Test...is this thing on? Sonos ZP80 Review

Tuesday 6th May, 2008
I connected the Sonos ZP80 digital music player to my electricity meter and the first thing I saw was a ZERO watt measurement.

Surely something is wrong, there's no way this unit could have a power consumption of <1W when on standby?

I was right, something was wrong...the flashing white light on the unit confirmed the unit was still booting up and wasn't at full consumption just yet.


The Sonos ZP80 ZonePlayer is the baby brother of the Sonos ZP100 that I tested in a previous review here on Jaffa's Green Blog. Gone are the 50W amplifier, speaker bindings and large size, replaced by a tiny little case with just audio outputs to feed into powered speakers or your existing hifi. For those who prefer a higher quality link, both co-ax and optical digital outputs are supplied.

The ZP80 followed 2 years after the launch of the ZP100 ZonePlayer after numerous owners had requested a small form factor device with digital outputs for connecting to their existing hifi or home cinema systems.

In theory, with a smaller power supply, it's likely to save power too...although it still contains all the same SonosNet wireless mesh technology, ethernet switch and Linux based internal software.

So how did it compare to it's big brother in the power consumption tests? Read on...

In standby mode, not playing any music at all, the Sonos ZP80 unit is reporting a standby power consumption of an extremely green 3 Watts. That means the maximum 32 zone players you can have in a single household will still consume less than a 100 Watt light bulb. Not bad at all, and ideal for solar power applications. This is almost half the ZP100 consumption.

How does this change when the unit starts playing? Well, I quickly queued up "The Power" by Snap! to find out.

With the unit set to a fixed (constant volume) line-out, we get a reading that fluctuates gently between 3 and 4 Watts...probably more 4 Watts than 3. Switching to a variable line out didn't use or save any electricity, so we're a variance of about 1 Watt between standby and normal use. Simply turning off your washing machine when not in use will offset the electricity burned by this device in use, now that's what I call an eco friendly appliance.

But how does it compare to the competition? I was asked in my ZP100 review if I had a Logitech Squeezebox Duet Receiver I could use for comparison. Well, now I have one to hand so should be able to publish the results in the near future. Stay tuned.

Comments/Trackbacks [1]