How Does the New Sonos Roam Portable Speaker Stack up Against the Competition?

Quan Tsang
·5 min read

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Audio manufacturer Sonos has been a popular sound junky brand for nearly two decades now. While their products predominantly sit at home or the office, the Sonos Roam – its new ultra-portable speaker that launches April 20th – will allow listeners to take tunes on the go.

Pre-Order the Sonos Roam

Currently, you can pre-order the device in black or white from Sonos’ website for $169 and have it ship on May 7th (launch day pre-orders appear to have sold out).

Sounds Like an Adventure

The Sonos Move
The Sonos Move

This isn’t Sonos’ first expedition into the great outdoors. The Sonos Move was the company’s first attempt at portability, released in the Fall of 2019. While the Move was meant for on-the-go use, it had some minor inconveniences like its substantial size, hefty weight and premium $399 price tag. With the new Sonos Roam, these qualms are now just echoes of the past.

The Roam is the smallest speaker in the company’s repertoire with dimensions of 6.61 x 2.44 x 2.36 inches. With the reduced size, it has also shed a decent amount of weight to become more travel-friendly at just 0.95 pounds. To handle any precipitous precipitation from Mother Nature, the Roam features an IP67 rating allowing it to withstand being submerged under a meter of water for up to 30 minutes.

The Sonos Roam connects via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi like the Move but can now switch between your home network and your smartphone automatically. It can also be used with other Sonos products on the same Wi-Fi network to create a stereo surround sound effect.

Check out the Sonos Roam

Under the hood, several goodies are packed into the device to ensure the high-quality sound delivery that Sonos is known for. These specs include two Class-H digital amplifiers, a high-frequency response tweeter, and a mid-woofer to maximize low-end output.

To keep communication clear between you and your device, an array of far-field microphones utilize advanced beamforming and multi-channel echo cancellation to enable quick activation of your voice assistant. These mics are also used for automatic Trueplay tuning which enables the speaker to analyze your environment and alter the sound for best playback.

Harnessing an 18Wh rechargeable battery, the Roam offers an advertised 10-hours of playback per charge. Once it’s depleted, you can charge it up the old-fashioned way with an USB-C to USB-A cable or wirelessly with any Qi-certified charger. A custom-designed Sonos Wireless Charger for the Roam is also another option, which is sold separately.

Sonos Roam vs. the Competition

speakers
speakers

The portable Bluetooth speaker market is pretty saturated with choices, so it is hard to find something that is truly unique. But the Sonos Roam definitely has some differentiation in terms of design and capabilities. The round edge prism structure is certainly a refreshing look amidst the sea of cylinders in this category. However, this means you lose out on the 360-degree sound projection that is offered from devices like the Ultimate Ears BOOM 3.

Having the option to charge the device wirelessly is also a cool aspect not available in similar devices and the 10 hours of playtime is certainly respectable. There are many speakers like the Sony SRS-XB23 that offer a longer battery life of 12 hours or more but they can’t match the Roam’s petite size.

And in this age of customization, products often have a vast selection of colors to choose from. However, Sonos likes sticking to the classics of black and white. So if you are looking for a device in your favorite shade of green, then something like the JBL Flip 5 would be a better match.

Is the Sonos Roam Worth It?

sonos roam
sonos roam

As mentioned before, the retail price of the Sonos Roam is $169. This can seem a little steep, but the brand has been a prominent figure in premium audio equipment for quite some time. The lower investment and increased portability of this device is also a vast improvement relative to its predecessor, the Sonos Move.

What it may come down to is your preference in brands. If you really like Sonos’ sound architecture and are already heavily invested in Sonos throughout your home, then the Roam would be a good addition to your audio ecosystem. But if you’re just looking to blast some jams by the poolside this summer, then there are less costly options that will get the job done.

Sonos Roam Alternatives

Amazon is arguably one of the best places to find a portable speaker with a vast selection of brands and products. These are some of the more affordable options that match up to the new Sonos Roam.

Ultimate Ears BOOM 3

Ultimate Ears BOOM 3
Ultimate Ears BOOM 3

Sale Price: $129.45 | Regular Price: $149.99

Specs:

  • 360-degree sound

  • Bluetooth connectivity up to 150 ft

  • 15-hour battery life

  • IP67 dust and water resistance

Sony SRS-XB23

Sony XRS-XB23
Sony XRS-XB23

Sale Price: $78.00 | Regular Price: $99.99

Specs:

  • Sync with 100 speakers via Party Connect

  • Bluetooth connectivity

  • 12-hour battery life

  • IP67 dust and water resistance

JBL Flip 5

JBL Flip 5
JBL Flip 5

Price: $119.95

Specs:

  • Made from 100% recycled plastic

  • WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity

  • 12-hour battery life

  • IPX7 water resistance

Soundcore Flare+

Soundcore Flare
Soundcore Flare

Price: $99.99

Specs:

  • Ambient LED lighting

  • Bluetooth connectivity

  • 20-hour battery life

  • IPX7 water resistance

Beats Pill+

Beats Pill
Beats Pill

Sale Price: $134.99 | Regular Price: $179.95

Specs:

  • Doubles as a portable charger for your phone

  • Bluetooth connectivity

  • 12-hour battery life

  • Full charge in three hours

If you are interested in deals for the Sonos Roam or related products, set up a Deal Alert to get notified instantly when a sale drops. For a current list of Sonos promotions, you can also check out their store page here.

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Our editors strive to ensure that the information in this article is accurate as of the date published, but please keep in mind that offers can change. We encourage you to verify all terms and conditions of any product before you apply.