Sonos Playbase: Widescreen Sound in a Discreet Package
When your TV needs a bit of help, the Sonos Playbase can provide full-on cinema sound direct to your living room. For sports, films, gaming and wireless music streaming, it delivers great sound quality. With a low profile design, it passes almost unnoticed below the TV but will dominate a room with sound.
How Was the Sonos Playbase Developed?
Established in 2002, Sonos has become one of the best-known home speaker brands. Catering for the digital age, their audio solutions all work wirelessly and can be controlled with an app for Android or iOS. Designed as an alternative to the Sonos Playbar, the Playbase was released in 2017. Once set up, it is managed at the touch of a button through a computer or phone. As part of the brand’s modular ecosystem, the Playbase can be combined with other speakers to create an entire home audio network.
Features of the Playbase
Developed to provide pumping cinema sound when you connect to TV or stream music, the gen 3 Sonos Playbase is finished in a slim, subtle design which looks good anywhere. Inside there are ten class-D amplifiers, six mid-woofers and three tweeters, along with rear speakers and a sub to provide surround sound. Streaming takes place over Wi-Fi and is not affected by calls or texts. You can use it to support a TV weighing up to 35kg and with autoplay, you can decide whether audio output begins when the TV is switched on. Here’s a closer look at what’s on offer:
The Design – Unlike a soundbar, a soundbase is always flatter and capable of bearing weight. As the Playbase fits under a TV it has an inconspicuous finish which is intended to look like a section of granite. It is available in either black or white, to blend with your colour scheme and the shell is made from tough polycarbonate.
The Sonos Playbase is not overwhelmed with cables, it has an optical input and a power cord. By neglecting to add an HDMI, which many people may have been expecting, Sonos underline their love of simplicity.
The Playbase is primarily responsible for making your TV sound stunning. If you want to use an Xbox One or Blu-ray player these are connected to the TV, from where a cable runs to the Playbase. This may seem like a hassle, but it cuts back on the number of wires and ports you need to juggle, keeping your media centre neat.
A single switch is set to the left and is pressed to activate network pairing. Other than this there are no physical buttons, just three keys with touch sensitivity. You can use them to select a volume level or to play and pause. Providing an immediate response to your touch, these keys show how much work has gone into making the Playbase a joy to own.
The Performance – The Playbase might look pint-sized, but the soundstage it produces is huge. You won’t get exactly the same audio result as you might with two or more speakers, but the effects are well placed and accurate enough to keep you engaged with the action. Default settings are active to start with and these will be suitable for most users. The overall sound is smooth and remains so, even if you tend to listen at higher volumes.
Is it Worth the Money?
Soundbases are luxury items that provide room-filling audio, but you’ll have to part with a significant amount of cash to get one. There are cheaper options, but the Sonos Playbase won’t affect the look of your home and won’t leave wires trailing around the TV like a speaker group would. The Playbase is unique because it offers so much, a great level of connectivity, excellent audio and the capacity for expansion. If you’re in the market for a home audio system, the Playbase is an all-in-one solution and this alone may make it worth the cost.
Big Lebowski Sonos Playbase Commercial
Sonos Playbase Specs
Product Type: Soundbase
Colours: Black or white
Compatibility: HD TV/Apple/Android/Blu-ray/games console/laptop
Dimensions: H58 x W72 x D38cm
Networking: Wireless/Airplay 2/Amazon Echo
Audio: Dolby Digital/stereo
Power cable: AC cord
Sonos Playbase vs Bose SoundTouch 300
Both the Bose SoundTouch 300 and the Sonos Playbase are excellent speakers which make your 4K TV experience even more outstanding. They are far smaller than a conventional home cinema arrangement and connect to your Wi-Fi in seconds to stream music. Bose and Sonos each sell a selection other speakers and bass units, to further enhance the sound quality. Furthermore, there is very little to separate these two in terms of price and both have a suite of features to tempt you. Choosing between the two is not easy, but it may come down to where you keep the TV.
The Playbase is a soundbase and designed to support a TV, therefore it is flat and slim in shape. The Bose SoundTouch 300 is a soundbar, which is intended to sit in front of the TV or in a space below, it measures H10.6 x W97.79 x D5.58cm. Unlike the subtler Playbase, the SoundTouch is topped in a sheet of glass with thin aluminium details on the front and sides. In the left corner, there are LED indicators for the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and TV connections. Ports include HDMI input, optical input, power input, microUSB, power cord and various other connections which add further utility. On the Playbase, the minimalist theme dominates again. There is one cable to connect with the TV and a power cable, but no further ports. This prevents a tangle of wires but may put off tech-minded buyers who’d prefer more choice.
Sonos and Bose have both invested in slick apps which allow users to control what they are listening to. Access to radio stations and streaming is pretty evenly matched, though there are more options from Sonos and the Playbase also has an alarm feature.
