There is no longer enough time to enjoy music while not doing anything else. Yes, I still do listen to music, but that’s when I’m on the treadmill or driving somewhere, never as an activity in itself. A product like the Sonos Five might be just what’s needed to bring me back on track, quite literally.
The Sonos Five is a high-fidelity Wi-Fi stereo speaker. It is larger than most Bluetooth speakers and can be paired with other Sonos devices in the house. Interestingly, the orientation of the Five can be made vertical in case you want to pair it with another of the same. I have not seen many speakers that work well in multiple orientations. The Sonos does a good job of this, also because it has the ability to fine-tune its output based on where the speaker is placed.
The Sonos Five has a touch panel on top for you to skip songs and adjust the volume. There is also a small LED light there for you to know if the Wi-Fi is connected fine. In the rear, there is a line-in option in case you want to go wired, maybe from a legacy turntable unit at home. Otherwise, the Five is as simple as any audio product can get.
So one uses the Sonos app to set up the speaker to the home Wi-Fi and add services like Amazon Music and Spotify to stream your music. The Sonos Five is Apple AirPlay-enabled so you can stream directly onto the speaker. However, your phone and the Sonos Five need to be on the same network for everything to work smoothly.
The magic literally begins once the Sonos is connected. One experience that is etched in my memory is hearing Jagjit Singh’s Hey Raam for the first time on the banks of Beas two decades ago. Hearing this soul-stirring bhajan was an equally ethereal experience on the Sonos Five. As is my habit while reviewing speakers, I also played the Hi-Fi version of Hotel California, streaming from Spotify. Let me tell you, that was a special 7 minutes. The signature thumping before the prelude, the guitar that ushers in the song, the crowd going crazy at the realisation which song is coming up next… it’s as if I was transported to an Eagles concert.
At Rs 59,999, the Sonos Five is not a replacement for a Bluetooth speaker. It is what you would buy instead of a full-blown music system in 2022. But this is clearly an investment for those who appreciate music at its finest and will go the extra mile to play audio just the way they want.