My First Forty Minutes with the Sonos CR-200 Controller
Sonos’ original controller, the CR-100, was and is big, too big for one hand holding for anyone who doesn’t put at least three hours a week into weight training. Their new CR-200 controller is made for the rest of us. It features a touch-screen display and weighs a fraction of what the CR-100 weighs. According to the Sonos’ press release,” The Sonos CR200 features a 3.5” full-color VGA display (640x480 pixels) and comes with a capacitive touch screen for accurate and responsive operation. The convenient touch screen keyboard enables rapid search of the world of music, including multi-million song jukeboxes (Napster® and Rhapsody®), more than 25,000 radio stations and podcasts, SIRIUS® Internet Radio, and of course, your own personal music library. It also makes the creation of custom radio stations from services like Last.fm and Pandora® incredibly easy. The quick intuitive interface provides rich graphics that display what music is playing and in what room all while making it a pleasure to view artist information, cover art, and more. The CR00 is styled with an anodized precision-machined extruded aluminum case and soft durable rubber backing that fits comfortably in your hand. The CR200 includes ships with the Sonos Charging Cradle 200 so it’s always easy to find and charge your Controller.”
Setting up the new CR-200 is easy, according to the instructions you have merely to push two buttons on any Sonos player in your system and the CR-200 will be recognized and added to the system. Reality was a bit more involved. To use the CR-200 you must update your Sonos software to version 3.0. I had 2.7 on my system so I needed to update all my Sonos components so they would recognize the CR-200. The entire process took about a dozen keystrokes and fifteen minutes.
After getting set up I was immediately impressed by the CR-200’s ergonomic ease. Compared to the CR-100 the CR200 is like jumping into a time machine and going from 1999 to 2009! It responds faster to commands and its menus, instead of being one-line nested lists, are pages where you can see all your options at once.
Where scrolling is still required, such as looking through music libraries of playlists, you can easily go from one first letter to another via a bar of letters on the extreme right-hand side of the screen.
My only complaint with the new CR-100 is that the touch screen is a trifle small for those of us with fat fingers when you have to name a new playlist. Typing “Suzanne” ended up coming out “Suzanme.”
Considering that the CR-200 costs only $349, which is over $100 less than the older CR-100s (if you go to their website RIGHT NOW you’ll find the last of their CR-100’s getting blown out for only $249!!) the CR-200 is a wonderful addition to existing Sonos system and an another powerful reason for choosing Sonos for anyone who is thinking of moving up to the wonderful world of wireless music.