Slashing the price may well mean it does better this time.
Whereas its two predecessors were £550+ products (and in that bracket it was impossible to ignore Sonos’ accomplished range), the WAC3500D has decided to hit where it hurts: price.
For just £299.99 you’ll get a device fitted with an 80GB hard drive, USB port and iPod dock,plus a remote control and two large 40W speakers. Music can also be streamed to up to five WiFi stations elsewhere in the home.
On the downside however Philips’ still hasn’t corrected one of the major issues we’ve had with its last two Streamium iterations: format support. With just MP3 between 128kbps and 320kbps and WMA between a misery 16kbps and 128kbps supported this isn’t perhaps what the average audiophile will be looking for and some sort of lossless playback – let alone AAC for DRM-free iTunes downloads – would have been extremely welcome.
That said, the WAC3500D launches this month and given that five different tracks can be streamed simultaneously to five different locations it may prove an wonderfully inexpensive peace negotiator for the average family household – provided, of course, that you fit everyone with headphones…