The Casio PX-S1100 is one of the latest additions to the popular Privia series. In this review, I’ll discuss everything the PX-S1100 has to offer, take a look at its big brother, the PX-S3100, and discuss the benefit (or lack of) in upgraded from the older models.
About the author
- 88 weighted keys
- 192-note polyphony
- built-in speakers
- 18 voices
- dual headphone jacks
Final verdict on the Casio PX-S1100
The PX-S1100 is a great beginner’s keyboard piano, and it’s excellent value for money. Ideally, I would have liked to see some more new functions/features, but overall, it’s a solid entry into the market.
If you need something portable with weighted keys, you can’t get any slimmer than the PX-S1100.
What I like
- Slim lightweight design.
- High-quality sound.
- Improved speaker system.
- Bluetooth connectivity.
- Easy to use.
- Chordana Play app.
What I don’t like
- Not a huge change from the PX-S1000.
- Not best piano sound in its class.
The PX-S1100 offers 18 different voices from Casio’s AiR sound engine. It comes with a max polyphony of 192 notes, so it’s off to a good start.
The featured voices include eight pianos, of which the Grand Piano Concert and Grand Piano Bright are particularly nice. The Grand Piano Concert especially would compete with some of the best keyboard pianos when it comes to depth and richness of sound.
The other sounds include electric pianos, strings, organs, vibes, and bass. Some personal favorites of mine are the 60s E. Piano and the Pipe Organ.
I love the sound of the PX-S1100 at this price point, but it’s not worlds apart from the older models. While it’s great, I’m slightly disappointed that it’s not a more obvious step up.
The PX-S3100 offers the same sound quality but much more variety. It has 700 built-in tones, including 24 pianos.
Both the PX-S1100 and the PX-S3100 come with the same speaker system, powered by dual 8 W amplifiers.
Sound output is one of the areas where Casio has worked to improve upon the older models, but not by dramatically outpowering them. Instead, Casio has redesigned the box housing for the speaker system and upgraded the speaker cone material. In real terms, this means it should produce more definition in the treble and allow the sound to project/travel further, creating clearer bass tones.
There’s no denying that these improvements will make a difference; it’s a question of how much difference. For example, if heard next to a PX-S1000, the improvement won’t always be emphatic, but heard on its own, I have to say it sounds great for the money.
I have a mixed opinion in this area. I always liked the feel of the PX-S1000 and PX-S3000, so I can’t be too critical because, like them, it has scaled hammer-action keys with a simulated ebony/ivory feel. So, let’s start by saying that the PX-S1100 feels excellent for the money.
It’s still amazing to have scaled hammer-action keys in such a slim (the world’s slimmest keyboard piano) and lightweight piano. However, there is one issue that some players may pick up on. The black keys are slightly lighter than the white keys, although not by much.
Just knowing this is enough to put some people off, but in my opinion, it’s not immediately noticeable, and certainly not for beginners. The level of player who might notice a significant difference isn’t likely to buy the PX-S1100 anyway, so it’s worth mentioning, but not a huge deal for most.
Here I will take a look at the main features of the PX-S1100 and a few that are exclusive to the PX-S3100.
Casio has included a new Bluetooth adapter that will enable wireless audio and MIDI communication. Previously, the PX-S1000 offered wireless audio streaming through the built-in speakers, but if you wanted to connect to a smart device like a tablet, you had to use a cable. Those days are gone, and you can now connect your device wirelessly for use with compatible apps.
If there is a downside, it’s that the upgrade isn’t a built-in feature; it’s in the form of a USB adapter. Ultimately, that’s fine; just make sure you don’t lose it.
Duet mode is a feature that I love on any beginner keyboard. It allows you to split the keyboard into two identical zones for student/teacher practice.
These features are pretty standard, and most keyboards have them. Split mode lets you create two keyboard zones with different voices, like bass and piano. Layer mode enables you to layer two sounds together, like piano and strings.
One thing I like about the PX-S1100 that not all keyboards allow, is that you can adjust the volume of each layer independently.
