In the crowded landscape of smart speakers, there are a handful of notable constellations that guide consumers’ choices. Enter the Sonos Era 300, the latest offering from the notable audio brand Sonos that shines in the sub-$500 realm. Sonos has engineered a speaker that transforms your audio experience from passable background sound to an immersive symphony that stimulates your senses. From the foundation-shattering metal of Metallica to the timeless melodies of The Beatles, the Era 300 will be your new favourite musical companion.
I’ve spent a few weeks putting the Era 300 through its paces, and it has been a fantastic experience. Whether it was playing classic tracks from In Flames or belting out Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, every track came alive with vibrant tonality and impressive detail. It is amazing to see a speaker deliver in a wide range of genres, with each one delivered in a way that makes the music come to life and feel memorable in a while new way.
Visually, the Era 300 is an attractive, hourglass-shaped device that feels like a natural midpoint between the new Era 100 and the existing Sonos Five. However, do not mistake its middle-child status for mediocrity. The Era 300 is a showcase of Sonos’ design ethos, featuring an intelligent blend of form and function. I have always been a fan of the Sonos design philosophy, and it is put on full display with this speaker. It feels sturdy enough to manage the booming bass it delivers while being easy to set and forget it in your home, never aesthetically dominating the spaces it sits.
One of the most significant improvements of the Era 300 over the Sonos Play:3 is the inclusion of touch controls. This is not a new feature when you look at the speakers Sonos has released over the past few years, but if you are coming from an older speaker, it can be a bit jarring. Thankfully, the touch-sensitive design adds a certain futuristic flair. They are perfectly responsive, although I can’t help but miss the assured click of physical buttons. In all my tests of the Era 300, I never had a problem with the speaker responding instantly to any button press.
“Listening to music through the Era 300 often feels like being in the recording studio itself…”
Beneath the sleek exterior of the Era 300, Sonos has packed a powerful audio ensemble. Two angled woofers provide a balanced bass experience, while four tweeters fire high and mid-range frequencies in every direction, including an upward-pointing tweeter for that room-filling sound experience. That’s right, the Era 300 is a Dolby Atmos-certified speaker designed to deliver spatial audio to further expand the musical landscape it delivers.
The result? A sound that is full-bodied, vibrant, and impressively nuanced. The Era 300 performs equally well across a wide range of genres, always delivering an audio experience that feels incredibly detailed and expansive. Listening to music through the Era 300 often feels like being in the recording studio itself—you’re not just hearing the music; you feel you are experiencing the performances as intended.
For movie enthusiasts, the Era 300 is an absolute delight. The speaker can transform your home into a mini-theatre, providing the perfect balance of sound effects, melodies, and dialogues. If you pair it with a Sonos Arc or a second-generation Beam soundbar, you’ve got yourself an unmatched 7.1.4 Dolby Atmos home entertainment system. Granted, you will need a pair of the Era 300 to make the most of a home theatre setup, but when paired properly, the results are quite impressive, especially if you are coming from a Play:1 or a Sonos One setup.
When it comes to connectivity, the Era 300 has you covered. With Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0, AirPlay 2, line-in and Ethernet support, there are plenty of ways to connect your devices and stream music. That’s right, this is a wired Sonos that supports Bluetooth. It took a while to get here, but it is a welcome addition to an already robust audio offering. We got Bluetooth on the Sonos Move and Sonos Roam, so it’s great to see it on one of the home speakers that can really show what Sonos audio tuning can do.
Navigating the Sonos app was also a mixed experience. It wasn’t as intuitive as I’d have liked, and it often felt slow. It works well connecting my Sonos ecosystem to the many streaming apps you may have accounts with, and while it can feel a bit clunky, it ultimately does get the job done. With that being said, the Trueplay tuning feature is a win. It adjusts the speaker’s sound to your room’s specific acoustics, creating a tailored audio experience that enhances the Era 300’s performance even further.
I have to take a moment to say that while I love what Sonos has done, I have a few complaints about what the Era 300 brings to the table. While the speaker supports Amazon Alexa and Sonos Voice Control, it has unfortunately left out Google Voice Assistant. As an Android user, this omission felt like a disappointment. Furthermore, the lack of Chromecast support felt like a missed opportunity, especially for a device of this calibre. I usually just use Spotify to listen to my everyday music, but the ability to cast from more devices would have been a bonus, although I’m just nitpicking at this point.
“The Sonos Era 300 has set a high bar for premium smart speakers, delivering impressive sound quality, stylish design, and ample connectivity options.”
I should also note that the matte black finish while looking sleek and modern, seems to have a high affinity for fingerprints and dust. This may be a minor quibble, but if you’re keen to keep your devices pristine, it’s something to consider. You might want to opt for the matte white version instead. I usually go for black electronics whenever possible, and if I ever touched the speaker, I had to make sure I had a cleaning cloth handy, or I would be staring at a smattering of fingerprints every time I even looked at the speaker.
All things considered, the Sonos Era 300, priced at $449, is a significant player in the premium smart speaker market. The rich, vibrant audio quality, including the spatial audio support, truly sets the Era 300 apart from other speakers in its price range.
This new flagship from Sonos indeed elevates the immersive listening experience, serving a growing demand for broader audio format support. It’s an investment that’s worth every penny if you’re looking for a standalone Dolby Atmos speaker. However, if you’re a devout user of Google’s ecosystem or need to cast from your device, you might want to look elsewhere.
The Sonos Era 300 has set a high bar for premium smart speakers, delivering impressive sound quality, stylish design, and ample connectivity options. However, the lack of Google Assistant and Chromecast support, alongside a less-than-perfect app, prevent it from reaching its full potential. Despite these drawbacks, the Era 300 remains a compelling choice for anyone seeking a high-quality audio experience.