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Sonos Five Speaker Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Updated Nov 30, 2021 at 03:16 pm
Sonos Five Picture
7.5
Music
6.3
Videos/Movies
6.3
Podcasts
2.9
Voice Assistant
4.7
Outdoors
Bluetooth
No
Wi-Fi
Yes
Speakerphone
No
Voice Assistant
No
Battery Powered
No

The Sonos Five is a wired mid-size speaker that you can use horizontally or vertically. With its Trueplay room correction feature turned on, it has a bright sound profile that brings sparkle and detail to vocals and instruments. It also offers quite an extended low-bass, so you can feel the thump and punch in bass-heavy audio. While it doesn't have a more comprehensive EQ to help tweak its sound, its companion app offers bass and treble sliders. That said, it only supports Wi-Fi and Apple AirPlay, so you can't connect to it via Bluetooth. It also has a lot of compression at max volume and doesn't offer voice assistant support on its own. However, it's a suitable choice for users looking to incorporate a sleek-looking speaker into their Apple ecosystem.

Our Verdict

7.5 Music

The Sonos Five is good for music. With its Trueplay room correction feature enabled, it has a bright sound profile that brings sparkle and detail to vocals and lead instruments. It can also produce a punchy, thumpy low-bass that can please fans of bass-heavy music, and its companion app offers bass and treble sliders you can use to tweak its sound to your liking. However, while it can get loud, there's a lot of compression at max volume.

Pros
  • Bright but balanced sound profile.
  • Low Apple AirPlay latency.
  • Good soundstage.
Cons
  • No Bluetooth support.
  • A lot of compression artifacts at max volume.
6.3 Videos/Movies

The Sonos Five is mediocre for videos and movies. With its Trueplay room correction feature enabled, this speaker has a good stereo soundstage and can produce quite an extended low-bass, so you can feel the thump and punch typically present in action-packed scenes. However, there's a lot of compression at max volume that can affect audio quality at louder volumes. You can also only stream your audio via Wi-Fi or Apple AirPlay, which is a little limiting. Luckily, it has low audio latency.

Pros
  • Bright but balanced sound profile.
  • Low Apple AirPlay latency.
Cons
  • No Bluetooth support.
  • A lot of compression artifacts at max volume.
6.3 Podcasts

The Sonos Five is mediocre for podcasts. It has a balanced mid-range, which helps reproduce clear and detailed dialogue. You can also share your podcast across several Sonos speakers across your home. However, it's not very portable due to its wired design, and it doesn't support Bluetooth or multi-device pairing.

Pros
  • Bright but balanced sound profile.
  • Low Apple AirPlay latency.
Cons
  • No Bluetooth support.
  • A lot of compression artifacts at max volume.
2.9 Voice Assistant

The Sonos Five doesn't support voice assistants. That said, the manufacturer advertises that you can control this speaker via Alexa or Google Assistant while it's connected to a voice-enabled device over Wi-Fi.

4.7 Outdoors

The Sonos Five isn't designed for outdoor use since it needs to remain plugged into a power outlet to work.

  • 7.5 Music
  • 6.3 Videos/Movies
  • 6.3 Podcasts
  • 2.9 Voice Assistant
  • 4.7 Outdoors
  1. Updated Dec 21, 2020: Review published.
  2. Updated Dec 17, 2020: Early access published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
RGB Lights No

The Sonos 5 is a sleek mid-size speaker with a simple, rectangular design. It has a matte coating and a graphite grille. You can either use this speaker horizontally for stereo audio or vertically for mono. There's a small status light next to the play/pause button that you can turn off via the app if you prefer. This speaker is also available in a black finish. Check out the IKEA SYMFONISK Bookshelf if you're looking for a Sonos speaker that can blend in nicely with most home decor.

3.6
Design
Portability
Volume
671 inยณ (10,996 cmยณ)
Weight
13.9 lbs (6.3 kg)
Power Source
AC Only
One-Hand Carry
No

The Sonos 5 isn't very portable since it needs to remain connected to a power source to work. For a more portable Sonos speaker, check out the Sonos Move.

