The Sonos Controller is a full-featured Sonos controller which provides complete control of your entire Sonos system. From initial setup to playing radio to adjusting your EQ to listening to your personal music collection, the Sonos Controller app lets you do it all.
When I first started playing with the Sonos app, I was blown away at how full-featured it is. Most Sonos system owners likely have the Sonos remote, but it’s completely unnecessary. You literally don’t need the Sonos remote which is a $399 savings. Now that’s cool.
When you open the Sonos app, you’re prompted to pair your zones with your phone. It’s a simple procedure that takes no more than a few button presses. Once complete, you have full access to your Sonos. If you want to stream music from your iTunes, you need to install software on your computer. After all is set up, you can start streaming from your library or from any number of bundled music services. If you have a Zone Player hooked to a TV, your line-in settings are also available.
Available services include Best Buy’s music store, Last.fm, Napster, Pandora, Rhapsody, and SIRIUS which can all be easily controlled by your iPhone. You can even set it up to scrobble all of your played tracks to Last.fm. If you listen to Last.fm or Pandora, you can love/hate tracks from within the app as well. Unfortunately you can’t see your “already played” tracks from either service.
Streaming music is fairly simple, although it’s a bit different than using the Remote app. For one, you can’t simply start playing an album from a specific song. You can either play the entire album from the beginning or add one single song to the queue. The queue system is what makes it different and does take some time getting used to. On the other hand, navigating your music library is easier thanks to the enlarged letter that shows up while you drag along the alphabet strip.
While you stream, you have the same options you would from within the Remote app. You can pause, skip tracks or go back, shuffle, and repeat. There’s no “repeat one” though. Scrubbing is also available and volume is controlled at the bottom. You can also see the next track at the bottom of the screen. There’s also a “quick mute” button.
Of course if you have multiple zones, the iPhone app has no problem controlling them individually or as a group. However, the one slight disappointment was that the iPhone will not act as a Zone for your system, it’s strictly a controller.
The good: Total control over aspect of your Sonos system. Great Last.fm and Pandora integration. Separate and grouped Zone control. Scrobbling to Last.fm. Great “now playing” screen with volume, track controls. No need to have the $400 Sonos remote.
The bad: “Queue” system isn’t as intuitive as the Remote app. No “repeat one.” Can’t see last played tracks from Pandora or Last.fm.
The Bottom line: The Sonos Controller is a fantastic example of what you can do with an iPhone app. It’s a 100% fully functional Sonos controller. If you’re in the market for a Sonos system, you can forget the separate $400 controller, your iPhone is all you’ll need.