The PX-S1100 can be powered by the included 12 V DC adapter or by six AA batteries. Optional battery power adds to the portability of the keyboard.
Chordana Play app
Casio’s Chordana Play is amongst the best practice apps offered by any manufacturer. It has a wide range of features, including PDF scores, graded performance, and you can even remove vocals or melodies from your audio tracks.
The PX-S1100 offers four types of hall simulation, like Berlin, and two types of surround. It also features four chorus types and seven levels of brilliance. It’s not the widest range of effects, but the quality is good, particularly the hall simulations.
The PX-S3100 features the same effects but offers more types. It also provides editable DSP presets and EQ.
Music library songs
The PX-S1100 has 60 onboard songs; the PX-S3100 has none. Both have space for 10 user songs.
With the built-in MIDI recorder, you can record one song (two tracks) or up to 99 audio songs via USB in 44.1 kHz WAV format.
Built-in rhythms (PX-S3100 only)
The PX-S3100 comes with 200 built-in rhythms, while the PX-S1100 has none. Remember, you can stream audio through the built-in speakers on both, so there are other ways to get a backing track.
Display (PX-S3100 only)
Because the PX-S3100 has far more voices to browse, it comes with a handy display to help you get there quicker.
How I score in this area is largely down to the price and target audience. I believe the PX-S1100 can be useful for intermediate to advanced players who are looking for a cheaper/lighter keyboard for performing certain gigs. But, the primary target audience is definitely beginners, and it’s a fantastic option for them.
It’s easy to move around the house or take to a friend’s house. It has a keyboard feel that’s authentic enough to help develop strong technique, and it has enough features to stay busy without distracting from proper practice.
That pretty much covers it; it’s a simple keyboard piano that does the simple things well.
I think the PX-S1100 is suitable for performing live, and I understand that gigs usually mean a few bumps along the way. It’s certainly not built like a tank, and I would advise caution if gigging, but buy a decent case, and you’ll be fine.
Again, I factor in the price here because nothing feels cheap, and in comparison to other keyboard pianos in the $1000 range, it holds its own.
There are a few things to be happy about here, mainly the upgrade to Bluetooth MIDI/audio connectivity. But, also that it has two 1/4″ audio outputs (ideal if you perform with others) and dual 1/8″ headphone jacks.
There is a 1/4″ damper pedal input and multi-DIN input, along with two USB ports (type A/B). SP-3 damper pedal included.
Compared to other keyboard pianos
As I said in the recently updated top list, the PX-S1100 is the best keyboard piano for beginners who already know they are serious about learning. But here are a few more options for you to consider.
Casio PX-S1100 vs Yamaha P-125
The Yamaha P-125 has been around for a while, and it’s always a reliable choice. In this case, I consider the P-125 to be better overall, but the PX-S1100 is better if purely for a beginner.
Casio PX-S1100 vs Alesis Prestige Artist
I love the Prestige Artist because it’s a step forward for Alesis’ budget range of keyboard pianos. The slim design of the PX-S1100 will likely appeal more to new players.
Casio PX-S1100 vs Kawai ES110
Simply put, this is one of the best-sounding budget keyboard pianos around. If sound quality is a priority, go with the ES110.
Who is the Casio PX-S1100 best suited for?
The Casio PX-S1100 is ideal for beginners and anyone who wants a cheaper, lightweight alternative to their main keyboard piano.Buy Casio Privia PX-S1100 at: SweetwaterAmazon
Upgrading from the PX-S1000/PX-S3000?
It’s best to view the PX-S1100 and PX-S3100 as direct replacements for the PX-S1000 and PX-S3000 rather than the next model up.
These new keyboards are more like improvements on existing models than entirely new ideas. Casio has had some criticism for not being clear enough in describing these models and their position in the range.
However, I don’t think Casio is trying to fool anyone by rebadging a product as something else. They have simply improved upon an existing model and are offering it at the same price.
In summary, if you own a PX-S1000/PX-S3000, I wouldn’t suggest upgrading. If you don’t, the PX-S1100 and PX-S3100 are the better choices.