Recommend a CR200 replacement please


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I have 2 x CR200s and find them wonderfully easy to use, and so convenient as they just sit in their cradles. I have of course had a replacement unit due to touchscreen failure, and now the second one has developed a dead spot. Sonos will replace this for £70 which isn't too bad, but with the removal of so many functions in 5.4 (particularly EQ - what were they thinking?) I'm wondering about a different solution. I know you can dedicate an Android phone or small tablet to Sonos and even apparently connect it to Sonosnet rather than wifi. But what I really like is the ability to leave the controller in a charging cradle, and with the interface already open, so it's always ready to use. In other words, not having to leave it connected to a cable, and not having to open an app before you can use it. So here's my question, can anyone recommend a device that will work this way?
1. It needs a cradle/charging dock, not a cable.
2. Preferably small - a phone or tablet no bigger than 7" screen
3. How do I connect to Sonosnet rather than wifi?
4. How do I make it work immediately by having the Sonos app open and ready to use as soon as the device is picked up?

I suspect a lot of people with CR200s would like the same answers!

Thanks, Nigel
Connect, Connect Amp, Play 5, 2x CR200s and a mixture of legacy high end audio going back to the 70s!

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39 replies

I've re-purposed an earlier Google/ASUS Nexus 7 (2012 model) as a controller. It's updated itself to the latest Android v5 (as do Google branded devices automatically).

1. It needs a cradle, not a cable.

Yes. ASUS supply a landscape mode cradle for the N7 (2012). It has charging contacts, which also send the tablet to sleep when it's replaced in the cradle.

2. Preferably small - a phone or tablet no bigger than 7" screen

Yes. It's 7".

3. How do I connect to Sonosnet rather than wifi?

You'd simply enable SonosNet connection in the controller app's Advanced Settings, then go to the tablet's WiFi settings and select the Sonos SSID.

4. How do I make it work immediately by having the Sonos app open as soon as the device is picked up?

I enabled a screen lock, 'daydream' (with a clock display) and 'screen pinning' in Android v5. This puts the tablet into kiosk mode. It wakes when touched.
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Nigel I will also be interested in user recommendations, as there will come a day when Sonos will no longer support the CR200. I expected my 4th replacement to arrive today, although UPS tracking data now shows a delay. Like yourself I find the CONTROL (to give it its Sunday name) is simple and easy to use. The recent 5.4 functions loss has not affected me much. I tend to use the Desktop Controller for updates etc, and also my iPad gets daily use for Sonos too.

But always good to have a Plan B, and I would also probably opt for a SonosNet connected alternative, c/w charging cradle, if such a beast exists.

I am fairly optimistic there is a good option out there, but while I could take a stab at answering your #3 & #4 questions, this forum has users much better qualified than I to do so.
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Faced with the same dilemma we went to eBay and purchased a number of "near new" CR100s. I know they were discontinued before the CR200, do not have touch screens and are well outside any warranty or Sonos repair provision. But as the "weapon of choice" for controlling a Sonos system they are just the best thing about (IMHO). 😃
Note that Android tablets also have a "Keep screen on while charging" mode that keeps the screen on, but dimmed, in a charging cradle. You have to enable Developer Options; go to Settings->About and tap the "Build Number" field seven consecutive times. You will then see a menu for "Developer Options" in the main settings. Keep the Sonos app on at all times (by pinning or a Kiosk mode app) and you have instant access when you remove from the cradle or tap the screen.
The 2012 Nexus 7 is a pretty good alternative to a CR200 but the CR100 with its hard buttons is still the best way to control a Sonos system.
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I use a Nexus 7 (2013) as replacement for the CR200.

It has built in wireless charging so you can leave it ona a on a Wireless Charging base or dock (I use the Nexus wireless Charger) to charge and pick it up at required without having to plug or unplug any wires.

You can also use a target home launcher app and configure it to launch the Sonos app instead of the home launcher when you tap the Home button, this makes it more like a Sonos remote as you launch the Sonos app automatically each time you press the Home button rather than having to use Android to open the default launcher and then open the Sonos App.
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For point 4 you can turn off the lock screen and security pin so that you pick up the tablet with the Sonos app already open and then is no need to swipe the screen or tap in a pin code to unlock it
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Thanks for the suggestions - timjn particularly. I can get a refurb 2013 nexus 7 for about £80, so will follow up soon!
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I still use my single CR100, but recognise its limitations. Obviously the CR200 has had a difficult history, particularly with the touch screen fails, a recurrent fault. One of my five has now been replaced at least twice! With the suggested alternative controller options posited by users responding to this topic, it is easy to understand Sonos' decision to get out of controller hardware, and just offer the free apps. Works for me!
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Just to add something extra in here guys.

If you want an iOS/Android device to be a real, dedicated controller, be sure to read into Guided Access (iOS) and Screen Pinning (Android).

Just a note, I use screen pinning on the Nexus 7 (2012) WiFi, since it does support lollipop, which is required for Screen Pinning.

