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Sonos in March introduced a new portable smart speaker called the Sonos Roam, which is priced at $169, making it the most affordable Sonos speaker to date. We were able to check out the Sonos Roam to see if it's worth the asking price and how it compares to other portable speakers on the market.


At just under a pound, the Sonos Roam is lightweight and able to be taken anywhere, from the living room to the pool to the park. It's not ultra small, but it is smaller than a water bottle, which makes it easy to transport. The Sonos Roam offers IP67 water and dust resistance, so it can survive splashes of water and even a dunk if it accidentally falls into a pool. Depending on how you're using it, the speaker can be set upright or laid on its side thanks to the triangular design.

Design wise, it fits in with other Sonos speakers and it will be immediately familiar to those in the Sonos ecosystem. Though it's light, it has a premium feel, and you can get it in black or white.

Sonos says there are two Class-H amplifiers inside, along with one custom racetrack mid-woofer, one tweeter, and a high-efficiency motor. There are built-in beamforming microphones, and an adjustable EQ. When it comes to sound, the Sonos Roam is fantastic for its size. The Roam is a bit larger in size than the HomePod mini because of its design, and that comes across in the sound quality. Audio quality is always subjective and it's not going to match higher-end larger speakers, but it offers the sound that you expect from a premium Sonos product.

An Automatic Trueplay feature allows the Roam to adapt the sound based on the environment that it's in and the music that's playing. The microphones detect what song is playing and then adjust the EQ based on the surroundings for a balanced sound profile.

Sonos is known for its WiFi-connected speakers, and the Roam works like many other Sonos speaker options, but it also supports Bluetooth. When at home, the speaker connects to WiFi and can be used as a standard Sonos speaker, but when out of WiFi range, it pairs to an iPhone over Bluetooth. For those in the Apple ecosystem, the Sonos Roam supports AirPlay 2, which is rare for a portable speaker. With AirPlay 2, the Sonos Roam can be paired up with other AirPlay 2-enabled speakers in the home for easy multi-room audio, and it also makes it easy to play songs to the device from an iPhone.

There are physical controls and a Sonos app for controlling music, plus the speaker also works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. The battery in the Sonos Roam lasts for up to 10 hours and it can be charged over USB-C or wirelessly using any Qi-based charger. Sonos eventually plans to make a dedicated charging cradle for the Roam, but it's not yet available.

Two of the Sonos Roams can be paired together to create a stereo pair, and it is also able to interface with other Sonos speakers. Sonos supports more than 100 streaming services, including Apple Music, so you can also stream direct from Apple Music using the Sonos app.

If you're in the Sonos ecosystem already or want a portable AirPlay 2 speaker experience, you're not going to be disappointed with the Sonos Roam even at its $169 price point because of the build quality and the impressive sound from a small speaker. There are few other AirPlay 2-enabled portable speakers on the market and because of the portability and Bluetooth/WiFi switching functionality, the Sonos Roam is more versatile than Apple's own HomePod mini, which must be plugged in to function.

Sonos plans to begin selling the Sonos Roam on April 20, and it is available for pre-order for $169 ahead of that date.

Article Link: Hands-On With the New Sonos Roam Speaker
 

Spanther

macrumors regular
Dec 14, 2020
114
383
This isn't a new or unique thought, and it's not going to change anything, but I'm sharing it anyway:

I super duper hate these ridiculous YouTube thumbnail formats with grown ups making shocked faces.

EDIT: lol, they updated the thumbnail image to be slightly less doofy than the original.

EDIT 2: they updated the image yet again and went full emoji. hyperbolic "mind-blowing sound" remains, while article has 2 throw-away sentences about the sound being what "you expect from a premium Sonos product." Mind blowing!
 
Last edited:

JoshuaBru

macrumors regular
Jul 7, 2008
125
563
Ottawa Ont Canada
This isn't a new or unique thought, and it's not going to change anything, but I'm sharing it anyway:

I super duper hate these ridiculous YouTube thumbnail formats with grown ups making shocked faces.
I agree 100p. They’re so tacky and juvenile. If you need to make yourself look like an ******* in order to get people to click your videos you should find another hobby.
 

AngerDanger

Graphics
Staff member
Dec 9, 2008
5,425
28,787
This isn't a new or unique thought, and it's not going to change anything, but I'm sharing it anyway:

I super duper hate these ridiculous YouTube thumbnail formats with grown ups making shocked faces.
I agree 100p. They’re so tacky and juvenile. If you need to make yourself look like an ******* in order to get people to click your videos you should find another hobby.
In Dan's defense, I sent this monstrosity to him as a… template…

clickbait.jpg
 

SirAnthonyHopkins

macrumors 6502a
Sep 29, 2020
792
1,486
I agree 100p. They’re so tacky and juvenile. If you need to make yourself look like an ******* in order to get people to click your videos you should find another hobby.

Sadly it's the people who click, rather than the people making the videos, who need to change their behaviour in order for this to change. The YouTube thumbnail image is where you draw in a massive proportion of viewers from related videos, so it has to be catchy and interesting. Apparently, this is what works.
 