When it comes to sound, both of these gadgets are packing a good selection of tweeters and midrange speakers, which produce crisp notes in the mid to high range. Neither has a hugely intense bass output, but both have separate bass modules for that. The true appeal of both speakers is the way in which they reproduce individual or assembled sound effects and locate them on the soundstage. From gaming to tunes and films, the end results with both Sonos and Bose are stunning.
Reaching a verdict on which is better for your home is not easy, both have excellent sound quality coupled with exciting features and great connectivity. If none of the smaller details have swayed you, it may come down to location. As a long narrow speaker, the SoundTouch 300 can be hung on a wall or placed in front of a TV, whereas the Playbase is more suitable if you watch TV on a flat surface.
Sonos Playbase vs Sonos Playbar
The majority of people buy a soundbar to enrich their film, music or TV experience. With Sonos, you’ll get great audio, but also a range of other innovative features, like streaming, TruePlay and smartphone connectivity. If you’re unsure of whether to go for the Sonos Playbase or the Sonos Playbar, you could base a decision on where it will be kept. The Playbase is designed for use with a TV on a flat surface while the Playbar will work with wall-mountable TVs.
Aside from this key difference, there is very little to separate the two devices aesthetically and both have the same features. Moreover, the set-up process of each is very straightforward. You simply download an app and are guided through the various stages, so it is almost impossible to go wrong.
A central concern for any buyer is sound quality. Sonos has stated that both these gadgets are equal when it comes to audio output, with nothing to separate them. As all-purpose speakers, they can be used individually or paired with other Sonos speakers to watch films, play games or stream music. Some reviewers argue that the Playbar has the edge in this area, providing a flawless outcome over all genres and reproducing a wider range of sounds with no distortion. However, in some rooms the Playbase may sound better, especially when the TruePlay feature is activated, so the difference is not extremely pronounced.
With so little to divide them, ultimately a choice will come down to placement. People with wall-mounted TVs will find it easier to integrate a Playbar with their setup, while those with stands can just position a TV on the Playbase.
Extend the Sonos Experience with Accessories
The Sonos Playbase is simple, stylish and functional as an individual item, but it can be combined with accessories to make it even better.
Sanus TV Stand for Playbase – The Sanus Swivelling TV Standsfit on top of a Playbase, keeping the TV securely suspended around 20cm above. Once in place you can use it to move the TV 20º to the right or left, to get a better viewing angle. It takes a few minutes to install and weighs 27kg.
Floor Stand – If you plan to buy auxiliary speakers, there are floor stands which keep them off carpet or wood surfaces and improve their performance. Any speaker will generate pressure at higher volumes which may make a floor vibrate, but by using specially designed supports you can avoid that.
Speaker Stand – Speaker stands tend to be smaller than floor stands. They support a speaker on a desk or shelf, putting them at an optimal height for listening and boosting the sound quality.
Sonos Boost – When it comes to tech-based annoyances, the loss of a Wi-Fi signal is one of the worst. With a Sonos set up it is even more frustrating because the kit itself is capable of such great things. To avoid these black spots and dropouts you can install a Sonos Boost. It’s an extender for your Wi-Fi that keeps every area of your home or workplace properly connected.
Pros and Cons of the Sonos Playbase
The Sonos Playbase is much more than a simple speaker, it’s a powerful device that is multifunctional and extremely user-friendly. Nevertheless, before deciding to buy, it’s worth knowing about any disadvantages. Here’s a look at the pros and cons of owning a Sonos Playbase.
Whether you are viewing a film, listening to music, or gaming, the audio experience is crisp and powerful
Solid build quality is coupled with contemporary good looks
Can be adapted to become a multi-room system, just add more speakers and use an app to control the output
The unit has touch keys which are highly responsive
Although it is designed to support a 35kg TV, this is an understated speaker with a low profile
Despite being packed with utility, the Sonos Playbase is easy to use and quick to set up
Streaming is available through many services
This is an expensive product, especially for people planning to create a complete set up
Audio output remains at CD quality, so don’t expect high-resolution digital sound
Lack of Bluetooth connectivity, no HDMI port and no support for dedicated to sound
TruePlay calibrates the sound to match a room’s size and layout, but it’s only available for iOS users
More optical inputs would be helpful
Tips on Saving Money When Buying the Sonos Playbase
Buying electricals tends to be cheaper around December, as retailers lower their prices to attract Christmas gift shoppers, but bargains can also be had in seasonal sales during summer and spring. On Black Friday, which falls on the last day in November, most of the larger retailers slash their prices as part of the event. In past years, Sonos products have been reduced by up to 20% in John Lewis, Currys and Amazon.
Sonos Offers at HotUKDeals
Sonos have developed a collection of high-performance speakers which tend to be expensive. To save money on a soundbase, shoppers can take a look at the HotUKDeals Sonos Playbase page where we collect and list every current deal on the item.