Check out this FAQ if you are ever interested in having this : CLICKY!
I searched for an alternative for the Nexus 7 (since this tablet can not be bought any longer in the Netherlands), as a substitute for my CR200 which is almost done.
I could not find anything.
I even asked Asus and they suggested that the Asus Memo Pad 7 LTE (ME 375cl) would probably be suitable, but they can not tell where to buy this tablet.

Does anyone have an idea where to buy a tablet with characteristics close to a CR200?

Thanks in advance.
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Hey Jovabo.

You don't need amazing specifications to run the Sonos application on Android.

Although it won't support screen clipping, here is an example, but, the market is flooded with entry level, affordable, android tablets like this :

http://www.mediamarkt.nl/nl/product/_lenovo-tab-2-a7-10-1394909.html

I reckon that'd be more than sufficient for your Sonos app needs, however, with enough hunting online you could probably find something equally as good for less.
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I use a Surface RT configured to automatically login and start my app on power-up, using "kiosk" mode. Starts up quicker than my CR-100s, and has a few more features too (ag multiple music account support).
Thanks ElesoteriC for your reply.

I purchased a Asus Zenpad C 7.0 which allows for Android Lollipop.
Although it works I still miss the advantages of the CR200.
Which are:
Waking up when picked up; no button needs to be pressed.
Clearly visible how much the battery is still loaded.
Easy to be stocked in a docking station.
Small dimensions, only one hand needed to use the control.(like a smartphone)

I wonder why it is so hard for Sonos to fabricate a controller with these desired features (which we have got used to), while there are so many smartphones and tablets available with some, but not all of these requirements.

Not using a CR200 anymore feels like stepping back.

Kind regards.
Good afternoon,

has one of you tried a Kindle Fire 7"?

thank you
Eric
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Good afternoon,

has one of you tried a Kindle Fire 7"?

thank you
Eric


I'm sure it will be fine as a controller, I would check that it supports screen pinning though if you require it as it's not pure Android
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Lots of good info above. But to bring it up to date, how about choosing an android tablet that has wireless charging also, obviating the need for a cradle? And is it possible to have a shake to wake function at the same time as app pinning?

Any suggestions as to what tablet might provided all this at a reasonable price?

Thanks
Nigel
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Lots of good info above. But to bring it up to date, how about choosing an android tablet that has wireless charging also, obviating the need for a cradle? And is it possible to have a shake to wake function at the same time as app pinning?

Any suggestions as to what tablet might provided all this at a reasonable price?

Thanks
Nigel


What's the reason for wanting wireless charging over a cradle, do you want it laying flat? The Nexus 7 (2012) had a stand accessory, like wireless charging you just rest the tablet on the stand

http://www.expansys.com/google-nexus-7-2012-dock-285597/
If you are going to keep it in a cradle/wireless charger, no need for shake to wake. Just enable the secret "Developer's Menu" (Google is your friend) and set the tablet to not sleep when charging. It will go into a low backlight mode, but still stay on when charging. This is great when you are listening and want to glance at the screen for a title/artist/etc. without picking it up.
By the way, here is my main Controller and stand;

http://www.amazon.com/Kindle-Display-Wi-Fi-Previous-Generation/dp/B00D2KJDXA/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1455896288&sr=8-5&keywords=fire+HDX

http://www.amazon.com/AmazonBasics-IPM-TAB1-AMZ-Adjustable-Tablet-Stand/dp/B006ZT4VA0/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1455896314&sr=8-3&keywords=tablet+stand

They sit on my end table, the tablet is always charging. That particular Fire tablet is the deluxe model, you can get a basic one for an almost disposable $50 now:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00TSUGXKE/ref=fs_ods_fs_tab_fd

The only caveat is they are not eligible for beta testing. There is no Amazon app in beta, so I use other devices when I participate in betas.
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Does anyone know of a small screen Android device (less than 6") with a huge battery, eg 10000 mAh+, I've found this but it looks hideous :)
http://www.everbuying.net/product1123060.html
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Has anyone tried one of these as a remote? a Fire HD6

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/offer-listing/B00KC6KNC2/ref=dp_olp_used?tag=ho01f-21
The Fires work great. Only caveat is that are not eligible for beta release, so if you participate in beta, you would need to use something else.
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The Fires work great. Only caveat is that are not eligible for beta release, so if you participate in beta, you would need to use something else.

Ah, I thought you can just install APK's on the Fire.

Doesn't the controller app on a Fire work if the rest of the system is on beta software?


Ah, I thought you can just install APK's on the Fire.

Doesn't the controller app on a Fire work if the rest of the system is on beta software?


Fire OS is a forked version of Android. It can load some standard Android APK's and run them fine, others it chokes on, others don't run at all. Unfortunately, the standard Android Sonos APK beta version will not load, even from direct download. It also varies whether the normal Fire version is merely limited or doesn't run at all when running the beta on the Sonos hardware. There may be a way around that, but I've never done it; I have enough standard Android units that I use for beta.