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In my house I use a mixture of Wi-Fi and HomePlug for my devices, and where my AV kit is setup, I have an Ethernet switch, that’s connected to a HomePlug module. This allows me to connect my PS3, Xbox 360 and HD DVD player (yes I still have one) without resorting to wireless. So when it came to hooking up the ZP120, I had the option of just connecting it to the switch via Ethernet.
Despite the fact that the ZonePlayers are undoubtedly cool, it’s the remote handset that really steals the show. Although the controller is essentially the same as it was two years ago, it’s no less impressive to use, and just goes to show how far ahead of the competition Sonos was back then. Sonos has, unashamedly aped the iPod scroll wheel, but that's no bad thing. When you’re having to navigate through a massive music library, there is no better tool out there. Just like on an iPod, you can rotate the wheel clockwise or anticlockwise, then press the button in the centre to make selections - it’s quick, it’s simple, it works!
Below the wheel are play/pause and skip forward/backward buttons. While above the wheel is a Music button, that jumps you straight back to the music menu from anywhere, a Back button and the all important Zones button. Hitting the Zones button brings up a list of all your configured zones - Living Room and Dining Room in my case, but of course your zones could be anywhere and far more numerous. Simply select a zone, and then you can control all the music in that particular room - want to turn the music on in your bathroom while you’re in the kitchen? No problem.
The controller is dominated by the 3.5in colour screen, which displays all the menus as well as cover art for the music you’re listening to. The screen is transflective, so it’s easy to read even in bright sunlight, which is important if you want to control your music while you’re having a barbecue on the patio. To the left of the screen you’ll find volume controls and a Mute button - pressing the Mute button for three seconds will mute all the zones on the system, another nice touch. Finally, below the screen are three soft buttons - these are context dependant and will do different things depending on which menu you happen to be in and what you’re doing.
It’s always good to see backlit buttons on a remote control, making it easy to use with the lights dimmed, and the motion sensor is a stroke of genius. While the controller is lying dormant, it will switch the screen and buttons off, but the minute you pick it up, it will spring to life, without you having to touch a thing. It’s also definitely worth investing in the optional charging cradle for the controller - it’s a far more elegant solution than having to plug a cable into the top of the device to keep it juiced up.
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