Sonos Play 5 vs Play 3: Which is better?

There are many different options when it comes to looking for a wireless home speaker in your home. More and more of us are looking for a higher quality of speaker, and although the cheaper options like the Echo Dot are great for small rooms, they don’t have enough power to carry through a whole room

This is where brands like Sonos come into play. Undoubtedly the current King of home audio system setups, Sonos have made a lot of effort in being the best at what they do. And the Sonos Play series is a big part of that.

Sonos Play 5 vs Play 3

The Sonos Play 5 is the better choice now because Sonos have essentially given up on the Play 3, and they’re focussing all their efforts on the Play 5. It’s better in terms of sound quality, bass response and

However, Sonos is getting pretty notorious for discontinuing many of their product range. Discontinued doesn’t mean that you won’t still get support for the product, but it does mean that there’s going to be a lack of new updated.

For example, they’ve now completely discontinued the Sonos Play 1 in favour of a newer improved model, the Sonos One SL. Sonos usually continue to provide support and updates for a while with older devices, and then cease this after a year or so.

But, lets get onto the two different speakers at hand; the Play 3 and the Play 5.

Sonos Play 3

So, I mentioned that Sonos are notorious for discontinuing their products, didn’t I? well, back in 2018, the Sonos Play 3 was discontinued, so it’s not longer being produced by the company. In fairness to them, it was first released all the way back in 2011, so it’s not exactly like it was a particularly new speaker on the market.

This means that you probably won’t be able to find new models of the Play 3 for sale, but you can still find them secondhand. And, we can still see how it compares to the Play 5. When it was released, the Play 3 was priced at $299/£249. It’s useful to know this, as you might be able to find it a whole lot cheaper than this on the used market.

Design

The Sonos Play 3 is designed to be used in all small to medium sized rooms. It works as well as a main speaker as it does as a single bedside speakers, so it’s a true utility option if you’re not entirely sold on one model in particular.

Out of the two, it’s much the lighter and smaller in terms of dimensions. It weighs 2.6kg, which is actually pretty heavy, just light in comparison to the Play 5. The Play 3 is 10 inches in length.

Like all Sonos speakers, one of the best things about it is that you can easily use it with the Sonos app. It’s also easy to set up with your Alexa too, which gives you a few different ways that you can control it.

Performance

Whilst I don’t think that the Play 3 is on par with the 5 in terms of performance, that doesn’t mean by any standards that it’s a bad speaker. I just think that it’s somewhere between the Sonos One, which is a great smaller speaker, and the Play 5, which is a good mid-sized speaker. There’s not a lot of room for another range in between in my opinion.

But the Sonos Play 3 does perform well, with full wifi support and easy integration with any streaming service. The Play 3 manages to deal with mid-range audio better than many home speakers out there, which is what we’re looking for from a good speaker.

Sonos Play 5

The first generation of the Play 5 has been discontinued now, which means you’ll no longer receive updates for it. The 2nd generation is still going strong, and there are no current signs that it’s going to be discontinued from use anytime in the near future.

Why? Well, it’s one of Sonos best performers across the board, and it still has a lot to offer. They’re definitely better at delivering bass than the Play 3’s, by quite a significant amount as well.

Design

For the most part, all of the integration of the two speakers are the same. They both rely on a wireless wifi connection to your devices working over the 2.4GHz band, and they’re both easily compatible with Amazon Alexa. You can easily adjust the bass and treble on both speakers too.

There are a few subtle differences that the Play 5 has over the Play 3. This is things like in-built humidity resistance, which makes the Play 5 a more durable and long lasting option in comparison to the smaller speaker.

In terms of design, it’s much bigger than the 3. It’s more than 6kg in weight, and more than double the size of the smaller Play 3. It’s also substantially bigger in terms of dimensions as well. With this size comes a a big improvement in terms of audio quality.

Performance

There are some dramatic differences that make the Sonos Play 5 the better in terms of performance. Much of this is down to the actual hardware and components of the speakers itself.

Now, the Play 5 has 3 tweeters, whereas the Play 3 only has one tweeter. And again, the Play 5 has three mid-woofers, whereas the 3 only has two. It also has double the amount of amplifiers. So, it’s very clear to see why it’s better in terms of performance and volume.

To really make the most of the Play 5, you’ll need to use the software that comes with Sonos speakers: Trueplay. This will analyse the surroundings of the speakers, and adjust it’s settings to ensure that it’s providing a good sound based on where it’s placed. This is available with both of these Sonos Play models.

Sonos Play 3 and Play 5 – Main Differences

So, what does all of this information tell us overall? Well, quite a lot actually. It shows us that;

Price – There’s a massive difference in price between the two. The Play 5 is still £499/$499 if you purchase it new. The Play 3 is around half of that price, so you can essentially get two Play 3’s for every 5. Definitely something to think about.
Power – Although both of these speakers are pretty well known for their power, the Play 5 is the clear winner here. It’s enough to fill a whole room on it’s own, although it’s still better used as a stereo pair if you can afford it.
Price – There’s a massive difference in price between the two. The Play 5 is still £499/$499 if you purchase it new. The Play 3 is around half of that price, so you can essentially get two Play 3’s for every 5. Definitely something to think about.
Controls – Although both of these speakers are really designed to be controlled via voice or phone, you might want to use the controls on the speaker at some point. If you do, then the Play 5 has touch controls, whereas the Play 3 doesn’t have touch controls.

Verdict

Even though the Play 3 speaker is now discontinued, I still would prefer to opt for the Play 5 instead. Why? Well, they’re a better choice for anyone looking to introduce a powerful speaker into their home that can cope very well on it’s own.

For example, if you were looking to create your own home setup, then you might want to pair a set of Play 3’s with a subwoofer, which can then deal with the low frequency sounds. However, I think that just a single pair of Play 5’s would be able to cope with delivers all ranges of sounds, with no need for a subwoofer. This is the main difference between them – the Play 5’s are just more powerful all-around.

This being said, you don’t need to even get a pair of Play 5’s (although obviously that would be better for larger rooms). It can deliver a lot of volume into a small-to-mid size room all on it’s own. And if we look at the two speakers overall, then I’d have to say that the Play 5 is the better choice of the two.

About Jon

Hey, I'm Jon. I'm an engineer by trade, so it makes sense that I'm obsessed with anything technology related! On the weekends, you can find me playing around with my computers or fixing something around the house. Feel free to leave a comment if you want to get in touch.

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