What's the difference between the Sonos ZP90 and the ZP120

by Volker Weber

I have received a few mails in the last week what my stance is on the new ZonePlayers and which one you should get. Life was pretty easy with the old ZPs. The ZP100 was the all singing, all dancing player you could use for everything. It was sold before there even was a ZP80 and therefore it needed to have more options.

Today, things have changed. The ZP120 is only suited to drive it's own speakers, while the ZP90, like the ZP80, is designed to drive your existing stereo. From the outside there are no big changes. A new logo on the top (the old one had different logos at the front and on top - big CI snafu), but that's it:


Notice that the device has analog in and out, as well as two different digital connectors: optical and coax. The ZP120 has become a completely different animal. It drops the analog out and is no longer suited to drive your stereo:


It keeps the analog in and subwoofer out of the ZP120, and drops two of the four ethernet ports. It also now has a two prong power cord instead of the old bigger three prong one. But notice that the power suppy needs to be set to the correct voltage. Don't import one from the US and fry it when plugging it in. No such danger on the ZP90 since it autoselects.

The invisible change is the new wireless support which promises twice the range and faster transfers, for both players, and not between old and new players. If you don't have any difficulties with your current setup, there is no need to upgrade. And that's a good thing.


Slight correction - the new wireless support does offer increased range but doesn't promise faster transfers.

Obviously over the same distance you may find throughput higher on the new kit, due to better wireless reception, but the maximum throughput is still unchanged on the new hardware.

Ben Rose, 2008-08-11

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