If you're a regular reader of TrustedReviews you'll know that I quite like Sonos kit. In fact the most recent Sonos BU250 bundle walked away with an Editor's Choice award. Put simply, if you want digital music streamed throughout your house, a Sonos system is about as good as it gets, before you start looking at custom installs. But best of all, Sonos has managed to make its system supremely easy to setup and use, even for the technology novice.
But Sonos is determined to make its wireless digital music systems even more accessible and easy to use than before, with the introduction of the ZonePlayer S5. Previously, the simplest way to configure a room with Sonos kit was to use a ZP120, which has built-in amplification. Then you just had to hook up a set of bookshelf speakers and you were ready to rock. The new ZP-S5 makes things even easier, since it has all the advantages of an amplified ZonePlayer, but also has built-in speakers.
The beauty of the ZonePlayer S5 is that it addresses a whole new customer who probably couldn't afford a Sonos system before. It's clear that Sonos is well aware of this market, because even the box that the ZP-S5 comes in suggests that you use your existing iPhone or iPod touch as a controller, rather than Sonos' own CR200. You'll probably still need a BR100 ZoneBridge to hook up to your router though, unless you're planning to put your ZP-S5 in the same room as your broadband connection.
Although Sonos is obviously looking at attracting new customers with the ZP-S5, it's a pretty attractive option for existing Sonos users too. This is the perfect solution for a bedroom or kitchen, where ultimate sound quality isn't paramount and a one box solution is a far better option. I know that I don't really want speaker cables draped around my kitchen, or bookshelf speakers for that matter.
Despite its all-in-one nature, the ZP-S5 isn't what you'd call small, or even unobtrusive - with dimensions of 365 x 217 x 123mm (WxHxD) you'll know it's there, whatever room you decide to put it in. But this isn't necessarily a bad thing, since Sonos has been smart enough to realise that making the ZP-S5 sound good, is far more important than making it look good.