It’s official: Sonos today unveiled the Roam, a small Bluetooth speaker promising big sound and unique features to help it stand out from the crowd. The announcement was nearly completely spoiled by leaks, but it’s nonetheless an important new product for the audio company
A smaller and lighter follow-up to the excellent Sonos Move, the Roam measures just 168 x 62 x 60mm (6.6 x 2.4 x 2.3 inches), but aims to shine in the sound department with its racetrack woofer and tweeter plus automatic TruePlay tuning. If you’re not familiar, TruePlay is Sonos’ technology that allows a speaker to change its frequency response depending on its environment, and it can make notable improvements to sound quality in my experience. The speaker can also be positioned vertically or horizontally.
Sonos also managed to pack in all the smart features you’ve come to expect from recent Sonos speakers, using a far-field microphone array to be the rare speaker that supports both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
Like the Move before it, the Roam can also operate via both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Naturally, Wi-Fi gives you access to more Sonos’ traditional features and sound quality, but one neat new trick is that the Roam can actually stream hand-off sound to all your other Sonos speakers even when you’re connected via Bluetooth.
The speaker is also smart enough to switch between Wi-Fi and Bluetooth depending on whether your home network is in range. When you leave Wi-Fi coverage, the speaker will automatically connect to your phone via Bluetooth.
As for battery life, the Roam is rated for 10 hours of continuous playback and up to 10 days in sleep mode. It can charge via USB-C or Qi wireless charging; Sonos is selling an optional custom wireless charger, but any Qi charger should work.
The ability to connect via Wi-Fi as well as Bluetooth definitely gives it a leg up over typical portable Bluetooth speakers, as does the Google Assistant integration. Hopefully, it holds up in the sound quality department as well. Sonos claims “full and detailed sound that you wouldn’t think possible from a speaker this small and lightweight, but we’ll have to see once we get our hands on it and put it through the test bench.
The Sonos Roam is priced at $169/£159/€179, and will be available starting April 20 in both white and black colorways. Pre-orders are open now.
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Published March 9, 2021 — 21:01 UTC