Sonos is more than a brand: it’s a Jay-Z line. Not many brands have crossed over into pop culture so successfully. For years name Sonos has been the company to beat when it comes to home audio. Not necessarily because its products sound the best but rather because Sonos products are easy to use, look good, and—let’s be honest—are just popular. If you’re looking into home audio and don’t want to do a ton of research then Sonos is the default. But how does that apply once you leave the house? The Sonos Move is the company’s first take on a Bluetooth speaker but is it worth it? Keep reading on for the Sonos Move speaker review here.
Sonos Move Speaker Review
Price and availability
The Sonos Move went on sale on September 24, 2019 costing $399 / £399 / AU$649.
That’s pricey for a portable speaker – but this isn’t your average Bluetooth boombox, making it difficult to place alongside any direct competition. Few portable speakers, even those with smart assistants built-in, have as rich a feature-list as the Sonos Move, so that higher price tag is more easily justified.
Sonos products command a high price tag, and the Sonos Move is no different – but it’s been engineered to within an inch of its life in order to justify the claim on your hard earned cash.
It’s very much in the style of previous Sonos models. You’ve a black speaker with a metal front grille, with capacitive playback control buttons along the top alongside an array of four far field mics. Around the rear you’ll find a power button, a Bluetooth / Wi-Fi toggle button and a multi-room pairing button.
In terms of audio guts, the Sonos Move makes use of two Class-D digital amplifiers, one downward-firing tweeter for highs and one mid-woofer integrated into the cabinet for mid-ranges and bass. Sonos has built the enclosure cutaway to be resonant and balanced from all angles – the outside world knows no boundaries, after all.
As a portable product, it’s been vigorously tested for durability. Sonos also claims that it can withstand extremes of cold and heat – so whether your party is in the desert or the middle of a snowstorm, the Sonos Move should have you covered. It’s IP56 rated, meaning it’ll withstand a coating with sand or dust, as well as a drop into a swimming pool. There’s even run-off channels within the casing for water to drain out through, while Sonos claims that during drop tests a concrete slab broke before the speaker even took a dent.
That’ll be down to its weight, we’d imagine. Standing 240 x 160 x 126 mm, it’s portable, but it’s not small. At close to 3kg, you can lift the Sonos Move with ease, but you wouldn’t want to carry it around for too long. That’s a necessity of the large driver magnets in place here, and it’s a fair trade to make for the audio quality that’s delivered. To ease the load, the casing has a concave handle gap on the rear to make carrying it around a little easier.
If you were expecting a battery-powered, Bluetooth version of the Sonos One, think again. Physically, the Move towers over the One. Compared to the majority of portable Bluetooth speakers, and indeed anything Sonos currently offers, it is relatively tall (24cm) and heavy (3kg).
The Move is IP56-rated dust and water-resistant, meaning it should be protected from ‘harmful dust’ and ‘strong water jets from all directions’. That’s not the only new design trait to accommodate the Move’s portability either. A recessed area around its rear that your hand can slide into means that, despite its size and weight, it is fairly easy to move around. The Black Show finish (slightly lighter in shade to the traditional Sonos black) has supposedly been chosen as the best finish in terms of heat and UV resistance.
The headline features here are the addition of Bluetooth and a rechargeable battery. The Move supports the standard AAC and SBC Bluetooth codecs, although it’s a shame aptX or aptX HD don’t feature on the menu for higher-quality Bluetooth transmission – especially as Android smartphone support for those codecs is on the rise.
But this is a wi-fi speaker first and foremost, and we are pleased that Sonos has taken the opportunity to improve its wi-fi reliability. Sonos claims that the Move boasts its ‘best wi-fi performance so far’, which should reduce the chances of any signal drop out, even when you are using the speaker outdoors.
The second USP is the Move’s battery. Sonos says a full charge provides around 10 hours of playback, and during our testing period that claim appears to be fairly accurate. We listened on an average of 60 per cent volume, though bear in mind the higher the volume the quicker battery will deplete. A one-hour charge restores the battery back up to around 50 per cent, while three hours should see it fully refilled.
The alternative to plugging a USB-C charging cable directly into the Move is sitting the speaker within the supplied charging ‘ring’, which plugs into the mains and barely expands the Move’s footprint. All you need do is ensure the two contact patches on the bottom of the Move match up with those on the edge of the ring.