Samsung Takes On Sonos With New Wireless Multi-Room Speakers

Samsung is not nervous about dipping its toes into new waters. It pioneered the smart camera and the kid’s tablet; when it as a company sees an opportunity for a bit of market share, it takes it. This, I think, is the story behind Samsung’s new M5 and M7 Wi-Fi speakers, which you can install in seconds and control via your smartphone.

The M5 is the smaller of the two speakers (measuring 343 x 168 x 114mm and 2.3kg), while the step-up M7 is its bigger brother (measuring 402 x 194 x 137mm and 3.8kg). Both speakers are identical apart from the internal audio drivers, with the larger of the two adding a couple of dedicated tweeters for better high-frequency sound.

To use the new Samsung Sound speakers, you’ll either have to plug at least one into your home router, or buy the add-on $79 Samsung Sound Hub — a wireless bridge that connects the multi-room speaker’s Wi-Fi to your main home network. Both the M5 and M7 operate over a wireless mesh network, so you only need one in range of the Hub or your router; other speakers only need to be able to communicate with at least one other multi-room device to hook into the entire mesh.

If you’re not using Samsung’s app to control the music playing through one or more speakers simultaneously, you can use Bluetooth and NFC to take over any individual speaker and stream music to it directly from your phone. The speakers are even more versatile in that they can be hooked up to any 2014 Samsung Smart TV over Wi-Fi (or selected 2013 and 2014 models over Bluetooth) and function as front, rear or surround speakers, giving you a proper wireless audio system for your big screen.

Samsung’s most obvious competitor in this field is Sonos, the multi-room wireless audio pioneer and the one to beat. Sonos has had its PLAY (nee ZonePlayer) speakers for a decade, and it has a more extensive catalogue in the PLAY:1, PLAY:3, PLAY:5, SUB and SOUNDBAR. But Samsung has great wireless credentials, and a huge catalogue of smartphones and tablets and laptops and smart TVs that it can use to throw music and audio to its wireless speakers. It makes sense to get into the multi-room audio game; we’re keen to see how they perform. [Samsung]

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