The Sonos CR200 is the updated controller for the Sonos Digital Music System.
The Sonos Digital Music System has a lot of things to like, but the thing that grabbed people at its launch in 2005 was the controller: it looked a bit like an overgrown Apple iPod, complete with touchwheel navigation and a big, beautiful screen.
By now, though, that controller has started to seem a bit heavy and clunky. So it was time for Sonos to update its remote, and the company has done a fantastic job with the Sonos CR200.
Sonos Digital Music System reviews:
The new Sonos CR200 is considerably lighter and smaller than the old CR100, and it ditches the wheel for a touchscreen. Plus, the 3.5in, 640-by-480-pixel screen makes your album art look better than ever.
The Sonos CR200 comes to life instantly when you pick it up or touch it. That may mean a hit on its battery life, but the instant gratification is worth it. Switching screens was virtually immediate on our test system, though volume changes (which you input with a toggle switch at the bottom of the remote) seemed to lag just slightly.
The redesigned music menu is efficient if dull, with rectangular boxes for the different music sources available to you. Add a music service (Pandora, Last.fm, Napster, Rhapsody, and Sirius are available), and that service immediately shows up in the menu. Many of those online services add extra information like tour dates or band bios for the music you're listening to. You can access that information right on the controller by touching the 'i' in a bottom corner of the screen.
The touchscreen really comes in handy for searching your collection. With the old controller, you had to pick out letters by scrolling to them with the click wheel. The Sonos CR200 has a software keyboard that's crisp and responsive - we wish the Apple iPhone's keyboard worked as well.
Our only concern (besides the premium price) is that the Sonos CR200, it seems to us, could still be a bit thinner. It's a little more than twice as thick as an iPod touch, which has a similarly luxurious screen.
The only real competition for the Sonos CR200 is Sono's own controller app for the iPhone and iPod touch. And given that the app is free, it's a compelling competitor.
NEXT: our expert verdict >>