The Sonos Playbase is an alternative to the long, sleek slabs of traditional soundbars that have long adorned the front of many a television set.
While functionally identical to a soundbar, the Playbase is much larger, as it's supposed to be paired with a non-wall mounted TV set by letting the TV sit on top of it.
It's a classy, understated chunk of metal that hides its bulk while under a TV set. When viewed from the front, the Playbase is sleek and slim, with very pleasant touch controls for volume adjustment.
The flat-top surface can support a TV set that weighs up to 35kg. Or, if you have a 55-inch curved TV like me with stands that extend from the side, the Playbase fits snugly under the TV set.
So while it takes up much less horizontal length than a soundbar, it would require more depth.
One area Sonos excels in is its ease of set-up, and the Playbase is a breeze to set up with most television sets, which will make it an appealing choice for many. But, with Sonos, you pay a premium for this.
This is because if you want to make the Playbase the front soundstage for a home theatre system, you are locked into buying other Sonos products such as its subwoofers and bookshelf speakers for wireless connectivity.
That said, the Playbase alone is pretty darn loud and powerful for a single unit. I suspect that most consumers who aren't too fussed about the finer details of sound but are looking for that extra oomph for their TV set will be more than happy having just the Playbase as a single unit hooked up to the TV set.
SPEAKERS: Six mid-range, three tweeters, one woofer
VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5
Sound radiates from an acoustic grille that wraps around the front and sides of the Playbase which is perforated with 43,000 tiny holes.
The effect is obviously not full surround sound, but it still delivers rich and immersive sound nevertheless.
It's powered by 10 drivers - six mid-range, three tweeters and one woofer - giving the Playbase the foundation of clear, solid sound reproduction throughout the spectrum.
Bass is pleasing and rumbly, while mids and treble are clear and detailed. The Playbase adds that additional body and power, along with a wider soundstage, which boosts the audio quality of TV shows, video games and movies. The result is crisper dialogue, more cinematic background music and richer special sound effects.
As with other Sonos speakers, you can stream music through services such as Spotify via Wi-Fi through the Playbase.
Pair it with other Sonos devices in other rooms, and you can have the same music throughout the house as well.
•Verdict: The Sonos Playbase is a welcome alternative to traditional soundbars, combining easy set-up with rich and immersive sound.