In the speaker industry, Sonos has become synonymous with high tech and quality audio that delivers premium sounds. In their home audio, with a focus upon cinematic experiences, the Sonos Playbar and Playbase are two of their most sort after products. These two home audio speakers share many similarities and relatively fewer differences. This article will provide you with all you need to know when comparing the Sonos Playbar vs Playbase, in order to help you make the right decision. If you are interested in home audio, we highly recommend you take time to also read our comparison of Bose and Sonos.
1. Design & Dimensions
When comparing the two products, the very first thing you will notice is the design of each one. This aspect of each soundbar is relatively subjective compared to the more concrete specs and other features. Much of this may also depend on how the product fits into your living room and looks alongside your TV. Top brands of soundbars strive to create a device that fits into many different living areas in order to appeal to a range of customers.
The Sonos Playbar is a slimmer speaker measuring 35.5 x 5.6 x 3.4 inches, and weighing just 11.9 lbs. Being thinner is due to the lack of a subwoofer, which is normal and characteristic of soundbars. Playbar is a long rectangular shape, with black as its main color with a grey streak featuring the Sonos logo.
With a subwoofer built into the speaker, the Sonos Playbase is a slightly square and heavier device. It measures 28.4 x 15 x 2.3 inches and weighs 18.85 lbs, a significant amount on the Playbar. The Playbase is just black with the Sonos in small white writing.
The ease of setup has become a critical element of gadgets as well as a selling point. Top manufacturers, such as the likes of Sonos, have been able to deliver on this across their product line. Accordingly, both the Sonos Playbar and Playbase have a very straightforward and similar setup process.
Like with many modern-day tech products, the setup is facilitated with a companion app, which in this case is the Sonos mobile application that works with both iOS and Android. You do need working WiFi and then the app will detail the process with a set of easy instructions. This is all done in a matter of minutes and then you are good to go.
3. Sound Quality
It goes without saying the sound quality is the feature that matters by a country mile whilst comparing different speakers. You purchase a speaker solely for its sound and not for any other reason.
Overall, the Sonos Playbar is a very good speaker that is great for home multimedia. The first obvious thing to note is that the Playbar, being a soundbar, doesn’t come with a subwoofer although this can be purchased as an upgrade after.
Primarily, the Playbar is for cinematic experiences, and the sound delivers on providing this by producing wide and dynamic audio.
If you want surround sound you will have to opt to add-in in the extra bits of kit needed. The Sonos 5.1 Surround Set comes with a sub and two Sonos One speaker. If you opt for the Sonos 3.1 you will get the sub but neither of the additional smart speakers. Some argue that the speaker could be a little more powerful and fill a room better.
Overall, the quality of the sound of the Playbar is a little bit better in the mid and higher frequencies compared to the Playbase, although the lower is nowhere as much.
An immediate difference in the sound produced by the Playbase comes from the inbuilt S-shaped subwoofer that the Playbar doesn’t have. Naturally, this adds far more oomph to the lower end of frequencies, although the addition of the Sonos subwoofer is advised anyway.
Ten class-D amplified internal speakers delivered, powerful and crisp sounds that immerse the watcher in a truly cinematic experience.
4. Connectivity & Compatibility
Options of connectivity and compatibility are practically the same across both of these products. Both have the options of wireless or wired internet connectivity, which is essential to connect to the app and operate the speaker. Both the Playbase and Playbar have the option to be integrated with Alexa, which requires the addition of an extra Alexa device, such as the Echo Dot.
The Playbase has just the one ethernet port, whilst the Playbar has two. An additional Ethernet port isn’t actually that useful in reality though. Another consideration is that the Playbar isn’t compatible with Airplay 2, whilst the Playbase is. The only impact this has is if you want to use or do use Airplay 2.
5. Sonos Companion App
A technological trend of recent years has been the transition of device control from remotes to smartphone apps. The Sonos Controller app of these speakers adds a new layer of functionality and features. Straight away, it is fair to say that the app is very well designed, managed and is very impressive, as it boasts a 4.8 rating on the App Store from 619K reviewers.
If you own multiple Sonos speakers, your whole system can be controlled for the app. Every speaker can be grouped into different rooms, perfect to keep music consistent or different at parties.
A highly important and useful feature of the app is access to streaming services. Sonos currently offers over 30 music services through their app, such as Spotify, Apple Musci, and Pandora to name a few. You can also expect to access a whole host radio, audiobook and podcast apps too.
Another perk of app control is the constant upgrading and betterment of the software as time goes on. Extra features and services will consistently be added to the Sonos Controller app.
Some things to consider with the Sonos app is that it is all based around your WiFi connection reliability, speed, and coverage. If your WiFi is sub-par or you can’ reach areas of your house comfortably, you may find it doesn’t work too well.
6. Sonos Playbar vs Playbase: Similarities
- The Playbar and Playbase have options to connect via WiFi or Ethernet.
- The black rectangular design is similar across both speakers.
- Setup is seamless on each device through the app.
- The well-reviewed Sonos Controller app is used as the remote control and access to features on both.
- Multi-Room support is compatible with the Playbar and Playbase.
- Each speaker can be arranged into 5.1 surround sound with additional units.
- The mids and high frequencies are dynamic and wide.
7. Sonos Playbar vs Playbase: Differences
- The Sonos Playbase has an S-Shaped bass driver, whilst the Playbar doesn’t, although both can have an additional subwoofer added on top.
- The Playbar is wall mountable which is not an option for the Playbase.
- The Playbase only has one ethernet port whilst the Playbar has two.
- Only the Playbase works with Airplay 2.
Sonos has provided home entertainment enthusiast with two similar yet subtly different speakers. If you see yourself going for the full Sonos home audio system, with a subwoofer included, you will want to go for the slightly better audio quality of the Playbar. If you fancy the one-off purchase with a little bass included, go for the Playbase.