Several manufacturers create powerful audio speakers that stream digital music.
One of the most famous and respect brands that manufactures reliable speakers is Sonos. They’ve released several best-selling and out-of-the-box devices that exceed the capabilities of every other product on the market.
Two notable releases are the PLAY:1 and the PLAY:3. The latter is the newest product that is larger compared to its younger brother. As for the PLAY:1 model, it’s the first-generation Sonos speaker that is well-respected on the market.
Sonos PLAY 1 vs PLAY 3: Pros & Cons and Verdict
In this Sonos PLAY:3 vs PLAY:1 article, we’ll compare, evaluate and rate the most important aspects of both speakers. We’ll also present detailed charts, and lastly, we’ll come up with a reasonable verdict and crown either of these two as the leading product.
1. Setup Process
The first topic we have to write about is the setup processes of Play 1 and Play 3. It’s essential for these speakers to have straightforward and intuitive installation processes since no one likes wasting hours on reading manuals, surfing the community forums and watching guides on YouTube.
SONOS PLAY:1 AND PLAY:3
Since both speakers are from the same manufacturer, Sonos Play 1 and Play 3 have identical setup processes which are simple, intuitive and very straightforward.
We’ve completed the setup of both and can confirm that it only takes a few minutes to activate either of these two. If you’re interested in the step-by-step guide, we’ll drop an excellent guide that’ll guide you through the whole process.
If the video isn’t being much of help, I’ll also write down a simple guide that’ll give you an idea how to do it. Alternatively, the package of your Sonos speaker will include a well-written user’s manual that perfectly explains the whole thing.
- First, you connect the speaker to the power source
- Then you turn it on
- You connect it to Wi-Fi using the mobile application
- You do the wavy-wavy-hand-dancey
- Done. You can start playing music.
That’s pretty much everything you’ll have to do to activate your Sonos speaker. If you still find any issues with the setup, make sure to reach out the support team of Sonos. Those people are superb, and I’m sure they’ll help with anything you might be facing.
It’s essential for all modern devices to have eye-catching, attractive and eye-pleasing designs since everyone tries to shop for products that improve the overall attractiveness of the indoor interior.
What I love about Sonos Play 1 and Play 3 is that they ideally blend with the indoor interior. Plus, they’re well-sized and can comfortably fit anywhere in the house.
While the PLAY:3 and PLAY:5 flawlessly blend with your home decor, they still look a bit odd. The main reason why I have this strange feeling about them is due to them not having the traditional Sonos look.
On the other hand, the PLAY:1 has the signature Sonos design and looks terrific in any room. The black one (Sonos PLAY:1 is also available in white colour) is my favourite.
On the speaker itself, you’ll find a volume rocker, play/pause button and an Ethernet socket. If you’re interested how the speaker looks like, take a look at the picture dropped below:
Considering the price you’re paying for the Sonos PLAY:1, it’s exceptionally well made. A single interaction is enough to feel the quality and high-class status. It never feels like a cheap speaker.
The dimensions of the PLAY:1 is 4.7 x 4.7 x 6.4 inches and weighs 4.1 pounds. While the speaker is quite heavy, note that the there’s no built-in battery. Sonos PLAY:1 is meant to be placed in a room and never moved (well, you can move it to a different room, but never outdoors if not covered).
The PLAY:3 is larger than the PLAY:1 and smaller than the PLAY:5. The size of the speaker is just right, and you won’t have trouble placing it in your house. The coolest part is that you can put it in both positions, vertically and horizontally.
Like the PLAY:1, the PLAY:3 is also available in two colours – black and white. It has three buttons on top to change the volume or mute the speaker. If you’re interested how the speaker looks, we’ve included another picture that shows how attractive this particular model is.
The dimensions of the Sonos PLAY:3 are 5.2 x 10.5 x 6.3 inches and weigh 5.7 pounds. The main concern people have about the speaker is the placing. Some think that the size is too big and it’ll not fit on a bookshelf, side or a night table.
If that’s the concern you’re having, remember that you can place it either vertically or horizontally and don’t worry about the sound being muddy. The PLAY:3 auto-switches to mono and stereo modes and calibrates the room so that it makes the sound just right.
What we have to discuss now is the features of Sonos PLAY:1 and PLAY:3. One of the main reasons why people purchase these speakers is due to their features.
So it’s crucial to know what these two have to offer and if they are indeed worth the investment. In order to find it out, we’ve created a detailed chart where we’ve included all the vital features of both Sonos speakers.
