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Sonos ZonePlayer S5 review



  • Recommended by TR
Sonos ZonePlayer S5


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Review Price £325.00

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.

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November 17, 2009, 12:32 pm

I am an existing Sonos user - fantastic kit.

I was always looking for something like this - this is in effect, a zone player with built in amplifier and speakers. Ideal for the smaller room where you don't want the hassle of having an extra amp and speakers.

This has just opened up a whole host of possibilities for me. I don't think buying one is going to be enough.

I want one in the kitchen, bedroom, conservatory ....


November 17, 2009, 5:44 pm

Sonos might be as good as it gets, but fortunately for the rest of us you can get pretty close for far less money. A Squeezebox for example, or an AirPort with audio out, even an FM radio relay works fine unless you feel you need audiophile sound quality in your kitchen. Or, you know, just have a pair of active speakers standing around and connect your PMP to that. Even better, get a nice kitchen radio with audio in for 40 bucks; you don't even need a remote control to change a song or the volume, how awesome is that?


November 17, 2009, 11:14 pm

Sorry morsch,

I was not going to get into a debate about sonons vs squeezebox, etc. There are lots of forums out there discussing this topic.

I was trying to comment on the S5 which I think is a brilliant idea, especially for an existing sonos user.

My stance is everyone has different tastes, budgets, requirements.

The sonos does it for me. That does not mean it will for everyone.


November 18, 2009, 12:57 am

It would be pretty handy if there were to be a review if the airport express as it is the cheapest option for multiroom audio streaming it has its downfalls (tied to itunes) but has its positives too (print server and a proper wireless router)


November 18, 2009, 3:09 am

Oh, that wasn't intended as a dig at you. Just something that went through my head as I read through the review... I wasn't even aware that there are long forum discussions about Sonos vs. Squeezebox.


November 18, 2009, 3:13 am

I don't know how many other apps can do it, but apparently you can stream to an Airport Express using Pulseaudio, so it's certainly not 100% tied to iTunes. Add a media player with good remote control features -- such as Rhythmbox+Remuco on Linux -- to the mix and you've got a fairly rich feature set with a very low investment; basically just the Airport Express and some speakers.


November 18, 2009, 8:15 pm

I use an Airport Express and have just been advising a friend to try one before he launches straight into the world of Sonos. With the iPhone Remote application and iTunes the functionality is practically the same as with the Sonos plus you get to maintain all those playlists you've created.

If you have an Airport Express and wish to stream other audio to it rather than use iTunes then some very good software to use is called Airfoil,



May 13, 2011, 1:56 am

basically, this would be really great if it had a built-in battery....wireless an' all that.....? not quite living to the promise of wireless. sounds good tho - but not really wireless yet, is it.

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