Sonos has long been my connected audio provider of choice. Offering a robust ecosystem of products that all work together and sound great, it is hard to stray once you have invested a few hundred dollars into the company. As diverse as the range offered, they were sadly lacking anything that was truly portable. At least until the Sonos Roam, the new portable speaker that checks all the boxes, provided you are already invested in the Sonos Ecosystem.
Sonos has long stood as a great choice to fill your house with sound. They connect to each other effortlessly, sound good, and will suit most home aesthetics due to their clean modern style. While the app can get a tad frustrating with the unique way it works, Sonos is hard to beat as a hub to connect and set up the speakers to fill your entire house with crystal clear sound.
The fact you were tied to your house was the only thing holding you back with Sonos. Yes, there is the Sonos Move, offering a speaker you can charge, but that is more a backyard speaker option, not one you would take camping. This is where the Roam fits nicely into the portfolio. This cute little speaker brings the best of both worlds: a clean and clear Wi-Fi speaker that connects to your system, and a Bluetooth speaker that you can take with you on the go.
“The easy setup of the Sonos Roam was refreshing.”
If you are used to the likes of UE-Boom or Beats Pills, the Roam feels very much a blend of these speakers with a dash of Sonos. It feels as if they shrunk down any of their other offerings, with the same attention to detail and quality still present. Even though the speaker is only 430 grams, it is staggering how well it sounds and how effortlessly it will fill a room with music. The little speaker is deceptive in its level of audio impact, so much so that I mistakenly woke my neighbours as I was testing the abilities on the first day of use.
The easy setup of the Sonos Roam was refreshing. Once you unbox the speaker, and potentially give it a bit of a charge, you just need to fire up the Sonos app to get things going. It took all of five minutes to go from an unboxed speaker to a part of my audio ecosystem.
Even Bluetooth on the speaker is easy as you would expect from Sonos. With the ability to swap between Wi-Fi and Bluetooth with the press of a button, even if you are not used to the world of Sonos, you should be right at home rocking out with the Roam, even when on the go.
The Sonos Roam includes many of the advancements the company has delivered to its speaker family over the years. It brings with it Auto TruePlay technology that lets the Roam use its onboard mic—the same one used for Alexa and Google voice assistance—to tune the speaker to its surroundings. While may sound like a gimmick, it is amazing at how well it works. Once you turn on the Roam, it will set itself up, or you can go through the Sonos app to get it sounding just the way you want it. And to top it off, the Roam offers Apple AirPlay 2, just to ensure the Apple fans are not left out of the fun.
The Sonos Roam is also built to be taken outside. As mentioned, the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi seamless switching makes it an ideal dual use speaker. It also has an IP67 waterproof rating that means if you have it by the pool and can be submerged for up to 30 minutes, just don’t bring it swimming and you should be fine. If that were not enough, the Roam also offers drop resistance to keep it safe even while visiting that elusive nature we all hear talk about.
But the real question is how does the Sonos Roam actually sound, and thankfully I have mostly good news to report on this front. The Roam has a clear audio profile that should make most music and audio sound great. It also, as I mentioned above, has the ability to pump out audio at some high volumes, especially for its little size. Sadly, I found anything past the 50% volume marker can start to sound a bit muddled, losing some of the clarity and sense of space the speaker can deliver otherwise.
“…a clear audio experience that has enough depth to please all but the most discerning audiophiles.”
The Sonos Roam brings with it a relatively simple set of components to deliver the audio. It boasts a single tweeter along with a large ovular mid/bass woofer. All the audio is powered by a Class-H digital amplifier. The Roam does not try to mask it’s mono nature and embraces it to deliver a clear audio experience that has enough depth to please all but the most discerning audiophiles.
But all this portability comes at a price, and the Roam is not the longest living speaker on the market. While the company claims it will get around 10 hours of use, I found it to be a bit less, around 8.5 hours on average. It should also be noted that while the Roam is turned on while on Wi-Fi and not plugged in, it will slowly be draining the battery due to the wireless tech constantly talking to your network, even if you aren’t playing music.
The Roam ships with a USB-C charging cable—though you will need to supply your own charging brick—and is compatible with standard Qi wireless chargers. Sonos is also launching their own base, similar to what the Sonos Move comes with, that will let the Roam magnetically connect and charge while it is not on the go.
Sonos has managed to deliver a portable speaker that oozes the company’s unique sense of style and quality. It is one of the most diverse portable speakers I have tested, and the simple fact it integrates seamlessly into existing Sonos systems makes it a tremendous offering if you are already invested in the brand. If you are just looking to pick up a speaker for when you are hiking, and don’t intend to buy any more Sonos products, there are other more inexpensive options. For those who love Sonos, and want to expand their collection, pick up the Sonos Roam—your outdoor adventures need a quality soundtrack.