Sonos BU250 Wireless Digital Music System Review - Sonos BU250 Review


I did mention to Sonos that it would be great if the CR200 had been a universal remote control as well, but of course it doesn’t use infrared like most remotes. However, most CE manufacturers are adding wired or wireless network functionality to their products these days, so hopefully the next step would be control using IP rather than IR, and if that happens the CR200 could be the only controller you need.

Strange as it may seem, many potential buyers won’t be comparing the CR200 to the outgoing CR100. Instead they will be comparing the new CR200 to an iPod touch or iPhone. At the end of last year Sonos launched an app that allowed iPhone and iPod touch users to control their Sonos system without the need for a dedicated remote. The Sonos iPhone app is generally brilliant, and gives you access to almost all the functionality on a device that you may already have, but I’m not convinced that this is a viable alternative to a dedicated controller.
”’(centre)The iPhone app gives you control of your Sonos system, but a dedicated controller still has the edge(/centre)”’

The biggest problem with using an iPhone instead of the CR200 is the length of time it takes to get anything done. Remember that example I gave earlier about wanting to mute your music when the phone rings? Well, if I was using my iPhone I would have to turn it on, enter the lock code, swipe the screen to the page where the Sonos app lives, start the Sonos app, wait patiently while it loads, then hit mute! Using an iPhone 3G running firmware 3.0 I found that it took around 20 seconds to access my Sonos system, as opposed to, well no time at all using the CR200. And then consider the fact that it could be your iPhone that’s ringing in the first place!

Another problem with relying solely on the iPhone app is that I take my iPhone with me wherever I go. So, if I go out for the day, that means that my wife has no way of controlling the Sonos system, rendering it pretty useless – unless she wants to fire up her notebook.

Oh, and let’s not forget that your iPhone or iPod touch needs to use your standard Wi-Fi network to be able to control your Sonos system. So, if you happen to have a large house and your wireless router is at the opposite end of it, you’ll have trouble connecting with your iPhone. The CR200 connects directly to the Sonos mesh network, which means that it just needs to be in range of a ZonePlayer, which will most likely be in the same room.

Don’t get me wrong though, I’m not suggesting that the Sonos iPhone app isn’t worth having, because it most definitely is. I use it regularly when I’m up in my bedroom and the CR200 is downstairs in my dining room. All I’m saying is that the iPhone app makes a great secondary controller rather than a primary one.

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