6.4
Design
Build Quality
Material Quality
Good
Water Resistance
No
Dust Resistance
Unspecified
Impact Resistance
No
Floats In Water
No

The Sonos Five's build quality isn't bad, feels sturdy, and is solid overall. It has a matte finish and a graphite grille protecting its drivers. While it doesn't have an IP rating for dust and water resistance, the manufacturer says it's humidity resistant, meaning you can place it in high-humidity rooms like a bathroom with a running shower.

7.0
Design
Controls
Ease Of Use
Great
Feedback
Great
Music Play/Pause
Yes (Tactile)
Call Answer/End
No
Volume Up/Down
Yes (Tactile)
Track Next/Previous
Yes (Tactile)
Microphone On/Off
No
Additional Controls
Yes

The Sonos Five has a decent control scheme. It has a set of touch-sensitive controls on its top side. You can tap two four-dotted buttons to adjust the volume or swiped to skip tracks. There's also a button between both dotted buttons that you can press and hold to play/pause audio or add the music playing in another room. It also has a physical join button, which allows you to reset the speaker or connect it to your wider Sonos system.

Design
In The Box

  • Sonos 5 speaker
  • Power cable
  • User manual

Sound
8.2
Sound
Frequency Response Accuracy
Slope
1.16
Std. Err.
3.96 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
23.4 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
18.8 kHz

The Sonos 5's frequency response accuracy is great. It has a bright sound profile that brings sparkle and detail to vocals and sibilants like 'S' and 'T'. It can also produce quite an extended low-bass, so you can feel the thump and punch in bass-heavy music like hip-hop and EDM. That said, its neutral mid-range is well-suited for vocal-centric content. If you prefer a different sound, you can tweak its sound profile using the bass and treble adjustment features within its companion app.

Note: Our sound tests were performed with Sonos' Trueplay room correction feature enabled. This feature automatically tunes the speaker to your room by measuring how sound reflects off of your walls and other surfaces around it. Unfortunately, Trueplay is currently only available with iOS devices.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
Binaural Recording @ 1m
Binaural Recording @ 2m
7.5
Sound
Soundstage
Directivity Index
4.17 dB
Stereo
Yes (when horizontal)

The Sonos Five has a good soundstage performance. You can place it horizontally when you want to listen to stereo content and vertically for mono. Its directivity is also pretty good for a non-360-degree speaker, though it's still somewhat directional-sounding.

5.0
Sound
Dynamics
SPL @ Max Volume
94.0 dB SPL
DRC @ Max Volume
7.30 dB

This speaker's dynamics performance is disappointing. It can get loud enough to fill a large room, though there's a lot of compression present at max volume that affects audio quality during louder listening sessions. Consider the Klipsch The Three II, or the Klipsch The One II for a home speaker with a better overall dynamics performance.

Active Features
0
Active Features
Battery
Battery Life
N/A
Charge Time
N/A
Power Saving
No
Charging Port
No Battery
0
Active Features
Voice Assistant
Alexa
No
Google Assistant
No
Siri
No
Voice Activation
No
Microphone Mute
No Microphone
Far-Field Performance
No Microphone
Ambient Noise Performance
No Microphone

While the Sonos 5 doesn't come with any voice assistants built-in, the manufacturer states that you can control the speaker via Google Assistant or Alexa when it's connected to a voice-enabled device over Wi-Fi.

9.3
Active Features
App
App Name
Sonos S2
iOS
Yes
Android
Yes
EQ
Bass/Treble
Stereo Pair Mode
Yes
Party Mode
Yes
Multi-Room
Yes

The Sonos S2 app is fantastic. While there's no graphic EQ, there are bass and treble adjustments you can use to tweak the speaker's sound to your liking. You can also use the app to pair two Sonos speakers together to create a stereo pair or connect multiple speakers in separate rooms together to play audio throughout your home wirelessly. There's also a Trueplay room correction feature that automatically tunes the speaker according to the unique acoustics of the room it's placed in. Unfortunately, this feature is only available with iOS devices.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Wired
Aux Input
Yes
USB Audio
No
Other Ports
Yes

Aside from its power port, this speaker features an AUX port you can use to wire older devices to it, and there's an Ethernet port to connect it to your home network.

