Sonos’s wireless speakers sound great and they’re easy to use, but they’re also expensive, with the company’s cheapest speaker (the Sonos One SLRemove non-product link) going for a relatively steep $179. But what If you could rent a Sonos speaker rather than buy one?
Indeed, signing up for a monthly Sonos subscription service might (depending on your budget) be considerably more enticing than plunking down a hefty chunk of change at once, and it appears that Sonos has just begun testing such a service in the Netherlands.
The introductory Sonos Flex plan (first spotted by The Verge) offers up a pair of Sonos One speakers (which retail for €229 each in the EU, or $199 in the States) for 15 euros a month.
A pricier Sonos Flex plan includes the compact Sonos Beam soundbar (€449 or $399 in the U.S.), plus two Sonos One speakers for 25 euros a month, while a €50-a-month home theater subscription comes with the Sonos Playbar (€799 in the EU, $699 in the U.S.), the €799/$699 Sonos Sub, and two Sonos One speakers.
Sonos Flex plans include free delivery and installation (for those in Amsterdam, at least), along with free upgrades to the latest hardware models of the speakers you’re renting.
Sonos Flex subscribers are free to cancel or change their plans at any time, according to the Sonos Flex website, meaning you could start off with the €50-a-month home theater plan and then downgrade to the €15/month.
What the pilot Sonos subscription plans don’t include (or at least not yet, anyway) is an option to buy or keep the speakers once you’ve been renting them for a given amount of time.
That means you’d be obligated to either return or keep paying for speakers from your Sonos Flex plan even after you’d shelled out their retail cost in subscription fees. For example, Sonos Flex subscribers signed up for the €15-a-month plan would have essentially paid full price for their two Sonos One speakers after about 30 months (or two and a half years).
Still, a Sonos Flex plan might be an enticing deal if you simply want to try some Sonos speakers for a month, and remember, the plans also allows you to swap out your speakers with newer models.
In an emailed statement to TechHive, a Sonos spokesperson said there aren’t any plays to bring Sonos Flex to the U.S. yet.
“It’s a small test and we don’t have any future plans to expand,” the spokesperson said. “We will decide what’s next once we can learn from our customers during this process.”
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Ben has been writing about technology and consumer electronics for more than 20 years. A PCWorld contributor since 2014, Ben joined TechHive in 2019, where he covers smart speakers, soundbars, and other smart and home-theater devices. You can follow Ben on Twitter.