Posts From Category: audio

A bathoom smart speaker - Sonos PLAY:1

My use case is fairly simple. I want something that will play podcasts, Audible, and Apple Music while I am getting ready for the day. I want something loud enough to hear clearly while the showering is running and something that can handle handing off between devices when I start on the speaker but want to finish on my iPad or iPhone. As a bonus, I am looking to find something that claims moisture resistance. This speaker would sit on my bathroom counter, after all.

My first solution was to use my iPhone. It is not ideal as the iPhone speaker just isn’t loud enough while the shower is running to clearly hear the words from Audible or my favorite Podcasts.

I have an Apple HomePod in my home office and I find it an excellent speaker. Before, I run out and add another HomePod to my bathroom, I am hoping to find a less expensive solution. Enter the Sonos PLAY:1. Looking at the specs, it felt like it would meet all of my bathroom speaker needs at less than a $200 price point. It even had the phrase “designed to be moisture resistant” in its specs. So, like I do when I order most things, I went to my Amazon Prime account and clicked Buy Now.

This won’t be a full review of the Sonos PLAY:1. There are much better reviews out there and I am far from an audiophile. I can say that setting up the speaker was easy after downloading the Sonos app and creating a Sonos account. The sound quality is fantastic. I don’t think I can say it is better than the HomePod, but I can’t say it is worse. I can say it is significantly better than the Google Home and Amazon Echo smart speakers I’ve had in the past.

One checkbox down.

My next concern was volume while in the shower. Not a problem. Of course, anyone else in my home might not appreciate the volume level, but no problem hearing the speaker over the shower noise.

Two checkboxes down.

The final concern was keeping my place in my currently playing podcast or Audible audiobook. This is where Sonos failed for me. AirPlay 2 isn’t out yet and this speaker claims it will work with AirPlay 2 once released from Apple. In the meantime, one has to use the Sonos app to play podcasts or audiobooks. Audible worked fairly well since it was built-in as a Sonos app and didn’t need to go through the phone to play. However, podcasts via my iPhone and the Sonos app were disappointing.

Third checkbox up (ok, not checked).

Let me explain. 1) I can not play video podcasts. Yes, I understand that playing video through a speaker isn’t possible, but why not play the audio from the video podcast at least? It isn’t a huge deal to workaround but requires me to subscribe to both the audio and video streams of identical podcasts. 2) The big issue for me is if I do not finish any given episode, I have to find where I left off on the Apple Podcast App when switching back to my iPhone or iPad. There is no handoff between the Sonos podcast app and the baked in Apple Podcast app.

Since I bought this speaker to be primarily my podcast player, this was disappointing. I also knew that when Airplay 2 comes out this should no longer be an issue.

Jump ahead two weeks. The first world annoyance of having to sync my place in a podcast between using the Sonos app and Apple Podcast app caused me to return the speaker. In a way, I fell bad that this one lack of feature was the deciding factor even though I knew it will be most likely solved in a few months. Starting podcasts only to lose my place when I left that room wasted a lot of my time. I want something that can do the hand off cleaner and didn’t want to wait for the Air Play 2 release.

I’ve ordered a second HomePod and am eating the extra cost for this one feature.

My recommendation to everyone else is if this isn’t a big deal to you, then the Sonos Play:1 is the better choice. If it is a concern and waiting for AirPlay 2 isn’t a problem, I suggest waiting for that feature release. For me, I wanted it now and decided to give Apple my money to meet my requirements.

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