When the Sonos Roam, I was in the middle of a somewhat uncomfortable thought. On the one hand I understand that they are trying to penetrate the portable speaker market. On the other hand, I must accept that I am in the segment of the population that hates the common use of portable speakers.
Also, being a happy user of Sonos For so many years, I wondered how much commitment they would have to make for the size of the Roam. It is possible to get sound of a certain quality, but how good will it really be?
After a few days testing the Sonos Roam, I have some answers. We also have to talk about the price, whether or not it is justified for the use that many people will give it and how, thanks to the technology it incorporates, it can be versatile enough to get more out of it in different situations.
Sonos Roam: portable and built to last
Sonos Roam it is not the brand’s first portable speaker. That was the Sonos Move, much larger, but with an internal battery and a simple charging system on a practically invisible base. The Move has pretty good sound quality, in a relatively compact size – larger than a Sonos One but smaller than the Sonos Five.
Those who want a very powerful sounding product that is capable of playing music in a large space – a swimming pool or a Sunday barbecue for example – should probably think about it. Move.
The Roam It is designed to be carried anywhere and is small enough to fit in a backpack and does not represent a burden due to its weight. Compete directly with speakers like the UE Boom o go JBL Flip, JBL Clip O JBL Go.
Among other things it has a certification IP67, making it resistant to water and dust. Yes: you can use it to listen to music while you shower, hold on without problem. Yes: you can take it to a pool and it can fall into the water. No, it will not float, but if it happens nothing will happen.
IP67 It means that you can also take it to the beach, or camping, or if you go camping on a route. Dust or sand will not be a problem. That can you does not mean you must. Using a loudspeaker in a public place shouldn’t mean disturbing those next to you
The Sonos Roam It is not a cheap device, especially if you compare it with the competition. But, from a build and portability standpoint, it’s good news. It’s a speaker very well built, with a quality of high-end materials, weight balance and quite premium handfeel.
Another wise design choice with the Roam they are the physical buttons and not the touch buttons I think it is important to feel the controls and what you are going to press in these types of devices. Thanks Sonos.
Perhaps there is a market of people who have always wanted portable speakers like this, but find life’s JBL, UE, or Beat to do a disservice to music quality. Along with questionable build and design quality. I may fall into a confirmation bias, but I am one of those people. So, in terms of construction and quality of materials, the Sonos Roam answers what I’m looking for.
Sonos Roam sound quality
But a nice design and durable construction is of no use if the sound quality is not good. In fact, it is the main reason why the speaker attracts attention. It is a Sonos, they have a very solid reputation in this line.
In that sense not much to argue. As for portable speakers, the Sonos Roam it has a sound quality far superior to any other device of the same type. It is very far from what JBL o go EU they can deliver.
In addition to sound quality, Sonos has an audio computational optimization system called TruPlay. Both in the Roam as in the Move, they work automatically. They constantly adapt to the conditions of the place where they are. In certain situations it is very good news. In some others it does not make much difference.
That said, the separation of instruments and vocals is still good. The bass is not over the top, and like all Sonos, it doesn’t need to be “equalized” to make it sound right.
But it is a tiny device, there is a physical limit to what the Sonos Roam can do. You have to be aware of this and measure expectations about what the speaker is capable of delivering in terms of volume, bass – so important to many people – and sound clarity.
The Sonos Roam allows you to pair two speakers for stereo sound, which will always be much better in terms of audio quality, feeling of space, and how much you can fill certain places with music.
The Roam they are also the cheapest speakers in Sonos, so they seem like a good alternative to have good quality stereo sound in certain places, such as the home office. They are small, can be positioned vertically on either side of the desk and kept connected with a USB-C cable. And use them portable when needed.
Before the appearance of the Roam, to do something similar, the cheapest were the Sonos One SL. that have a price of 200 dollars / euros. I know it’s a setup sound preferred or desired by many people – after all Sonos offers good sound for speakers always connected to the Internet. So it’s good news that you can now do the same for even less money.
The Sonos Roam it comes loaded with new technology. It makes sense, it is not a usual speaker that is always connected to the wall. It is a product that is designed to move all the time.
That is why it has Bluetooth support. In this way, it is possible to connect a smartphone without the need for both devices to be on the same Wi-Fi network.
It also has a new function called sound swap. Allows you to use the audio that plays on the Roam to any other device Sonos that you have. Just press and hold the play button.
If we press and hold the play button again, the sound returns to the Roam. I have a good amount of the brand’s products at home and it has worked well, I never had moments when it failed. I found it curious how well a technology works that has all the ballots to fail, at least at the beginning or perhaps with older products. But I found out how it works and it is super interesting.
When you hold down the play button on the Sonos Roam, all the brand’s loudspeakers emit a very high frequency sound impossible to hear by the human ear, but that the Roam is capable of detecting. That way you discover which one is the closest.
Roam It also allows you to connect a smartphone via Bluetooth and send sound to all other speakers of Sonos that are connected to each other via Wi-Fi. Something that has been asked of the brand for years.
But the connection Bluetooth It also has some strange downsides: you can’t use two speakers in stereo mode, only via Wi-Fi. Which is strange and I would say nonsense.
The autonomy is situated in 10 hours. Not bad, but less than a lot of the competition at lower prices. It can be recharged using a USB-C cable and it also supports wireless charging with the Qi standard.
It is worth emphasizing that Sonos Roam comes without power adapter in the box. Just the speaker and a USB-C cable. The company sells a wireless charger.
Last but not least: the Roam, like many other products of the brand, has native support of voice assistants of Google and Amazon Alexa. This is a very big difference compared to any other competing speaker.
The first thing I do every time I receive a new Sonos device is: test Alexa, find that the microphones work fine from a distance and immediately disable it. I think that what we lose in privacy is not worth what we gain in comfort.
But if for you Google Assistant O Alexa It is important and you would like to have access on a small, portable device with many hours of autonomy, Roam is a very good option.
Should you buy the Sonos Roam?
If portable speakers and good sound are your thing, the immediate answer is yes. The good quality of the device, the build quality, the size and the “endurance” that it is, added to the capabilities, technology and access to voice assistants, place it in a very good quality / price ratio.
The Sonos Roam It can be purchased on the official website for 179 euros or 169 dollars. It is available in black and white.