When I got a chance to review the Sonos whole-house music system, I pretty much fell in love. The hardware was easy to set up and I was streaming music all through the house in no time. About the only item I wasn’t a fan of was the ginormous touchscreen remote control. Why? Let’s just say that I’ve seen UMPCs that were smaller.
Sonos just announced an update to their controller — the CR200. This model is far smaller than its predecessor, but still offers a 3.5″ VGA color display with capacitive touchscreen. That comes in handy for controls, album art, playlists and other functions:
- Easy set up — A few simple steps are all that’s needed to get Sonos up and running using the new Controller.
- Instant on — Pick up the Controller or touch the screen and it’s instantly ready to play music.
- Dedicated buttons — Mute, Volume and Zones buttons provide shortcuts to the most often used functions.
- Quick, intuitive search — Instantly find the artist, song, radio station, or radio show you want to listen to by typing on the on-screen keyboard. Suggestions are provided as you type.
- Easy zone management — Take music with you as you move through the house by linking rooms with ease (and without interrupting music playback).
- Multi-room volume control — Change the volume in a single room, or in several rooms, all from the same screen.
All in all, it’s a very functional gadget. But is it worth $349? I’d say if you don’t have an iPhone (s aapl), it probably is, because it provides complete control over your Sonos system. iPhone users ought to be quite happy with the iPhone app that replicates the same functionality for free. Sonos says they’ve added a new InfoView to the iPhone app, bringing the version up to v3.0 today. InfoView offers one touch access to artist info, reviews, concert listings and more. Have a look for yourself at the version I saw on the iPhone — even without InfoView it’s feature-packed.