Sony has today shown Pocket-lint its new range of multi-room audio devices. The self-contained speaker systems are clearly intended to compete with the current champion of such things, Sonos. And from what we saw, we were very impressed indeed.
There are three self-contained speaker systems in the range. The first is the smallest, the SA-NS310, clearly aimed at the kitchen. The next model is the SA-NS410, which is the same power as the largest, the SA-NS410, although it lacks the 360 degree speaker of the higher-end model. The 410 also features a five-hour battery, which means you can pick it up and carry it to any room.
Sony has done its level best to make the set-up of its audio system as simple as possible. Each speaker creates its own wireless hotspot when you first turn it on, a free iOS or Android app then introduces the speaker to your wireless network. And then you’re good to go. As with Sonos, there is software which keeps the speakers in sync too, so you can listen in multiple rooms without having any nasty delays.
There are cloud music services – like Music Unlimited – which integrate with the speakers and if you have an iOS-powered device, then you can also make use of Airplay. DLNA servers are supported too, so if you have a NAS on your home network, then you can play music to the speakers from it. There’s no hardware remote though, so you will need an Android device or an iPod/iPad or iPhone.
Apparently, multi-room audio isn’t such a big deal in Japan. Smaller houses and thinner walls mean that it’s not really necessary. But Sony seems to recognise that Europe and the US are big markets for these devices, and it has designed them with that in mind. There are no prices yet, but Pocket-lint understands that Sony will be doing its best to make the speakers attractive to people who might not want to pay the premium on Sonos hardware.
Do you think Sony can unseat Sonos? Let us know in the comments below: