Best Sonos speakers starting at $100


Sonos was already fairly robust, with features such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, Apple AirPlay 2 and support for the biggest number of music-streaming services and apps including Spotify. But with the release of Ikea’s Symfonisk speakers, the number of products that include Sonos music streaming onboard has meant the system is more diverse than ever. 

But as the number of Sonos products grows, it’s also become harder to figure out which models to buy. With that in mind, we’ve put together a quick guide to the Sonos world to help you figure out which products are right for you and which offer the best performance for your money.


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What is Sonos?

Sonos is one of the oldest multiroom audio systems on the market and also one of the most successful. Since the way we consume digital music has changed from playing ripped CDs to streaming services and beyond, the system has also adapted and grown. 

Sonos began as a way to play MP3s on your existing speakers and it’s grown to support streaming music services on a range of tabletop speakers, amplifiers, sound bars and subwoofers. Controlling the system began with a desktop app and the CR100 handheld controller, then it grew to mobile apps and now to voice assistants. Sonos offers two products, which work with both Google Assistant and Alexa voice commands.

Here are some things about the product line that you need to know:

  • Works without a hub over a standard Wi-Fi network (no Bluetooth)
  • Supports over 100 streaming services
  • Works with Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri
  • Compatible with Apple AirPlay 2 and Spotify Connect
  • Supports 16-bit/44.1kHz only (no hi-res)
  • Stream your analog-connected music around the house (with Amp or Connect)
  • Dolby Digital only (sound bars) — no DTS or Dolby Atmos support 
Sonos One

The One is our favorite Sonos speaker.


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The current Sonos line-up is as follows:

Which Sonos is right for you?

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The new Ikea Symfonisk line is a result of a collaboration between the Scandinavian furniture giant and Sonos. It’s fully compatible with other Sonos products, and both the Bookshelf and the Table Lamp can also be used for stereo sound or as a relatively inexpensive pair of rear surround sound ($200 for two Bookshelves versus $400 for two Ones). If you want a Sonos smart speaker for the price of a Bluetooth speaker, this is the model to get.

Read the Ikea Symfonisk Bookshelf review.

Read more: Sonos Move speaker cuts the cord, goes portable

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Though it seems like it’s been long gone the Sonos Play:1 is still the cheapest speaker in the line. However, for $20 more you can upgrade to a model that’s better value for money. The Sonos One (Gen 1) has excellent sonics and includes both Alexa and Google Assistant in one speaker (though you can only choose one at a time). 

As you can tell there are two slightly different versions of the Sonos One, but they work in exactly the same way. You can still find the Gen 1 on sale for $179 or less, whereas the Gen 2 is $199.

Read the Sonos One review.

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Now that the Sonos Play:3 has been discontinued, a pair of Sonos Ones is your next best bet. Setting up a stereo pair is easy with the Sonos app and the system sounds better than equivalently priced speakers like the Google Home Max or Apple HomePod.

Read the Sonos One review.

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With the addition of Google Assistant, the Sonos Beam is the smart sound bar to get. It may be a little bass-light without a sub but it’ll make your movies sound huge with its virtual surround capabilities.

Read the Sonos Beam review.

The Sonos Play:5 is a relatively niche product — not many people have the room for a large, kind-of-expensive tabletop speaker — but it offers some of the biggest sound from any Sonos device. The only drawback is that it doesn’t have the voice commands features of the newer models.

Read the Sonos Play:5 review.

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The Sonos Playbase is a fully formed and excellent-performing sound base (which means your TV sits on top it). The system doesn’t need a subwoofer, and unless Sonos comes up with a cheaper Sub this is the best money you can spend under a grand.

Read the Sonos Playbase review.

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At the upper limit of what most people should pay for a sound bar surround system, this system will offer plenty of surround sound and musical thrills. You can combine the Sonos Beam ($399), Sonos Sub ($699) and a pair of the Ikea Bookshelves ($99 each). While the Sub on its own is pretty expensive it makes a great partner for the smaller Beam, while adding surrounds completes the effect. The system doesn’t have Atmos, but if you mount the bookshelf speaker high up on the walls behind you, you won’t miss it.

Read the Sonos Sub review.

The Sonos app

Until voice control completely replaces it, the Sonos app is still where you control most of the setup and playback of your audio. The app’s focus has changed over the years, led by streaming and now voice. But it’s now moved away from the services to concentrate on the speakers themselves. The app still has one of the best universal searches, and it’s easy to set up your speakers too. 

Sonos Beam

The Sonos app


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The app is available for the following devices:

In addition to the Sonos app, you’ll also be able to serve to the audio speakers directly from your favorite apps using Play To Sonos. These include: Google Play Music (on device with Sonos app installed), Spotify, Pandora, YouTube Music and Tidal. The system also supports streaming from iOS and compatible software using Apple AirPlay 2.

The competition

01-polk-command-bar

The Polk Command Bar is a smart sound bar that supports Amazon’s Multi-Room Music (MRM) 


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The main competitive standards to Sonos are Bose Music, DTS Play-Fi, built-in Google Chromecast, Yamaha MusicCast and Denon HEOS. Amazon’s Echos also support the Amazon MRM system.

Wireless audio speakers start at around $100 — with most featuring Apple AirPlay, Chromecast or both —  and great wireless sound bars such as the Polk Command Bar start at $250. Here are some of the best multiroom music systems.

Read more: Which Google Home speaker should you buy? 



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How to dog-proof your vehicle and keep your pet safe and secure



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Few things give me more joy than watching a car drive by with a large dog hanging its head out the window, jowls and slobber flying in the breeze. I know that you can’t reliably read a dog’s mood by its expression, but I have little doubt that a smiling dog with its nose in the wind is happier than one sitting at home looking out the window.

That said, having your dog out and loose in a car poses a few problems for dog safety. The first is cleanliness: Even the most well-groomed pup is liable to leave some hair or fur behind. And, if your destination dog park is the sort that gets muddy, you’ll surely be cleaning up dirt and paw prints for months to come.

How to dog-proof your vehicle and keep your pet safe and secure


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More problematically, though, is the safety of driving with dogs. Thanks to decades of research and crash testing, driving with children in the car is a rigorously scientific thing. With dogs… well, it’s a little more loose. So, here’s some advice for how you can achieve a dog proof vehicle to keep your pups, and their various bodily fluids, well-contained for a trip on the road.

Read more: The best vehicles for dog lovers, as ranked by Autotrader | Best dog food delivery services 

Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of products featured on this page.

Seat covers

If you plan on having your dogs sit on the upholstery in your vehicle when you travel, the most important part of the equation is some sort of car seat cover to help prevent a mess from dirt and dog hair all over the backseat. There are hundreds and hundreds out there, ranging from cheap generic options to far more expensive custom-fitted units. Given that it’s hard to recommend any one in particular. I’d recommend finding some dog owners groups and seeing what pet seat cover works for your particular vehicle, but in general I’m a big fan of hammock-shaped seat covers.

I have an inexpensive one from Gorilla Grip that I bought for my vehicle on Amazon for just $21. I got it specifically for use in our now dearly departed Land Rover Discovery long-termer, but it went on to see use in our Nissan Leaf SV and now is deployed in our Subaru Ascent. It’s big enough to work in bigger SUVs but, thanks to the little rubber bits of rubber tubing that you wedge into the seats, stays taut even on smaller vehicles. The pockets are handy for leashes or treats and the dog hammock style keeps the worst of the pet hair contained while keeping your pups where you want them.


Barriers

Seat covers are a good starting point, but your canine companion may require something a bit more… incarcerating. While bigger dogs are a little easier to keep in place, littler pups, who sometimes have a tendency to wander, can squeeze between seats and doors. Add in a bit of anxiety and you can quickly create a distracting and unsafe dog travel situation with a pooch either trying to jump in the driver’s lap or cuddle up on the floor at their feet. Neither is good.

Read more: Volvo study shows that dogs roaming inside the care increases driver stress

dog car accessories

For some dogs, relegation to the rear is the safest space. 


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In this case, the rear hatch of your wagon or SUV may be a better place, but now the game becomes keeping them back there. Many wagons and SUVs come with barriers that keep precious cargo in place, but if yours is lacking, there are plenty of aftermarket units out there.

For the Ascent, we tried out the $40 PetSafe Solvit barrier, but I’m sorry to say I can’t recommend it. It’s way too fiddly to put together, too flimsy once assembled, and not easy to install and remove. 

While more expensive, this fabric unit, called the Bushwhacker, looks like a much nicer option to me. It’s $77 at the time of writing.


Crash-tested

dog car accessories

At a glance, you’d never know this wasn’t just another dog harness. 


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Putting your pups in the back hatch may make driving safer by keeping them contained, but it isn’t the safest option in the case of a crash. The science of crash testing with pups is relatively limited and few products out have been specifically tested to keep your best friend safe in a crash. And, while don’t mean to be morbid, keeping your pet safe in a crash also means keeping you safe, because nobody wants a 90-pound Malamute flying at them in the midst of an accident.

Of those certified dog harness options that exist, the Sleepypod Clickit Terrain is my choice. It goes on easily, just like any other harness, and then you just slip the seatbelt in beneath the rear loops. This gives your furry friend enough freedom to sit up or lie down if they like, and it even has mounting points for a little backpack. Yes, it is far, far more expensive than a normal dog harness, but as soon as you take it out of the packaging you’ll see and feel why.


Staying hydrated

Dogs need about an ounce of water every day per pound of body weight, and if they’re agitated and panting that amount only goes up. Throwing your pup in the car can be very stressful for them, especially if they realize you’re going for a ride to the vet. So, for your dog’s health make sure you can provide hydration. I purchased a Lixit Water Boy water bowl years ago, and since then it’s seen us through many thousands miles of road trips. It’s easy to fill, stores vertically and, while not totally spillproof, does a good job of keeping down the splashing.

Read more: The best gifts for dog lovers 


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dog car accessories

Make sure your ramp is long enough and, crucially, stable enough.


Nick Miotke/Roadshow

Older, larger dogs will some day get to a point where they need a little help getting into and out of the vehicle. And, depending on how good your back is, you may or may not be able to provide that help. Ramps are the answer, but make sure that you don’t go with the cheapest, smallest ones you can find. For one thing, a shorter ramp is a steeper ramp, which may defeat the purpose. Plus, a flimsy, shaky ramp may scare your dogs, and they’ll likely need some encouragement as it is.

We tested the PetSafe Solvit Deluxe ramp on our Subaru Ascent, rated for a whopping 400 pounds. At over $100 it’s expensive, but it slides together easily and securely, deploying in seconds — and was rock-solid once out. My only concern is the no-slip surface is like skateboard grip tape, aka sandpaper, and I worry about the effect of that on the pads of my older pup Bowser, who now drags his rear toes a bit as he walks.

Read more: Land Rover’s newest option packs protect your four-legged friends


Eye protection

dog car accessories

Doggles might just save your pup’s vision, but they’ll definitely bring a smile to the face of anyone who sees them.


Nick Miotke/Roadshow

Finally, I want to talk briefly about eye protection. As I mentioned at the top, seeing my dogs hang their heads out the window gives me nearly as much joy as I hope it gives them. However, many have rightly questioned the safety of this behavior. There are many factors at play, but eye protection is a major one.

I wouldn’t imagine going out for a ride on my motorcycle without some sort of eye protection. Consider doing the same for your pups. A set of doggles, like the ones from QUMY that Bowser is wearing here, costs less than $20 and, thanks to their dual straps, will stay in place even at speed. I’m sure they’re effective at preventing damage, but my dogs absolutely hate the things.

