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Sonos Roam Speaker Review

The Sonos Roam is the kind of speaker that makes us excited for warmer weather. It’s like Sonos took everything that we loved about the Sonos Move and shrunk it down into something we could comfortably carry with us, throw in a bag, and not have to worry about if the party gets a little “crazy”. The Roam is a brand new, portable smart speaker with Bluetooth and WiFi and it weighs less than a pound and is “smaller than a water bottle”… as Sonos themselves put it. It’s more rugged than any other Sonos speaker, with a waterproof rating, and still comes through with that rich, Sonos sound. And, like all of Sonos’ speakers, it’s available in black and in white, though, we’re keeping our fingers crossed for some limited-edition colorways in the future. Keep reading on for the Sonos Roam speaker review here.

Sonos Roam Speaker Review

A low price

Sonos Roam Speaker Review

The Sonos Roam is the cheapest speaker that the brand has ever released, making it a relatively affordable way to gain access to the Sonos ecosystem.

That’s not to say that it’s cheap; $169 / £159 / AU$279 for a portable speaker definitely puts the Sonos Roam at the higher end of the price scale, although it is significantly cheaper than the brand’s last portable speaker, the Sonos Move.

Sonos devices rarely come cheap, but their high prices are usually justified by excellent audio performance, reliable connectivity and attractive design – and if the Roam can offer all this at a slightly cheaper price, the audio brand could be on to a real winner.

Sonos Roam Design and Acoustics

The Roam is elegant, rugged, and made for music-lovers (and Sonos fans) on the go. Its dual-orientation form factor, lets you place it vertically to take up less space on a surface or horizontally, which comes in handy for uneven surfaces you might encounter when outdoors (grass, sand, you get it).  Both orientations effectively direct the sound upwards towards the listener. This is a slightly newer form-factor for Sonos, with a slimmer and more pill-shape profile than anything else in their line-up. And, according to Sonos, the Roam’s concave end-caps serve three functions; “preventing accidental button presses, providing a stable-base when stood vertically, and increasing drop resistance”.

Large, tactile buttons on the top (when vertically oriented) make for easy playback and volume control that you can nicely feel your way through, making it easy to control in the dark. Keep in mind the buttons are there for convenience, as is easy control through the Sonos app or built-in voice assistants if preferred. The battery and status light are on the front and a power button and USB-C port for easy charging are hidden out of sight on the back.


The Roam is Sonos' cheapest and most portable speaker yet
Sonos Roam Speaker Review

The Sonos Roam works over both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5, so you can use it in the home or on the move – and another new feature, Automatic Switching, should ensure that connectivity is seamlessly maintained wherever you go, with the speaker automatically connecting to your Wi-Fi network when in range, and re-pairing with your phone when you’re out and about.

Most portable speakers on the market today only offer Bluetooth connectivity, so the inclusion of Wi-Fi support alone is an excellent feature. Add in Automatic Switching and the latest version of Bluetooth, and the Sonos Roam could be the best-connected speaker we’ve ever seen.

Sonos Roam audio performance

While we can’t make an assessment of the Sonos Roam’s audio performance until we’ve tested it ourselves, we can take a look at the sonic specs on offer here.

Inside the speaker are two class-H amplifiers, with a high-efficiency motor that Sonos says “increases power and range”. With its smaller build, we’re not expecting the sound to be room-filling in the same way that sound from the Sonos Move is, but hopefully the Roam has some heft behind it.

There’s also a custom racetrack mid-woofer to ensure “faithful playback of mid-range frequencies” and maximized bass, and a tweeter to provide “crisp” high frequencies. In other words, we’re expecting a well-balanced soundstage with plenty of clarity in the trebles, smooth mids, and a powerful bass response.

You’ll be able to adjust the EQ settings too, presumably via the Sonos S2 app.

Sonos is reprising its Automatic Trueplay tuning technology for the Sonos Roam, which we first saw with the Sonos Move – though with one key difference. The feature allows the speaker to adjust its sound output based on its orientation, location, and content, and it can now do this over Bluetooth as well as Wi-Fi.

In spite of its small size, we’re expecting a powerful sound from the Sonos Roam thanks to some clever design choices surrounding the transducer.

The transducer transforms the electric signal into wave-shaped changes in air pressure – the sound you hear – and for that, it needs space to move, as well as space within the speaker to pack in as much air as possible.

As Sara Morris, Principal Product Manager at Sonos explains, the team managed to keep the size down by making the transducer part of the housing itself, allowing the Sonos Roam to be “smaller, lighter, and still have a really good sound”.