0
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
No Bluetooth
Bluetooth iOS Latency
N/A
Bluetooth Android Latency
N/A
Bluetooth Range
N/A
Multi-Device Pairing
No
7.6
Connectivity
Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi Version
Wi-Fi 3
Wi-Fi Frequency Band
2.4GHz
Apple AirPlay
Yes
AirPlay Latency
15 ms
Google Chromecast
No
Chromecast Latency
N/A

The Sonos 5 has good Wi-Fi compatibility. While it doesn't support 5Ghz Wi-Fi, you can stream your favorite audio to the speaker using Apple AirPlay, and it has very low latency, too. However, it doesn't support Chromecast built-in.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Sonos 5 comes in two color variants: 'Black' and 'White'. We tested the 'White' variant, and you can see its label here. We expect the 'Black' color variant to perform similarly to our test unit.

If you come across another variant, please let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Speakers

The Sonos Five is a wired mid-size speaker. Unlike the Sonos Move, it's only meant for use within the home, and you can place it horizontally when you want to listen to stereo audio or vertically for mono. With its room correction feature turned on, it has a bright but thumpy and punchy sound profile, and you can stream your favorite audio to the speaker using Wi-Fi or Apple AirPlay. However, it isn't Bluetooth-compatible and doesn't support voice assistants on its own. Its Trueplay room correction feature is also only available with iOS devices.

See also our recommendations for the best home speakers, the best smart speakers, and the best portable Bluetooth speakers.

Sonos One Gen 2

The Sonos Five is a better speaker than the Sonos One Gen 2. The Five offers a bright sound profile that can produce the deep thump and rumble in low-bass that's typically present in bass-heavy music like EDM. It can get louder, and you can place the speaker horizontally to listen to stereo content, and vertically for mono. However, the One Gen 2 offers great voice assistant support with Alexa and Google Assistant built-in. It has less compression present at max volume, resulting in cleaner audio at louder volumes. If you own a compatible Sonos soundbar, you can even add it to your setup as a surround speaker. 

Sonos Move

The Sonos Move and the Sonos Five have different strengths. The Move is better suited for outdoor use as it's battery-powered and has an IP56 rating for dust and water resistance, although we don't currently test for this. It also has outstanding voice assistant capabilities, and you can wirelessly stream audio to the device using Bluetooth. However, the Five is better suited for music as it can produce more low-bass, and it can be used in stereo or mono mode, depending on how it's placed.

Bose Home Speaker 500

The Bose Home Speaker 500 is a slightly better speaker than the Sonos Five, though they have different strengths. The Bose offers exceptional voice assistant support with Alexa and Google Assistant built-in and does an excellent job of hearing you when you're far away and in noisier environments. It also has fewer compression artifacts at max volume and has a wider sounding soundstage than that of the Sonos, thanks to its 360-degree design. However, with its Trueplay feature turned on, the Sonos has a better-balanced sound profile that can produce a thumpier and punchier bass than that of the Bose. 

Apple HomePod

The Apple HomePod and the Sonos Five are two speakers with different strengths, and you may prefer one over the other, depending on your needs. The Apple has a better soundstage and performs better at its max volume. It also has Siri built-in, which can be voice-activated and can hear you from quite a distance. However, it may be harder to find in new condition since it's been discontinued. That said, the Sonos is better for music since it can produce more low-bass and its sound profile is better balanced. It also has a bass and treble slider via its companion app.

Sonos One SL

The Sonos Five is a better overall speaker than the Sonos One SL. The Five is capable of reproducing a lot more low-bass, which is great for genres like EDM or hip-hop, and it can play stereo content without downmixing it into mono. However, some may prefer the One SL's smaller size. You can also add it to a Sonos-compatible soundbar setup if you want surround speakers.

Denon Home 350

The Denon Home 350 is a slightly better speaker than the Sonos Five overall, though they perform similarly. The Denon can get louder with fewer compression artifacts, and it supports Bluetooth, although it has high iOS and Android latency. It also offers outstanding voice assistant support with Alexa built-in. However, the Sonos has a slightly better-balanced sound profile and it has a more immersive soundstage.