Read more: 5 subscription box gifts for your dog (or dog-owning friends)

More recently I’ve seen some ski goggle-like options, including the Rex Specs. Far more expensive at about $80, and I’ve not had the opportunity to test any, but they certainly look more comfortable. And, frankly, a lot less goofy — vital if your pup suffers from self esteem issues.


Happy motoring

You don’t need to have all of the above to have a nice drive with your pups. With a little bit of planning and dog proofing, your next road trip with your best friend can be safer and stress-free. Happy motoring!

How to dog-proof your vehicle and keep your pet safe and secure



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SEO tips for beginners

What is natural reach as well as why it so vital to the success of your site? In a nutshell, as unbelievable as your branding might be or as ingenious as your product and services no doubt is, if you’re not ranking on the first page of Google’s online search engine results page (SERPS) for appropriate search questions, people might never ever know that your service exists.

The number one position on a Google search takes pleasure in a massive 33% of the web traffic – so increasing the ranking of your site as well as related web pages is vital.

Paid ads or PPC will help to boost the search ranking of your website however you can’t depend on this method for continued industrial success, right here are our top ten tips for enhancing your organic web traffic as well as web page ranking
Check your present search ranking.

Before you enhance your internet site’s search ranking, it is very important to recognize where you currently stand in Google’s search results page.

By comprehending this details, you’ll have the ability to see where you need to enhance and supply on your own with a solid base where to work. To do so, you can make use of tools like SERPs.com to check where a website page ranks for a specific keyword phrase or term …

Make certain each web page has terrific, Google-friendly web content

In the world of SEO in 2019, content is just one of one of the most crucial on-page elements for assisting your site ranking. Before you start any kind of energetic SEO efforts, it is necessary to see to it your internet site has web content that engages and helps its individuals.

Data reveals that pages with 2,000+ words of content typically place higher in Google search than web pages with short, light material. Explaining might take even more time, however it has a positive effect on your website’s capability to rank in organic search for its target key phrases.

Research additionally shows that long, thorough pages are most likely to obtain web links than short pages. As taxing as it may be to create long-form web content for every of your web pages as you build your web site, doing so can pay for itself in a greater number of incoming links to every web page.

A great method to think of your material is as the solution to somebody’s need. We’ve formerly written on utilizing Maslow’s Pecking order of Demands as a source of motivation for your web content. Your on-page web content is much more likely to draw in beneficial web links if you can fix a crucial requirement.

For optimum on-page Search Engine Optimization, include your target key phrases in your content periodically, yet do not overdo it. Google’s formula is wise sufficient to detect keyword stuffing, as well as it will typically cause your internet site being punished in the rankings for its target keywords.

Optimize your title tags for each main search phrase

Your title tag is the text that Google will display as your page title for every single search results page, in addition to the message that will certainly display in the individual’s web browser when they visit your web page. It is very important that every one of your web pages have title tags that are enhanced for their target SEO keywords.

A good title tag should precisely define the web content on your page while discussing the major keyword phrase you’re targeting for Search Engine Optimization.

Include involving, action-focused meta summaries

The meta summary is the brief snippet of information that shows up listed below your site’s title and URL in Google’s internet search engine outcomes. Meta summaries aren’t a ranking aspect, it’s important to give each web page on your website a pertinent, keyword-focused meta summary.

One factor for this is that your meta description can have a big impact on your web page’s CTR, or clickthrough rate. A thorough meta description will certainly encourage users to click your result rather than a contending website, enhancing your total share of search perceptions.

Below, we have actually included a meta description to our instance page on males’s leather Oxfords. You can see that the listing currently provides far more information concerning what customers can anticipate to see, in addition to a compelling factor to click through in the form of our cost-free shipping offer.

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