Sonos the maker of the highly acclaimed wireless multi-room music system have just released their first iPod/iPhone dock. What differentiates it from other docks is that it integrates with the Sonos system. It wirelessly transmits music from iPods, iPod Touches, and iPhone’s to a Sonos ZonePlayer allowing playback through one’s home stereo or Sonos speakers.
With the Sonos Wireless Dock integration of Apple devices into the Sonos ecosystem becomes seamless. Recently Apple showcased their version of wireless music streaming dubbed Airplay;the question remains whether the Apple version will as simple to use as the Sonos model or will it be more complicated and lead to user frustration.
From experience I know how simple and intuitive the Sonos system functions. I have been using the Sonos set up for over two years now and have not had one issue during that time. That is the beauty of Sonos; it is truly plug-and-play or as Steve Jobs would say “it just works”.
In addition the Sonos Wireless Dock quickly charges both iPods and iPhones with its built in 1 Amp charger.
Sonos Wireless Dock comes packaged in a white cardboard box with an image an iPod Touch housed in the dock on the front. The back displays a list of compatible Apple devices in seven different languages. We see the made for iPod/iPhone labeling which means the Sonos Wireless Dock is an Apple approved accessory.
Inside the package we find the Sonos Wireless Dock, an AC adapter and instruction packet. The Sonos Wireless Dock comes in white and is composed of a white matte plastic. It is a bit longer than the average iPod dock measuring 9.5 cm x 8 cm x 2.5 cm. On the front of the unit is an embossed Sonos logo. Just behind this logo we see the 30 pin dock connector which comes with a removable adapter designed to accommodate most of the larger Apple iDevices.
On the right side of the Sonos Wireless Dock are the volume control buttons and on the back is an AC connection, two LED lights and two connector buttons. The left side of the dock is totally smooth. Flipping the dock over we find a rubberized base to keep it from sliding with a Sonos label along with a serial number in the center. There are perforated vents along the bottom for the built-in wireless system.
The AC adapter is white as well keeping with the white Apple aesthetic. The packet contains a setup instruction card along with a Sonos help sheet and device specs.
Dock anywhere. Play everywhere. Charge anytime. That’s why the Sonos Wireless Dock is the perfect accessory for your Sonos system. Now you can wirelessly play all the music that’s stored or playing on an iPod or iPhone in all the rooms where you have Sonos. And because it’s wireless, you can dock and charge wherever it’s most convenient and still enjoy the music all over the house. Best of all, the Sonos Wireless Dock delivers the highest fidelity audio quality by playing the digital music stored on your iPod or iPhone without ever converting it to analog like most conventional docks.
Wireless music playback on Sonos
Music playback: The Sonos Wireless Dock will play what’s stored or playing on an iPod or iPhone, including many music apps.
em>Autoplay mode: Dock your iPod or iPhone and the music that’s been playing automatically starts playing on Sonos.
Autoplay settings: Zone/Volume: Select the zone (or group of zones) where the music will automatically play and the desired volume.
Multi-room playback: Wirelessly play the same song from a docked iPod or iPhone in every room of the house – perfectly synchronized.
Flexible music control: You can browse and select the music from either your docked iPod or any Sonos Controller.
Dock anywhere you want
SonosNet 2.0 wireless mesh network technology: State-of-the-art wireless functionality allows you to dock your iPod or iPhone wherever you want and play back the music on any or all the Sonos ZonePlayers in the house.
Directly plays the digital music stored on your iPod or iPhone
The Sonos Wireless Dock sends your digital music files wirelessly to ZonePlayers throughout your home—without ever converting to analog like most conventional docks. This preserves the sound quality from the iPod to the speaker, ensuring you get the highest fidelity sound.
Charge your iPod or iPhone simultaneously—and super fast
Charging dock: Quickly charges your iPod or iPhone while it’s seated in the dock, thanks to Apple’s 1Amp charging specification.
Setup of the Sonos Wireless Dock requires at least one Sonos ZonePlayer available on your home network. The iPod/iPhone resting in the dock acts as a music server, which requires the ZonePlayer for playback. The first step is to plug the Sonos Wireless Dock into an AC outlet.
Following the setup instructions the install takes all of 30 seconds. Linking the dock to your Sonos network can be done through the Sonos Controller, iPod/iPad Sonos app or Sonos Controller for Mac or PC. Navigate to the Settings screen and select add a Sonos Component.
Now you will be instructed to press the connect button on the back of the dock. After a few seconds the dock should be recognized and you are ready to plug in and play your iPod or iPhone through your Sonos system.
The Sonos Wireless Dock uses the SonosNet 2.0 wireless mesh network technology to help keep your home blanketed with wireless music coverage. Like the Sonos system in general the Sonos Wireless Dock works seamlessly for wireless playback of your music from your Apple device.
Once the Apple device was docked I was able to navigate and control it remotely using my iPad and iPhone apps along with the Mac Sonos Controller and the original Sonos Controller. Music that was playing on the iPod or iPhone automatically starts playing on the Sonos system when plugged into the dock.
Now you may ask why play your Apple device through the Sonos system if you have your music library already on the network. With the wireless dock I can let my kids can plug in their iPods and listen to their own playlists and music without having to navigate my large Sonos Music Library or any intervention on my part. Guests can come over and plug in their music as well.
Since there is no need to convert the audio to analog like most docks using audio cables the fidelity of the source material stays intact. Obviously if you connect your Sonos ZonePlayer via analog cables this is may not be the case.
The one issue I can see someone having with the Sonos Wireless Dock is that it does charge the Apple devices but can not sync data as there is no USB connection. The appearance of the Sonos Wireless Dock is the only thing I would gripe about; it looks more like an earlier iPod accessory than a more recent accessories. However it does match the Sonos design which is what I assume Sonos was aiming for.
One complaint people have about the Sonos ecosystem is the price but in recent years they have made building your own Sonos set up much affordable with the introduction of free iPod and iPad iPod Apps. Now the only Sonos device required is a ZonePlayer and owning either an Apple iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad to get a system started.
The Sonos Wireless Dock should not be confused with any other iPod/iPhone dock. While some docks do allow music playback through audio output cables, the Sonos Wireless Dock offers true digital playback especially when the Sonos ZonePlayer is connected via optical connection. It is quick to setup, simple to use and just plain works.
During my time as a reviewer I have reviewed countless iPhone and iPod accessories and the Sonos Wireless Dock is the first one in a long time to offer something new and exciting. If you own a Sonos system and have Apple mobile devices then the Sonos Wireless Dock is definitely something you should pick up. The wireless dock is a nice affordable way to integrate Apple devices with your home stereo wirelessly. If you don’t own a Sonos setup then I highly recommend picking up one of those as well.
+Simple to use
+Wireless play back of music off Apple devices
+Charges iPods and iPhones
+Music playing on iDevice will automatically start playing on Sonos when docked
-Requires ZonePlayer (sold separately)
-Does not sync data
-Appearance could look more modern
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