"Single best electronics purchase I've ever made"5.0 starson by bradcorrodi
Pros: Unsurpassed ease of use, continuing improvements, does the one job it promises to do every time. Idiot-proof to setup, tolerant to difficult environments, has all the features you really want without all the clutter from things you'd never use.
Cons: It is expensive, and you will find it addictive. I waited two years for the price to drop - it never moved - I gave in - then 3 months later bought 3 more. Track title search interface could be better - but this is nit picking.
Summary: The product has a clear idea of how most people want to listen to music, and the design is so focused around this that it is entirely intuitive to use. They have not tried to make it stream video or pictures, and as a consequence it does a really, really good job with music. If you are comparing alternatives, be sure to focus on the remote. That is what you will be using 95% of the time you are trying to play music. Can you use the remote literally anywhere within 250 feet of any part of your music system, or are you restricted to line of site - or worse - using your TV as the display for your remote? Can you have as many remotes as you want (including your iPhone)? Does the display show you everything you want to see when you are looking for a particular track, playlist or just enjoying the cover art? Can you use the same interface to seamlessly blend playlists across your own 'local' library of various different music file types and on-line services like Rhapsody? Sonos does it all because they have focused so specifically on doing the music listening experience right.
Added to that, the company has spent some serious time and effort to hide the complexity of setup and configuration. The boxes automatically form a 'mesh' network connecting themselves to every other 'box' in range. The result is signal connectivity better than any WiFi I have ever used from a laptop - without ever having to type in a MAC address, subnet mask or SSID.
There are some things to pay attention to when setting up your system, though. If you do have a big music library, you will have to make it DRM-free to use the Sonos to play it. Sad for some, but better for all of us that they didn't waste time trying to implement DRM when it looks like it is now going away. You should also take your selection of a NAS device very seriously. I had to re-rip my 700+ CD collection 3 times due to NAS failures. Beware the "cheap" Maxtor drives that claim to be RAID. They may have redundant drives inside and so are technically RAID, but if one of them fails it can be nearly impossible to recover a good copy from the other (they are low-level Linux formatted, and the O/S is so bad that it propagates file corruptions from one copy to the other). Western Digital makes good drives, but their "book" drives are better suited to backups than 'live' streaming to the 4 or 5 different rooms you'll soon be serving with your Sonos. When the 'local' drive source of music can't keep up with even the buffered read-stream demanded by the Sonos, it gives up and stops playing - returning to the beginning of the playlist queue as if it had finished. Splash out and by a NetGear ReadyNAS - hot-swappable, and you can put bigger drives in its 4 bays if and when your collection grows. I am glad that I can now add a 2 TB SATA drive to the 2x1TB drives I bought with my ReadyNAS for about the same price.
Accessing internet radio from anywhere in the world is also well-designed bonus that I never anticipated when buying the system. Who needs Sirius?? The one point I would disagree with in the C-Net review is the line-in jacks on your ZP90 - you will use them if you are a sports fan. Now if you have to run upstairs or into the kitchen for a refill, you can have the game on in every room by selecting your A/V Home Theater as your source for the other zones in your house.
My only regret is that I missed out on 2 years of enjoying the Sonos by foolishly not buying one when I first discovered them 4 years ago. I thought that either the price would come down or I would be able to find a cheap, standards-compatible uPNP player that would access my NAS. I was wrong. Great design for a very specific purpose is much, much better than generic components - and is worth paying for because you will enjoy it every day.