Sonos calls the Roam “the best-sounding ultraportable speaker ever made.” That is a giant declare, so evidently, as quickly as I received my arms on a assessment pattern, I used to be keen to listen to whether or not it lived as much as that lofty billing. I am blissful to report that to a big extent it does, not less than in comparison with different audio system of comparable dimension and weight.
- Compact and light-weight
- Engaging design
- Spectacular sound for its small dimension
- Robotically switches between your Sonos house Wi-Fi community and Bluetooth
- IPX67 dust- and waterproof
- Voice-enabled (on a Wi-Fi community) with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa
- USB-C and wi-fi charging
Do not Like
- Dear in comparison with many mini Bluetooth audio system
- No energy adapter included, solely USB-C
Accessible in white or black for $169 (£159, AU$279), the Roam is presently Sonos’ smallest and most inexpensive speaker (for those who do not rely these $99 Sonos-compatible), although it is pretty costly for a mini wi-fi speaker. This mannequin, like (£399, AU$649) moveable speaker, is provided with each Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and might faucet into your current Sonos multiroom audio system and hyperlink with different Collection 2-compatible Sonos audio system. (Sonos , creating some havoc for house owners of legacy Sonos gadgets that are not appropriate with the brand new app, bifurcating customers’ multiroom setups.) It additionally helps Apple AirPlay 2, so you possibly can forged audio on to it from an Apple machine with out utilizing the Sonos app.
With its easy matte end and clear design, it is one of many classiest wanting moveable wi-fi audio system I’ve examined — and smaller than I assumed it might be. It weighs simply lower than a pound (430 grams) and it is mainly concerning the dimension of aor Bluetooth speaker. Sonos’ Transfer weighs about six occasions as a lot and actually is not really easy to hold round. In comparison with that, this feels downright gentle. It is also shock resistant — the top caps are rubberized — and appears fairly sturdy. It has an IPX67 ranking, which implies it may be totally submerged underwater (as much as 1 meter) for 30 minutes and it truly makes for an excellent bathe speaker.
Wi-Fi at house, Bluetooth on the go
As famous, just like the Transfer, this speaker additionally has built-in Bluetooth. However what’s new is that once you’re away from your private home community the Roam will mechanically swap over to Bluetooth and swap again once you’re inside vary. The Transfer does not do this; it’s important to manually activate the Bluetooth on that speaker.
I initially linked the speaker to an iPhone 12 Professional and the transition from Wi-Fi to Bluetooth appeared to work easily over the three days I examined it. The place issues received slightly trickier is after I needed to change the Roam over to Bluetooth on a Google Pixel four XL Android smartphone after I was out and about and utilizing the Roam as I’d a typical Bluetooth speaker. The facility button subsequent to the USB-C charging port doubles as a Bluetooth button and lets you put the speaker into Bluetooth pairing mode. However it took a number of button holds and releases to lastly get the speaker to point out up within the Pixel’s menu for Bluetooth pairing.
Typically, the Sonos app and software program powering its system are fairly consumer pleasant. Nonetheless, from my expertise, you’ll run into some snafus every now and then, together with points with built-in voice assistants (you possibly can select both Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant) once you’re coping with a Wi-Fi speaker that depends on a house community versus a easy Bluetooth speaker. That stated, the Roam will get future software program updates that ought to assist refine its operation additional.
Other than the auto Wi-Fi to Bluetooth switching, the opposite cool function this has is each USB-C and wi-fi charging. Nonetheless, I ought to notice that no energy adapter is included, simply the USB-C cable, and the speaker requires not less than afor USB-C charging.
As for wi-fi charging, Sonos will promote you a 10 watt wi-fi charging dock for $49 however you possibly can set the speaker down on nearly any Qi wi-fi charging pad and it’ll cost at as much as 15 watts as long as the charging pad helps that velocity. You too can cost the speaker with the included USB-C cable and that is the quickest charging technique, relying on the facility output of your energy adapter. With a 20W energy adapter, I charged the speaker to about 50% in an hour by way of USB-C. Wi-fi charging takes about double that point to get to 50%.
