We test the best sur­round sound sys­tems on of­fer and charge our phones wire­lessly.

GQ (Australia) - - INSIDE GQ -

WHEN A TECH BRAND SPAWNS A VERB (GOOGLE! SKYPE!) YOU KNOW IT’S WIN­NING. SO IT HAS PROVEN WITH SONOS. BUT NOW A NEW RANGE OF WIRE­LESS MULTI-ROOM MU­SIC PLAY­ERS IS CHAL­LENG­ING THE COM­PANY’S MAR­KET SU­PE­RI­OR­ITY. WE TEST HOW THEY STACK UP.

1. SONOS

We wish we could sur­prise you, but Sonos still reigns supreme. Put sim­ply: it of­fers the best sound of any we tested and has a slick app that starts the mu­sic as soon as you press play (that might sound ba­sic, but the oth­ers are just not as re­spon­sive). Fac­tor­ing in re­li­able stream­ing and the new wi-fi booster, it has to be awarded top spot. Clock­wise, from top: PLAYBAR, $1099; PLAY:5, $649; SUB, $1099; PLAY:3, $499; PLAY:1, $329; BOOST, $165; sonos.com/en-au WIN: BLOWS AWAY THE COM­PE­TI­TION FAIL: RE­QUIRES MAINS POWER

2. ‘PURE CON­NECT’ BY JONGO

Jongo has come up with a good set of speak­ers, which ad­just their sound for por­trait or land­scape ori­en­ta­tions. We liked the op­tion to run the smaller speaker off an in­ter­nal bat­tery, should a pool party de­mand it, and were im­pressed by the bright sound on par with LG’S. But what makes it good rather than great? The app. The set-up wiz­ard wouldn’t work and its de­sign is con­vo­luted. POA; pure.com/au/ WIN: BLUE­TOOTH COM­PAT­I­BLE FAIL: CLUNKY SET-UP PROCESS

3. ‘MU­SIC FLOW’ BY LG

Let’s get our main gripe out of the way first: even when play­ing mu­sic that was stored on (rather than streamed from) our iphone, the app took too long from hit­ting play to hear­ing a note. Oth­er­wise, this is an im­pres­sive ex­pe­ri­ence; it is blue­tooth and NFC en­abled, has a deep sound and of­fers an op­tional sound­bar. What’s more, the next it­er­a­tion will have bat­ter­ies, so you can take it out­side. Clock­wise, from top: HS6, $799; H7, $549; H3, $249; H5, $399; lg.com/au/ WIN: FULL SOUND FAIL: SLOW APP

4. ‘SPO­TIFY CON­NECT’ BY PHILIPS

This is a great sys­tem that of­fers multi-room sound at a frac­tion of the usual price. But as a Sonos com­peti­tor? Not in the same league. There are only two speak­ers avail­able and you have to be a Spo­tify pre­mium sub­scriber to use them. Also, you can’t play dif­fer­ent mu­sic through dif­fer­ent speak­ers un­less you have mul­ti­ple Spo­tify ac­counts. So en­try-level, but de­cent en­try-level. From top: SW750M, ap­prox. $179; SW700M, ap­prox. $129; philips.com.au WIN: BANG FOR YOUR BUCK FAIL: ONLY STREAMS FROM SPO­TIFY

5. ‘ALL SE­RIES’ BY PANA­SONIC

Though the sound is fine, this was the least re­mark­able prod­uct of the group. The range of speak­ers is small and their de­sign – though we liked the ‘touch’ but­tons – seems to owe some­thing to a shoe­box. Most press­ingly of all: what’s up with the app? It kept crash­ing and when try­ing to change the vol­ume it was easy to in­ad­ver­tently se­lect a dif­fer­ent screen. From top: SC-ALL8GN-K, $479; SC-ALL3GN-K, $379; pana­sonic.com/au/ WIN: EASY TO SET UP FAIL: UN­RE­LI­ABLE

WORDS CHAR­LIE BUR­TON & STU­ART MCGURK PHO­TOG­RA­PHY MATTHEW BEE­DLE

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