Sonos Roam specs
Release date: April 20
Colors: Black, white
Size: 6.6 x 2.4 x 2.4 inches
Weight: 15 ounces
Battery life: 10 hours
The Sonos Roam is the portable (and affordable) Sonos speaker we’ve been waiting for. While the Sonos Move let us wirelessly listen to the company’s top-notch sound, its heft left it hard to carry around. Weighing less than a pound, the $169 Sonos Roam should be much easier to toss in a bag and take with you.
Coming next month, this road warrior follows the design language of the company’s recent launches with a wrap-around grille and recognizable branding. The Sonos Roam also features Sonos’s clever Auto TruePlay tuning feature, can be submerged in water and lasts 10 hours on a charge. It can even hand off audio to the nearest Sonos system speaker, through a new tool called Sound Swap.
Is that enough to make the Sonos Roam one of the best Bluetooth speakers and best outdoor speakers? Sonos’s reputation for high-quality audio hardly disappoints, but we’ll have to test the Roam to see how it keeps up with the likes of the UE Megaboom 3 and other ultraportable wireless rivals.
Sonos Roam price
The Sonos Roam costs $169, making it the least expensive speaker donning the Sonos insignia. Only the $179 Sonos One SL comes within that price range, but that wired speaker loses the voice assistant features found in the Sonos One, one of the best smart speakers you can buy.
The Roam is also more accessible than the Sonos Move, which at $399, is one of the more costly wireless speakers on the market.
Sonos Roam release date and pre-order
You’ll have to wait for the Sonos Roam — the release date is April 20, 2021. You can pre-order the new speaker now via Sonos’s website, though.
Sonos Roam design
The Sonos Roam measures 6.5 x 2.5 x 2.5 inches and weighs just shy of a pound. Its hand-held design is about one-sixth the size of the technically portable but relatively chunky Move, making it more comparable in form to UE and JBL’s wireless speakers.
But unlike those popular cylindrical models, Roam is more triangular, with the grille covering two-thirds of the body and a set of miniature rubber feet on the remaining side. These should stop roam from slipping when it’s placed in a horizontal position, although it can stand up vertically, too.
Both ends of Sonos Roam are concave to prevent accidental button presses. Those buttons, by the way, are raised and tactile — a deviation from the flush, capacitive touch controls found on the company’s other speakers.
As for durability, Sonos Roam is rated IP67. That’s an improvement over the Move’s IP56 rating, which protects it during rainy nights forgotten outside, but not total water submersion. The Roam is waterproof up to three feet deep for 30 minutes, making it more suitable for your poolside soundtracks.
Sonos Roam audio and connectivity features
Due to its size, the Roam’s internal makeup looks a little different from the Move and other Sonos speakers. It packs a racetrack-style mid-woofer, two amplifiers, one tweeter and a high-efficiency motor, which Sonos said makes the Roam the best-sounding ultraportable speaker yet. Again, we’ll have to judge that ourselves.
On the road, the Roam works via Bluetooth, meaning you can stream sound through third-party music apps like Spotify. Only one source can be connected at a time, though. At home, the Sonos Roam integrates with your existing Sonos multi-room system when connected to your Wi-Fi network. You can control it through the Sonos app as you would the Sonos One, a Sonos soundbar or Sonos surround set. This includes access to the platform’s large library of streaming services, synced multi-room listening setups and more.
No matter if the Roam is connected to Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, its Auto TruePlay feature will automatically adjust the sound profile to best suit your surroundings. We found Auto TruePlay worked well on the Move, and was much easier than following the manual tuning process needed to calibrate the sound of the Sonos’ wired speakers.
Switching between Bluetooth and Wi-Fi happens automatically, too. With the Move you need to press a physical button to toggle the connectivity mode, so switching on the Roam should feel more instantaneous. Similarly, switching from the Roam to another speaker should be smooth: the new Sound Swap feature transfers the Roam’s music to the closet Sonos speaker in your home.
Sonos Roam voice assistants
Through the Sonos app, you can set up Alexa or Google Assistant on the Roam, offering a slew of benefits. In addition to hands-free speaker control, you can also integrate the Roam into your smart home routines and use it to control the best smart home devices compatible with your voice assistant of choice.
In the case you’re not keen on using the Sonos app to stream music, Roam supports AirPlay 2 as well.
The downside of the Roam having smart features is that they only work as far as your Wi-Fi network can reach. When you bring Roam on an outdoor excursion, you won’t be able to beckon voice assistants.
Sonos Roam battery life
As a portable speaker, Sonos Roam needs a long-lasting battery life. That said, its estimated 10 hours of play time is a bit disappointing. By comparison, the UE Megaboom 3 lasts 20 hours on a charge, while the LG XBoom Go PL7 delivers an impressive 24 hours of playback.
The Sonos Move and Google Assistant-equipped JBL Link 20 last the same 10 hours, so the company’s estimate could reflect the battery consumption of the active microphone required for smart features. When music isn’t playing, Roam enters a power-saving sleep mode that can extend its stamina to 10 days.
Like the Sonos Move, the Roam has a custom charging base, but it comes at an additional charge of $49. Roam can also be charged with any Qi charger or via USB-C.
Sonos Roam outlook
Other than the battery life letdown, Sonos Roam is shaping up to be the most versatile offering from the audio savant. As much as we like the Sonos Move, a wireless speaker like the Sonos Roam is actually portable, making it an attractive companion for everything from backyard barbecues and sunny beach days to sports outings and camping nights.
Still, we’ll need to conduct a full Sonos Roam review to see how it stacks up against the excellent ultraportable speaker alternatives out there. With warmer days approaching, we’re looking forward to Roam-ing around with Sonos-quality sound in our pocket.