RCA type, 80Hz crossover
support for compressed MP3, WMA (including purchased Windows Media downloads), AAC (MPEG4), Ogg Vorbis, Audible (format 4), Apple Lossless, Flac (lossless) music files, as well as uncompressed WAV and AIFF files
native support for 44.1kHz sample rates. Additional support for 48kHz, 32kHz, 24kHz, 22kHz, 16kHz, 11kHz, and 8kHz sample rates
wireless connectivity: SonosNet 2.0, a secure AES encrypted, peer-to-peer wireless mesh network
2-port switch (10/100Mbps, auto MDI/MDIX) allows ethernet devices to connect through SonosNet
power supply: AC 120/240V, 50-60Hz, user-switchable
89x185x207mm
2.3kg
  • Build Quality: We give this item 7 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 8 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 6 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 7 of 10 overall

If you already own a Sonos system, the new Sonos ZonePlayer 120 offers no compelling reason to upgrade, unless you have significant range problems. But for new buyers, the updated hardware should make the system even more reliable, especially in large homes.

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  • Sonos ZonePlayer S5 review

    Sonos ZonePlayer S5

    Sonos makes multiroom network music streaming components that are elegant and reliable and great-sounding, but rarely inexpensive. At £349, however, the company's new Sonos ZonePlayer S5 is quite affordable, though it won't be the right option for everyone.

  • Sonos ZP80

    Sonos ZP80

    When Sonos released its Digital Music System last year it got some excellent reviews. But the cost was prohibitive, which is why Sonos has come back with a cheaper product.

  • Sonos CR200 review

    Sonos CR200

    The Sonos CR200 is the updated controller for the Sonos Digital Music System.

  • Sonos ZoneBridge 100 review

    Sonos ZoneBridge 100

    The Sonos ZoneBridge 100 connector will make a Sonos Digital Music System cheaper for some households.

  • Sonos Wireless Dock 100 review

    Sonos Wireless Dock 100

    The Sonos Wireless Dock (WD100) is a dock that allows you to stream the content from a connected iPod or iPhone to a Sonos music system.


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