One of the biggest problems with the Sonos multi-room music system is that there is no docking solution allowing you to quickly share other people's music when they come visiting. That's because the system is designed to play off a hard drive you've got tucked away on the network, or via streaming services like Spotify and Last.fm rather than sporting an iPod or iPhone dock in every unit.
In steps the Sonos Wirless Dock 100, a mini docking station that connects to the Sonos system allowing you to instantly share the music on your Apple device with the rest of the Sonos system around your home regardless of whether or not it's yours or not. As you might expect, the small white docking station is incredibly, and we mean incredibly, easy to set up.
Plug the Sonos Wireless Dock 100 into the wall, tell your Sonos system to look for a new Zone and press the connect button around the back. Seconds later the dock is connected to the system and can be automatically paired to a zone of your choice (remember it doesn't have speakers of its own).
You can also have it set to Autoplay in zones that are grouped if you've got your connected zone player grouped with other zones as well as the initial volume that it plays too. While the iPhone or iPod is in the dock it will charge the device at the same time.
Of course it doesn't have to be your iPhone or iPod but could be that of a friends who is visiting, and that's really what this accessory is aimed at. The dock basically allows two things: to let you enjoy your friend's music when they come over, and remove the need to have a computer on in your house (or hard drive connected to your network) if you want to stream your own music rather than that from services like Last.fm and Spotify.
Like any dock, it will stream anything that is playing, i.e., Spotify or radio but you won't have control over that from your Sonos remote.
What you do have control over is the volume, either via the hard wired volume buttons on the side of the dock itself, via the on screen volume on the iPod or iPhone you've got plugged in, or if you've got another iPhone, iPad, the dedicated Sonos controller or the Sonos software on the Mac or PC, via that.
But it's not just volume you get control of, but if you're accessing your music from the iPod app within your iDevice then you have full menu control allowing you to select tracks, skip, pause, and play as if it was a hard drive collection connected. If the phone rings, the dock will amplify the ring, however you can't make speaker phone calls with the Wireless Dock 100.
Sound quality will depend on what speakers you have connected to the Zone you are playing in, but you won't be disappointed. We tested it out with a range of different speakers on our own Sonos kit (including the Sonos S5) and were very happy with the performance.
There is a case for wondering whether you need an iPod dock for the Sonos system based on the premise that you've probably got all your music on a shared network drive already connected, and if you haven't then you're streaming it from services like Last.fm and Spotify.
As we've already said, this is for people that either want the ease of just plugging their iPhone / iPod into the system, or have friends that come around a lot with a better music choice than you do.
This isn't an essential upgrade, and at £99, slightly more than we would expect for something that is nice to have but not absolutely necessary. The Sonos Wireless Dock 100 does its job, and does it well, but we aren't sure whether we could recommend you splashing out unless you haven't got better things to spend your money on.