The chart above shows the difference between these two and the superiority of the PLAY:3 speaker is visible. While there’s also a significant difference regarding capabilities and sound, we should note that the PLAY:1 and PLAY:3 are for different purposes.
4. Sound Quality
We can consider this part of our comparison article as the most important since the main reason why people purchase these Sonos speakers is due to their sound capabilities. If either of these two can’t meet our minimum requirements, there’s no need for us to invest in such products.
The first thing we need to make clear is that a PLAY:1 is a small speaker and can’t compete or match the sound capabilities of the PLAY:3 and PLAY:5. If you’re looking for something sturdy, make sure to read our Sonos PLAY:3 vs PLAY:5 article.
As a standalone speaker, it has a rich sound and compared to its size and price, the PLAY:1 delivers an out-of-the-box experience.
As for the insides of the speaker, a single Sonos PLAY:1 has two drivers, a mid-range/bass driver and a smaller tweeter. What makes the sound of the speaker exceptional is the stronger driver magnets it uses.
While the speaker isn’t meant to be the primary music source, the sound is so good that a few of my friends use it as the principal speaker.
Any speaker that is similarly sized as the PLAY:1 has to comprise the sound quality but the PLAY:1 works terrific on high volumes. What makes the speaker standout from its competitors is the fact that it refuses to distort the sound even when maxed out.
So you’ll never have to worry about the sound being dull.
The most significant drawback of the PLAY:1 is that it can’t handle more than a small room. If you think about placing the speaker in a large room with high ceilings, don’t expect much from the PLAY:1. In that case, you’ll have to purchase at least a pair of PLAY:1 speakers to fill the room.
Unlike the PLAY:3 and PLAY:5, the PLAY:1 is more sensitive to placement. As we’ve tested, it works better if placed in a corner.
The next thing we did was pairing two PLAY:1 speakers that unlocked the full potential of the device. As a result, two speakers filled the room, and the whole listening process became more enjoyable.
The difference was so big that, if you’re willing to invest a bit more, we’d recommend getting two Sonos PLAY:1 speakers than a single PLAY:3.
Compared to the PLAY:1, the PLAY:3 is quite loud and can be heard throughout a 550 square-foot apartment. That’s pretty impressive considering the size of the Sonos speaker.
Since the PLAY:3 was mainly built to fill a large room, it has three amplifiers and three speaker drivers. What makes the speaker even better is the ability to detect its position. In other words, if you have it placed in vertical or horizontal position, PLAY:3 will take notice and will switch to mono or stereo mode to improve the sound quality.
What we’ve noticed while testing the PLAY:3 was that it flawlessly works on low and medium volume, but as soon as we went all out, the sound became a bit muddy.
Luckily, there are a few ways to manage the sound issue to maximise the capabilities of the Sonos PLAY:3:
- Purchase a Pair – Purchasing a pair of PLAY:3 speakers can be the best decision you can make. If you’re willing to invest in two PLAY:3 models, each can take one side of the stereo channel, and it’ll take care of the bass issues.
- TruePlay – While the TruePlay doesn’t do wonders, it’s still a terrific feature that adjusts the sound of the speaker to the needs of a room.
Here’s the other side of the story:
Even if you purchase two PLAY:3 speakers (the same goes for PLAY:1), you’re unlikely to place them in the same room. Everyone loves diversifying things and the majority of Sonos owners I know (who own a pair or more), have their speakers placed in different rooms like the bedroom, kitchen, living room and even in a bathroom.
Compared to the iPhone docks that are in the same price range as the PLAY:3, the Sonos speaker exceeds their capabilities, sound quality and durability.
One of the most debated topics I’ve lately heard is whether Bluetooth is better than Wi-Fi for wireless audio.
Firstly, all Sonos speakers use Wi-Fi, and I’ve never seen a buyer who had connectivity issues.
Secondly, The biggest perk of Wi-Fi connectivity is that it allows you to stream high-quality audio files, making the sound cleaner and enjoyable.
The TruePlay we’ve mentioned above is a new feature that helps with the speaker placement. Since a lot of buyers complained about the sound quality of Sonos that was caused by poor placement, Sonos released a feature that compensates for lousy placement by adjusting its sound so that it’s more transparent and optimised.
While the effect of TruePlay isn’t significant if you’re using a single speaker, there’s a considerable difference if you own several PLAY:3 devices.
5. Mobile Application
It’s crucial for a company like to Sonos to have a functional, reliable and a well-built mobile application since we have to use it quite often to control our speakers.
If the mobile app of Sonos is buggy, crashy and hard to use, it can lower the user experience that’ll cause a lot of trouble in the future. So we need to be sure that Sonos’ app is intuitive and straightforward.
Luckily, the app is well-built and doesn’t cause extra hassle and headaches. It’s well-structured, easy to use and very straightforward. Whenever you get your first Sonos speaker, the first thing you’ll have to do is to download the mobile app for it to guide you through the whole setup process.
The best part of the app is that you can stream music from different sources including the most popular ones like Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal, Google Play Music, Pandora and Groove. Plus, you can play your private collection using your computer and drive.
The only drawback here is that TruePlay only works with iOS devices. If you have an Android phone, you’ll have to live without it.
If you’re interested what the app is like, we’ve dropped a picture below that shows a few main sections displayed on an Android phone.
The one thing that would’ve made the app an out-of-the-box experience is if it could stream music, YouTube clips or video game sounds directly from your smartphone. It can still do it by having a cable and the 3.5mm jack, but it would’ve been great if it was as accessible Apple Music or Spotify.
Frankly, the app is well-built, straightforward and intuitive. We’ve never had a case of it crashing, freezing or bugging.
6. Advantages and Disadvantages
Besides everything we’ve discussed, it’s important to know the advantages and disadvantages of Sonos PLAY:3 and PLAY:1 to avoid any misunderstandings after purchasing either of these two.
In order to find out the pros and cons, we’ve created two detailed charts that list the advantages and disadvantages of both speakers.
|Well-Balanced Bass||No Bluetooth|
|Wall Mountable||Proprietary system|
|Multi-Room Audio||No High-Res Support|
|Works with Streaming Services||No Aux Input|
|Amazon Alexa Support|
|Straightforward Mobile Application|
|Clear Mids||PURCHASE SONOS PLAY:1|
|Well-Balanced Bass||No Bluetooth|
|Stellar Sound||Proprietary system|
|Multi-Room Audio||No High-Res Support|
|Works with Streaming Services||No Auxilary Input|
|Amazon Alexa Support|
|Straightforward Mobile Application|
|Clear Mids||PURCHASE SONOS PLAY:3|
Those are all the advantages and disadvantages of PLAY:1 and PLAY:3. While the pros and cons of both are nearly identical, the main difference is in terms of capabilities.
When people encounter any trouble with their devices, the first thing they do is searching for answers in the user’s manual, YouTube guides and community forums. After failing to find a solution on their own, as a last resort, they reach out to the support teams.
Fortunately, Sonos is well-known for having a reliable, caring and a responsive customer care area. We’ve reached out a few times and always received professional answers and tips.
8. Comparison Chart: SONOS PLAY:1 vs PLAY:3
Before concluding our Sonos PLAY:3 vs PLAY:1 article, we’d like to present a detailed chart where we compare these speakers directly.
The chart shows the similarity between the PLAY:1 and PLAY:3. It’s obvious that Sonos tries to maximise the audio capabilities of their speakers and spends less time on introducing newer features.
While the PLAY:3 and PLAY:1 don’t have similar audio capabilities like the PLAY:5, they deliver a superior streaming-audio experience.
The Bottom Line
Both Sonos PLAY:1 and PLAY:3 are excellent audio speakers that have thousands of positive reviews and satisfied customers. These two are best-selling devices on Amazon and exceed the capabilities of their competitors.
Sonos speakers standout from others due to their uniqueness, sleek design, terrific audio capabilities and innovative discoveries. We do believe that if someone plans on investing in audio speakers, Sonos is the only way to go.
As for the actual comparison, if you want to purchase a single speaker, go for the PLAY:3 since it’s more powerful and enhanced. The PLAY:3 delivers an out-of-the-box experience and is the best mid-sized speaker on the market.
The sole case where we’d recommend you to get the PLAY:1 is if you’re willing to invest in a pair. Without a doubt, two SONOS PLAY:1 speakers exceed what a single PLAY:3 device has to offer.
On the other hand, pairing two PLAY:3 speakers will blow your mind. The vibe it has is truly unmatchable.
So that sums it up. If you’re not willing to purchase more than a single speaker, the PLAY:3 will better meet your needs.
|Audio Speaker||SONOS PLAY:1||SONOS PLAY:3|