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Sonos Five Speaker Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Review updated Nov 23, 2022 at 01:57 pm
Latest change: Writing modified Apr 18, 2023 at 11:01 am
Sonos Five Picture
7.5
Music
6.3
Videos/Movies
6.3
Podcasts
2.9
Voice Assistant
4.7
Outdoors

The Sonos Five is a sleek wired speaker that's designed for home use. You can connect it to your phone and other mobile devices over Wi-Fi or Apple AirPlay, and if you have a third-party voice assistant device on hand, you can pair it to control the speaker with your voice. Like other Sonos speakers, its built-in Trueplay room correction tool optimizes its output based on your room's unique acoustics. 

Our Verdict

7.5 Music

The Sonos Five is good for music. It's a stylish home speaker with access to Sonos's room correction feature called Trueplay, which optimizes audio reproduction based on your room's unique acoustics. With it on, the sound profile is a bit bright, so while voices and lead instruments are clearly reproduced, you get a little extra sparkle with higher-pitched sounds. If you want a different output, you can always customize its bass and treble as well.

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 a fair choice for videos and movies. You can stream audio from your phone over Wi-Fi and Apple AirPlay, and low latency ensures that you don't notice any issues with lip-synching. There's plenty of rumble in the bass to bring action-packed scenes to life, and dialogue is clearly reproduced. However, at loud volumes, there's some compression and pumping artifacts in the mix.

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 a fair choice for podcasts. You can stream from your mobile devices over Wi-Fi. Voices and dialogue are clearly reproduced, and you get a little extra brightness in the treble to add sparkle to higher-pitched sounds. Also, it pairs with other Sonos speakers to spread audio throughout your home. While it gets loud on its own, there's some compression at max volume, so it's better suited for listening at an average volume level.

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 native voice assistants. That said, the manufacturer advertises that you can control this speaker via Alexa or Google Assistant while it's connected to a third-party voice-enabled device over Wi-Fi.

4.7 Outdoors

This speaker 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 Apr 18, 2023: Added market comparison for the Sonos Era 300 in the Bluetooth box.
  2. Updated Apr 04, 2023: Added market comparison for the Marshall Woburn III in the Wired box.
  3. Updated Feb 17, 2023: Added a market comparison to the Bowers & Wilkins Formation Wedge to the Bluetooth box.
  4. Updated Nov 23, 2022: Updated review text for accuracy and clarity. No changes to test results.
  5. Updated Aug 10, 2022: Added a comparison with the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin 2021 in the 'Compared To Other Speakers' box.
  6. Updated Nov 30, 2021: Updated review for accuracy and clarity.
  7. Updated Dec 21, 2020: Review published.
  8. Updated Dec 17, 2020: Early access published.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

This speaker 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, unlike the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin 2021, 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 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. 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.

Sonos One Gen 2/One SL

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 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.

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. 

Sonos Era 300

The Sonos Era 300 is a newer release from the manufacturer, and it's more versatile than the Sonos Five. Notably, it offers Bluetooth connectivity as well as built-in voice assistant support, whereas the Five only supports voice assistants through third-party devices. The Era 300 has a better dynamics performance. Also, it supports Dolby Atmos for compatible music and videos streamed through a paired soundbar, unlike the Five. That said, the slightly larger Five can reproduce a more extended low-bass.

Marshall Woburn III

The Sonos Five and the Marshall Woburn III are both premium home speakers with wired-only designs. Their larger size enables them to reproduce more extended low-bass, so you feel the rumble in bass-centric audio. While the Marshall supports Bluetooth, the Sonos supports Wi-Fi. Their designs are similar to other models from the manufacturers, too, so your personal preferences will play a role in your ultimate choice. The Marshall performs better than the Sonos at max volume, though, and it has an HDMI ARC input for connecting to TVs.

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.

Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin 2021

The Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin 2021 is a better speaker than the Sonos Five overall. The Bowers & Wilkins can get louder with less compression present at max volume, so audio quality doesn't degrade as much as you bump up the volume. It's also Bluetooth-compatible, comes with Alexa built-in, and can easily register your commands from far away and in noisy settings. If you prefer listening to bass-heavy music, the Sonos can produce a more extended low-bass that lets you feel the deep thump and rumble typically present in bass-heavy music.

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.

Bowers & Wilkins Formation Wedge

The Sonos Five is better than the Bowers & Wilkins Formation Wedge. Both of these wired home speakers have high-end price tags, and while the Bowers & Wilkins has a stand-out design, the Sonos is more likely to blend into your home decor. When it comes to sound, the Sonos brings more low-bass, too. However, it doesn't offer Bluetooth connectivity like the Bowers & Wilkins.

Apple HomePod (1st generation)

The Apple HomePod (1st generation) and the Sonos Five are two speakers with different strengths, and you may prefer one over the other, depending on your needs. The Apple speaker has a better soundstage and performs better at its max volume. It also has Siri built-in, which can be voice-activated and hear you from quite a distance. However, it may be harder to find in new condition since it's been discontinued. 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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
RGB Lights No

It's 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 speaker needs to remain connected to a power source to work, so you can't bring it with you outdoors like with the Sonos Move. Still, it's not very big, so you can move it from room to room with ease.

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

The speaker feels sturdy, and it's made of good-quality materials. There's even a graphite grille in front to protect its drivers inside. 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

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

Like other Sonos speakers, there's a room correction feature available in its S2 app with iOS devices. It optimizes the speaker's audio reproduction based on your room's unique acousticsโ€”Sonos calls it Trueplay. With it on, the speaker's frequency response is a bit bright overall. Voices and lead instruments are clear and present in the mix, but the extra emphasis in the treble adds more sparkle to higher-pitched instruments. There's plenty of rumble in the bass, too, making it suitable for other genres like EDM and hip-hop.

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 can get loud enough to fill your room with sound, even if the space is larger and more open. However, as you increase the volume, you'll notice more compression and pumping artifacts in the mix. If you like a cleaner audio reproduction, you'll want to keep the volume more neutral.

Active Features
0
Active Features
Battery
Battery Life
N/A
Charge Time
N/A
Power Saving
No
Charging Port
No Battery
Battery Powered
No
0
Active Features
Voice Assistant
Alexa
No
Google Assistant
No
Speakerphone
No
Siri
No
Voice Assistant
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 connected to a third-party 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 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 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. The Marshall Woburn III is a good alternative if you want a home speaker with HDMI ARC connectivity.

0
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth
No
Bluetooth Version
No Bluetooth
Bluetooth iOS Latency
N/A
Bluetooth Android Latency
N/A
Bluetooth Range
N/A
Multi-Device Pairing
No

For a high-end home speaker with Bluetooth connectivity, check out the Bowers & Wilkins Formation Wedge or the Sonos Era 300.

7.6
Connectivity
Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi Version
Wi-Fi 3
Wi-Fi Frequency Band
2.4GHz
Wi-Fi
Yes
Apple AirPlay
Yes
AirPlay Latency
15 ms
Google Chromecast
No
Chromecast Latency
N/A

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. However, it doesn't support Chromecast built-in.