Battery life is rated at round 10 hours at average quantity ranges, however that quantity might drop a bit for those who’re on WiFi fairly than Bluetooth and it may very well be adversely impacted with voice-assistant utilization. As I am capturing this video, Sonos says it is working with Google to situation an replace that improves battery lifetime of the speaker when Google Assistant is enabled.
All of Sonos’ new audio system, together with the Roam, supply some type of the corporate’s Trueplay sound-tuning function to optimize their sonic profiles for the house during which they’re positioned. Quite than use the Sonos app in your iPhone, nevertheless, the Roam makes use of its built-in microphones to watch its environment and regularly autotunes itself on the fly.
Learn extra: Greatest Sonos audio system from $100
When on a Wi-Fi community, these microphones are additionally used to entry Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa along with your voice — it’s important to select one voice assistant or the opposite — and you may move audio onto the closest speaker in your Sonos setup by holding down the pause/play button on the Roam. Sonos calls this new function “Sound Swap”. The Roam is in a position to do that by listening for chirping noises performed by means of your different audio system and determines which one is closest. I suppose the concept is that you just’d stroll in out of your patio after which fireplace up the audio system in your front room.
I had some enjoyable shifting the Roam from room to room, in addition to exterior like I’d any Bluetooth speaker. And my first response after setting it up was, wow, this sounds actually good for a speaker this dimension. It is lower than the identical stage sound-wise because the Sonos One or the Transfer, which produce extra sound with extra bass, nevertheless it’s nearer than I assumed it might be and might fill a small to medium-sized room with sound.
The place this beats different small Bluetooth audio system like these from Final Ears, JBL and others is it has extra bass and sounds slightly fuller with first rate readability. It is also extra pure sounding. Like several small speaker, you possibly can’t push it that tough — it has its limitations — and it may possibly find yourself sounding nice with one observe and solely fairly good with different tracks, particularly once you crank the amount. However it has a nice sound profile with comparatively well-balanced sound that does not come throughout as overly processed (that is what I imply by extra pure sounding).
You too can hyperlink the Roam with one other Roam and create a stereo pair. They do sound fairly spectacular paired up – getting that stereo separation provides the sound that rather more depth – however you may need to pay round $350 to create that arrange. I also needs to add that you just can’t use a pair because the rear audio system in a Sonos encompass sound arrange. You will need to go together with theor these Ikea Symfonisk audio system (there’s additionally a speaker that works as a encompass speaker).
Other than these mini Bluetooth audio system I discussed, I pitted the Roam in opposition to the, which appeared like probably the most apt comparability contemplating the Hyperlink Moveable carries an inventory value of and has each Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.
The Hyperlink Moveable is a much bigger speaker and might play each louder and has extra kick to its bass. However the general tonal steadiness of the Sonos was extra interesting to my ears. The JBL is superb however the Sonos is smaller and higher designed — if I got a alternative between the 2 audio system, I might take the Sonos.
Now, as for whether or not that is the most effective sounding ultraportable speaker ever made, I feel it comes right down to your definition of ultraportable. There are some audio system which can be greater, like Anker’s $100 Soundcore Motion Plus, which can be capable of match the Sonos’ sound. And there are Bluetooth audio system that price lots much less, just like the ($50) that sound surprisingly first rate and are a greater worth if all you are on the lookout for is a mini moveable speaker. However for its dimension, the Roam is fairly laborious to beat so I’ll say Sonos’ declare is throughout the realm of the reality. Not less than with what’s on the market proper now in its dimension class.
Whereas the speaker is much from low-cost, it’s a lot cheaper than the Transfer, giving Sonos one other speaker in its lineup that prices lower than $200. With that extra inexpensive pricing, Sonos is hoping the Roam not solely appeals to Sonos newbies on a tighter finances however to current Sonos customers on the lookout for an ultraportable speaker that may depart the Sonos nest however be proper at house when it returns house. In actual fact, with its engaging design and powerful sound high quality, if you have already got a Sonos setup, it appears laborious to withstand, and notice that for those who personal older Sonos gear, you possibly can stand up to 30% off the Roam and different new Sonos audio system as a part of.