Polk Omni S2 review – CNET

Sonos has been the best wireless multiroom audio system for so long, it’s hard to remember a time that it wasn’t around.  And for the last 10 years at least, pretenders have tried to nab the crown for themselves. One of the most serious of these is DTS, the same company behind the theater and home surround-sound format. Its Play-Fi system has been with us since 2013 and is now supported by over 20 brands.

I’ve reviewed several sound bars featuring Play-Fi over the years, but I haven’t looked at a compatible budget speaker since the deplorable Phorus PS1. Unlike that wobbly first step into Wi-Fi speakers, the Polk Omni S2 is a polished product which offers fine sound quality for the money, and costs less than Sonos’ superb entry-level One speaker. But unless you’re already invested in Play-Fi, Sonos is worth the extra money.

Polk Omni S2

With drivers this ugly, you’ll want to use the included cover.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Polk is a versatile little speaker. It can be placed horizontally or upright and offers a choice of either a black or a white cover in the box. And you’ll want to use that cover because the bare drivers are pretty ugly, even by ugly speaker standards. At least you get four of them: dual 2-inch full-range drivers and twin passive bass radiators.

The S2 measures 4 inches tall (or wide if you place it on its end), 9 inches long and 4 inches deep, and weighs 1.2 pounds (0.54 kg) . The version I reviewed doesn’t come with a battery, but Polk does sell the $249 Polk Audio Omni S2 Rechargeable in case you want to hit the road.

The Polk is designed around the Play-Fi multiroom system and supports a number of streaming services including Spotify Connect, DLNA, Pandora and Amazon Music. It’s not the easiest app to use, but once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty powerful. For example with a pair of S2s you can easily add them to an existing Play-Fi sound bar like the Polk SB1 Plus   as surrounds or even pair them in stereo mode. The Sonos also has a 3.5mm input but sadly doesn’t offer Bluetooth. Play-Fi is also available as a desktop app enabling you to “cast” your PC’s sound to the speaker, which gets around any streaming apps that aren’t supported, but be aware that it won’t sync with video sources such as YouTube.