MrKennedy

macrumors 6502
Aug 8, 2011
337
275
Sadly it's the people who click, rather than the people making the videos, who need to change their behaviour in order for this to change. The YouTube thumbnail image is where you draw in a massive proportion of viewers from related videos, so it has to be catchy and interesting. Apparently, this is what works.

It's weird to me that this specific style of thumbnail has been driving so many clicks/views. I feel for all the creators that need to do this.
 

mikethemartian

macrumors 65816
Jan 5, 2017
1,262
1,817
Melbourne, FL
This isn't a new or unique thought, and it's not going to change anything, but I'm sharing it anyway:

I super duper hate these ridiculous YouTube thumbnail formats with grown ups making shocked faces.

EDIT: lol, they updated the thumbnail image to be slightly less doofy than the original.
That’s exactly how I feel with that picture of Craig Federighi looking at the new Macs like he is witnessing the origin of the universe and all the others aping his behavior.
 

zedsdead

macrumors 68040
Jun 20, 2007
3,340
853
How about we talk about the speaker.

Love SONOS and their Airplay support. I use them in conjunction with my HomePODs with Airplay 2. I have a Sonos Move which I use in the kitchen and outside the house and am definitely considering the Roam for other uses.

excellent review and video.
 

steevn

macrumors regular
Jul 25, 2016
247
669
We have Sonos throughout our home and I still find this hard to justify purchasing, and honestly a little scary that this was Sonos big announcement recently.

Does Sonos really feel they have nowhere else to go and are moving to portable Bluetooth speakers?
 

jumanji

macrumors regular
Sep 12, 2003
204
314
Austin, TX
i have the sonos 3 with 2 sonos 1 and I love them. i have been looking for a standalone speaker and was leaning towards the homepod mini. the mini also got great reviews. what's the difference? Is it just portability?
 
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CapeTownMac

macrumors newbie
Nov 15, 2008
10
1
Is it just me or is bordering on bizarre that Sonos speakers fully support Airplay 2 whereas Big Sur
still does not? We are waiting with bated breath to see if the next Big Sur update gets it right just in time for the original Homepod to be discontinued. I still can't output Netflix movies on my brand new Macbook to my stereo pair of Homepods and I can't ever use bluetooth - clearly I made the wrong purchase decision :(.
 

satchmo

macrumors 601
Aug 6, 2008
4,364
4,705
Canada
There are physical controls and a Sonos app for controlling music, plus the speaker also works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. The battery in the Sonos Roam lasts for up to 10 hours and it can be charged over USB-C or wirelessly using any Qi-based charger. Sonos eventually plans to make a dedicated charging cradle for the Roam, but it's not yet available.

I really wish Apple would stop with the Siri volume controls.
 

Wildsau

macrumors newbie
Sep 19, 2013
23
92
Would be interesting to see the bass compared to the Soundlink Mini II. I'm still amazed by this tiny things bass response...
Agreed 100%. We are a full-blown Sonos household - Ones in almost every room, Beam, Sub, Roam on order, and our whole family loves the ecosystem and how it works perfectly for our needs.

Yet I have kept our Soundlink Mini II as a stand-alone solution for outside and the garage because the Move is stupidly priced and I suspect that as awesome as the Roam will be, the bass response and overall sound quality will be inferior compared to the Soundlink Mini's. I'm no Bose fanboy, but they knocked it out of the park with that particular product. Hope it continues working for us for many years to come.

Sound quality would be an interesting comparison between these two. I think the Soundlink Mini would win. Of course, technology and user-friendliness is a completely different story and that's why I'm looking forward to the Roam. I just wish Sonos hadn't priced the Move so stratospherically because it's probably the outdoor speaker solution many Sonos families want, but refuse to buy based on price.
 
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SirAnthonyHopkins

macrumors 6502a
Sep 29, 2020
792
1,486
i have the sonos 3 with 2 sonos 1 and I love them. i have been looking for a standalone speaker and was leaning towards the homepod mini. the mini also got great reviews. what's the difference? Is it just portability?

The mini has Siri support and is a HomeKit hub. The Sonos doesn't and isn't. Sonos is a portable speaker and is bluetooth enabled, HomePod is neither of those things. HomePod mini is cheaper.

Basically I'd say if you don't intend to carry it around outside ever, go for the mini, but if you have an inkling that a portable speaker might ever come in useful, the Sonos seems a good buy.
 

Waterndirt

macrumors member
Dec 17, 2014
56
39
California
Is it just me or is bordering on bizarre that Sonos speakers fully support Airplay 2 whereas Big Sur
still does not? We are waiting with bated breath to see if the next Big Sur update gets it right just in time for the original Homepod to be discontinued. I still can't output Netflix movies on my brand new Macbook to my stereo pair of Homepods and I can't ever use bluetooth - clearly I made the wrong purchase decision :(.
I don't believe Macs have ever supported Airplay output of video's audio to external speakers, only to Apple TV, I could be wrong. Try Airfoil by Rogue Amoeba. Best $20 I've spent on an app in my life. I'm still rocking the same license for the past 9 years.
 
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