Experiment Sonos Roam Travel Speaker – Firmly included

Sonos is best known for its multi-room sound systems. However, the manufacturer has already released its second mobile speaker, this time in a more compact size range. Sonos Roam proved to be a very good travel partner in the Muropaketti trial.

The first Sonos mobile speaker was the Move. It was released as early as 2019, but ranked significantly larger than the Roam model, which was released in March and hit stores on April 20th.

The speaker is available in either white or black.

The recommended price for the Sonos Roam speaker to be tested is 179 euros. The novelty model thus competes for the price in the same category as, for example, the popular JBL models Charge 5 or Link Portable and the Sony SRS-XB43. All of them are in the category of less than 200 euros. However, the cheapest Bluetooth speakers cost only a couple of tens, so the level of demand will increase significantly at the latest when you move above a hundred in price. In this case, you may require higher quality sound, functional control, sufficient battery life, and some basic features.

Sonos Roam strives to meet all of these challenges. It aims to create balanced sound reproduction, the speaker can be integrated into the Sonos sound system and its battery that supports wireless charging is promised to last ten hours of playing time. In other market areas, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant virtual assistants are also used in the speaker, but these are not supported in Finland.

There are not too many in the sales package, not even a charger, but only the USB-C to USB-A cable and the instruction manual. The speaker itself is packaged in a non-woven fabric bag, which can very well be used as a helpful protective bag even later.

Hatched from a recycled cardboard package, Sonos Roam is convincingly sturdy in structure. The triangular ends are made of a slightly more rubbery material, the sound coming out most densely perforated from behind the net. The rest of the case is made of sturdy plastic, which also collects a little fingerprint.

The device is IP67 rated, so it can withstand immersion in shallow water for less than half an hour.

The external dimensions of the speaker are 168 x 62 x 60 millimeters. The weight has accumulated 430 grams, which may seem like a reasonable amount, but at the same time it underscores the rigidity of the structure. The size of the device is close to a half-liter bottle, so it can be easily placed in the side pocket of a backpack, for example, or even in the pocket of a loose jacket.

The rubber pads of the sole are small, but when flexible they bring a brisk grip.

There are not too many buttons. There is a power button on the back of the device next to the USB-C connector. The other operating buttons are located in the second end triangle. There are its own buttons for raising and lowering the volume, a microphone and a play / pause button. The latter also handles the transfer of music from the speaker to other Sonos devices as well as song changes. One-button multifunction requires a moment of learning, but the functions are logical enough not to become a problem.

The device also has three small LEDs, one located next to the microphone button, the other two behind the network on opposite sides of the device. They mainly determine if the microphone is in use, which network the speaker is connected to, and whether the battery is running low or charging.

During the commissioning phase, the device itself is practically just turned on, and everything else is handled through the Sonos S2 App. The test used the Android version.

During the deployment phase, a Sonos account will also be created, if one does not already exist. The installer directs you to take the phone to be placed near the bottom of the speaker by which the device was added to the application. The application then instructs you to connect the device to the active WiFi network.

Only then will Bluetooth pairing be successful. Sonos Roam also supports Spotify Connect, for example, so you can play audio without Sonos, but in practice it’s a sensible interface.

The speaker can reproduce sound in commendable ways. At its most versatile, the Roam can be part of the Sonos multi-room system as one of its speakers. In this case, playback is possible via a WiFi connection, which is also used by the available AirPlay 2 connection. When you are out of reach of a WiFi network, audio is transferred to the speaker via Bluetooth 5.0. You can pair the latter by pressing and holding the power button. Once the speaker is paired with a Bluetooth device, it can automatically switch to using it when the WiFi connection is not in use.

The speaker has also been able to transfer the music you are listening to to another Sonos device, but since there was no such in the test environment, it could not be tried either.

(Photo: Sonos)

Two elements and two Class H amplifiers are responsible for the sound reproduction of the speaker. One of the elements is responsible for the treble and the other for the midrange and bass.

The sound could be described in a good way as harmless. Virtually all vowels are clear without any problems and the balance between mid-range and treble is fine. This department also has enough kick. Harmless is therefore also pleasantly unencumbered.

However, where the compact size belongs is, of course, bass reproduction, and mainly its limited reproduction. This is heard as a slight inaccuracy, although the bass reproduction of the speaker is by no means particularly low. However, the repetition is still brisk enough that this department will not actually be disturbed either. The easy ease of this level of sound is by no means clear in this price range either.

Part of the practical good operation of the speaker is explained by the TruePlay function, which requires the speaker to be on top of the microphone. In a way, the speaker listens to the environment in which the sound is reproduced and seeks to fine-tune the playback to suit the position, space, and material of the speaker. There is no dramatic function, but in a very resonant mode, for example, the function makes the sound work a little better. Also, turning the speaker to different vertical or horizontal positions does not disturb the sound.

Even a small speaker releases enough sound pressure. Indoors, the speaker can fill a room of at least about 25 square meters with reasonable ease, but outdoors, boundaries come in much faster: The speaker still works with a park picnic, but no longer as a pacemaker for actual outdoor parties.

An integral part of a Bluetooth speaker is the battery and its charge. The sales package, in the style that is becoming more common in phones, does not have a charger at all, only a cable. However, the battery can be refueled with any USB charger with a power of at least 7.5 watts, but not more than 15 watts. The great thing is that Sonos also supports Qi wireless charging. During the test, a Sonos charging cradle was also sold for 49 euros. The speaker snaps into it conveniently, accompanied by magnets, and it also manages to charge the phone’s battery, which supports Qi charging. Wireless charging also works on other compatible Qi platforms.

The battery of the Sonos Roam speaker can last the promised ten hours, but then you need to have a good WiFi connection and the volume must be set to the background music level. If the kick of the device is utilized with any more vigorous hand, the battery life may have to be compromised for a couple of hours. So from morning to night listening sessions, it does not depend on the battery. There are options for competitors that offer longer playing time, but Roam’s performance cannot be considered hopeless. In standby mode, however, the battery discharges unacceptably quickly, as the battery, which was almost half full during the test run, was already discharged in about three days.

At its best, the Roam speaker is sure to be part of the Sonos system, giving all its intricacies their rights and full value for money. In addition to the sturdy and durable design, other users are attracted by the automatic adjustment and the possibility of wireless charging – these features increase the comfort of the speaker surprisingly much. However, if the operating profile requires a long battery life or a really high sound pressure level, there are other options for the same money. However, the smallest representative of the Sonos family left a very positive and usable feeling about himself.

Good

  • Sound quality in relation to size
  • Sturdy structure
  • Low-key nature
  • Wireless charging is comfortable to use
  • Versatile connections

Bad

  • Battery life is not quite best
  • Full benefit only in the Sonos environment
  • Quickly discharge the battery in standby mode
  • (Wireless) charger must be purchased separately

Technical information Sonos Roam:

  • Price: 179 €
  • Amplifier: 2 x Class H digital amplifier, power not indicated
  • Speaker elements: 1 x midrange, 1 x treble
  • Wireless connections: Bluetooth 5.0, WiFi 802.11b / g / n / ac, AirPlay 2 (iOS 11.4 or higher)
  • Battery: 18 Wh (up to 15 W USB-C charging supported, plus Qi wireless charging)
  • Battery life (indicated): 10 h
  • Dimensions, weight: 168 x 62 x 60 mm, 430 g
  • Other: IP67 rating, USB-C connection, multi-room playback with compatible Sonos speakers, Trueplay control technology.

Source: Muropaketti.com by muropaketti.com.

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