Friday, December 4, 2009
As a long time reseller of Sonos music distribution products, I've always praised the products that Sonos has put out over the years. Well thought out, engineered, and most importantly, designed. By taking a page from the Apple Computers page of giving the customer cutting edge products, Sonos has developed demand products over the years that music buffs everywhere can be proud to sing the praises of. A cult following of sort-despite the somewhat steep for most budgets price tags. But that changes somewhat with Sonos' latest product release, the Sonos S5.
Up till now, Sonos always kept the speaker and the amplifier in its product seperate. Enter the S5 zone product. The Sonos ZonePlayer S5 is a high-performance wireless music system with 5 speakers powered by 5 dedicated digital amplifiers. With 2 tweeters, 2 mid-range drivers and 1 subwoofer, the S5 unlike previous Sonos zone units incorporates it all in one. And wow! It looks sleek, sexy, and sounds fantastic at any volume! I would say it sounds as good as just about any Bose mini system out there. Yes, it sounds that good! Much like other Sonos zone products that connect to your home network via hard-wired ethernet or wireless 802.11x, the simple 2-minute setup is a no brainer. Plug in, pair up, and listen to any number of music libraries, online radio stations, or any of the subscription music services like Deezer, Last.fm, Napster®, Pandora®, Rhapsody®, SIRIUS® Internet Radio, and downloads from any service offering DRM-free tracks. You can purchase a seperate LCD remote, download a FREE iPhone or iPod Touch app, or download the FREE PC desktop controller software to navigate and play your music or playlists.
The Sonos S5 is a hit, and currently backordered from most if not all dealers including the Sonos website itself, an indication of how well this product has taken the Sonos community by storm, and also an indication that a product of this kind is a long time coming. I've been using Sonos since it was introduced at CES a few years back. Sonos does a great job of updating and providing technical suppot. Simply put, you pay a bit more, but what you get back is a life-long partner in keeping up with the latest technology (like iPhone and iPod touch apps). With over 25,000 online radio stations, you'll never run out of music to listen to. And the Sonos system never fails to deliver on it's promise, to keep you rockin 24/7. For music buffs who appreciate an elegant way to accesss their music libary without the hassle of firing up a PC, Sonos delivers. The S5 sells for a retail of $399 and you can connect up to 8 to a single network with each playing a unique track at any given time. This is true for all zone players Sonos offers.
While the Sonos system is not for everyone or every budget, it's not just an iPod on steroids by an stretch of the imagination. Sure you can plug in an iPod to a dock and listen. But this has it's limitations of course. Sonos allows you to access your iTunes or music library on a NAS (Network Attached Storage Unit) so your PC doesn't have to be on at all. Sonos uses it's own private wireless network to communicate, so it really doesn't tie up your existing data network for the most part. All in all, Sonos has another winner on it's hands, and the S5 is just another great product in a series that keeps getting better all the time. Now excuse me while I crank up the volume.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
2009 is almost a memory and 2010 is coming on fast. This can only mean one thing. CES is upon us. For those who aren't so tech savvy, CES stands for Consumer Electronics Show. This is the annual Las Vegas Expo that always comes after everyone has had more Egg Nog than they care to admit, and right after most New Years hangovers have become a distant enough memory to forget your pledge to never allow your lips to grace another alcohol laced drink ever again. Yes folks, It's that time of year again and boy are we ready to bring you the best CES 2010 has to offer.
This won't be a booth by booth rundown. No sir. We will leave that type of coverage to the big fellows at sites like Engadget or Gizmodo. Our reporting will encompass more of the real unique, innovative and cutting edge tech items announced or introduced at the show that have been vastly improved, or are new to the world of tech. This of course will be at my personal discretion based on what I see as tech newsworthy. I will do my best to provide writings on items that are of interest to everyone.
CES officially kicks off on Thursday January 7, 2010, and runs through Sunday January 10th. Press-Preview day is Wednesday January 8th where Bloggers and members of the Press are invited by the major (as well as some minor) consumer electronics companies to attend 45 minute news conferences outlining each of their major announcements and product introductions for the show, as well as demonstrating consumer electronics items in public for the first time ever. Panasonic, Samsung, Sharp, Toshiba, LG, and Sony usually have the most elaborate press conferences on Wednesday. These conferences usually happen on the expo floor at the Las Vegas Convention Center where CES itself is held, but some are also held off-site at hotels like the Venetian since most conference speakers have to compete with the remnants of buzzing saws and pounding hammers putting the finishing touches on the mammoth displays still being constructed the convention center floor.
The consensus is that CES 2010 will be a bit toned down or muted somewhat if you will, from years past given the current world-wide economic condition, with most corporate discretionary spending all but vanished. Shows past usually featured elaborate stage shows, major celebrity sightings, and plenty of concerts from the hottest artists on the scene today. Most of those types of EXTRAS probably will be far and few between. However make no mistake, CES is an electronics showcase that sets the pace for the year to come in consumer electronics. All eyes around the world will be on Las Vegas this coming weekend, with over 100,000 consumer electronics industry related attendees converging on the City of Sin, all to see, feel, and touch the latest gadgets coming from the giants of tech in the coming year. It is where buyers for major consumer electronics chains like Best-Buy and Wal-Mart come to map out their purchasing strategy for the year ahead. CES can launch a new product into the stratosphere, and it can be the last place you ever see an ill conceived tech product. One never knows.
So my fellow tech guru's, electronic aficionados and gadget hungry humans, sit back, relax and enjoy our unique coverage of CES 2010. We look forward to providing you with information on the best of the best at CES. Check back here starting late Wednesday evening for a preview of what we were previed to, and every day after that till the end of the show. We will try to post as often as possible, whenever possible. That is as long as our hands aren't so full of swag that we simply can't put it down to type.