Google Home Max

The Google Home Max and the Sonos Five are two mid-size speakers with different strengths and depending on your needs, you may prefer one over the other. The Google has better controls and has an excellent performing Google Assistant built-in. It also supports Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Google Chromecast. However, the Sonos can produce more low-bass and has a better-balanced sound profile, which makes it better suited for music. It also supports Apple AirPlay.

JBL Charge 5

The Sonos Five is a better speaker than the JBL Charge 5, though they have different strengths. The Sonos can produce the deep thump and rumble in low-bass that fans of bass-heavy music tend to enjoy. It comes with bass and treble adjustments, meaning you can tweak its sound to your liking. You can also place it horizontally to listen to stereo content and vertically for mono. However, the JBL has less compression present at max volume, resulting in cleaner audio during louder listening sessions. It's also battery-powered, making it more portable. Also, you can pair up to two devices to it at once, so you can easily switch between audio sources.

Ultimate Ears HYPERBOOM

The Ultimate Ears HYPERBOOM is a better speaker overall than the Sonos Five. The Ultimate Ears is battery-powered, so it's more portable and can be used outdoors. It's better-built, and it gets louder with fewer compression artifacts at max volume. Some listeners may prefer its graphic EQ over the Sonos' bass and treble adjustments, too. However, the Sonos reproduces more low-bass out-of-the-box, and its default sound profile is more neutral and balanced.

IKEA SYMFONISK Bookshelf

The Sonos Five is a better speaker than the IKEA SYMFONISK Bookshelf overall. The Sonos can play stereo content without downmixing it to mono which sounds more immersive. It can also get louder than the IKEA and can produce deeper and thumpier bass. While the IKEA doesn't get as loud as the Sonos, it has fewer compression artifacts present at max volume, resulting in a cleaner sound when listening to louder volume settings.

Apple HomePod mini

The Sonos Five is a better speaker for music than the Apple HomePod mini. It can get louder than the Apple and can produce a thumpy and rumbling low-bass which may please fans of bass-heavy music. It also comes with bass and treble adjustments to customize its sound to your liking. However, the Apple comes with Siri built-in and can understand your commands from far and in noisy settings. It also has significantly less compression present at max volume, so your audio sounds cleaner at louder volumes.

Klipsch The Three II

The Sonos Five is a better speaker than the Klipsch The Three II. With its Trueplay feature enabled, the Sonos can produce a more extended low-bass, meaning that you can feel the deep thump and rumble in bass-heavy music like EDM. It also offers a wider-sounding soundstage and comes with bass and treble adjustments to tweak its sound to your liking. That said, the Klipsch can get significantly louder with less compression present at max volume, resulting in cleaner audio at louder volumes. It also supports Bluetooth connectivity.

Google Nest Audio

The Google Nest Audio and the Sonos Five have different strengths and depending on your usage, you may prefer one over the other. The Google speaker is better suited for voice assistants, as it has Google Assistant built-in. It also supports Bluetooth. While the Sonos doesn't support voice assistants at all, it's better for movies and music as it has a better-balanced sound profile with a thumpy low-bass. It can also be used in a stereo or mono mode, depending on how it's placed.

Klipsch The One II

The Sonos Five is a better speaker than the Klipsch The One II. The Sonos offers a bright sound profile out-of-the-box and can produce a deeper and more extended low-bass. It also has better directivity, and there are bass and treble adjustments in its Sonos S2 companion app to customize the speaker's sound to your liking. That said, the Klipsch can get louder than the Sonos with less compression present at max volume, so your audio sounds cleaner at louder volume levels. Also, while the Sonos only supports Wi-Fi, the Klipsch only supports Bluetooth.

Sony SRS-RA3000

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the Sony SRS-RA3000 or the Sonos Five. The Sonos can produce deeper bass and can get louder than the Sony. You can also connect it to other compatible Sonos speakers when you want your audio to fill a large room without increasing its volume. That said, the Sony has outstanding directivity, resulting in a wider-sounding soundstage. It has fewer compression artifacts at max volume, so your audio sounds cleaner during louder listening sessions. It also supports Bluetooth and features a graphic EQ and presets you can use to tweak its sound to your liking.

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